Not all new actors get to make their Bollywood debuts with Shah Rukh Khan. But Taher Shabbir’s journey has been different. He started out as an assistant director (AD) — on film-maker Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chanda (2007), film-maker Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010), and several advertisements.
But his dream really came true last year, when he bagged a role in Shah Rukh’s most recent release, Fan, which has been directed by Maneesh Sharma.
“I thought it would be a blink and miss role,” says Taher, adding, “I did the role because of my love for SRK. Acting with him was surreal.”
However, this wasn’t the first time Taher met the Bollywood star. When he was six, he remembers SRK ruffling his hair once, when he was shooting for Ram Jaane (1995).
“As an AD, I have known SRK for seven years. I met him, as a professional, when I became an AD for the first time for a commercial. Later, we did many ads together, and built a good rapport,” says Taher, who has also directed SRK in a music video. He reveals that he has also worked with Salman Khan as an AD, and that “both these actors have been quite an inspiration” to him.
Taher’s plan now is to bag a cameo in Salman’s next. “I have always wanted to work with both these stars before I started doing movies, in which I play the solo hero,” he says.
Learning on the tube
The young actor credits his stint on the TV show, Nisha Aur Uske Cousins, for his debut Bollywood performance. “It was due to the training I received on that show that I was able to stand in front of SRK. I wanted to get rid of that fear of acting in front of an established star. Television also taught me a lot about acting,” he reveals. Talking about his future plans, he says, “I have signed two films now. I should start shooting for one of them in September. I want a film-maker to explore my dark side.”