It’s not every day that you get to brunch with people from the film fraternity. But when Kamiya Jani got a chance to break bread with fellow Sindhi and popular Bollywood actor, Aftab Shivdasani, it was all about appreciating good food. And she obviously made sure to have some fun with him and test his knowledge about Sindhi food and his film career. So, on a sunny Sunday, Kamiya made her way to the popular Sindhi eatery, Juss By Sindhful to grab a meal with Aftab Shivdasani.
Aftab Shivdasani’s Love For Sindhi Food
The actor is very famously known for his role in the Grand Masti series. Even though we have all grown up watching Aftab Shivdasani’s movies, it’s almost like the man doesn’t age at all. According to him, it’s all thanks to his Sindhi genes. He is of the firm belief that Sindhis are blessed with great metabolism and skin and Kamiya most definitely agrees with that.
Kamiya Jani (KJ): How big a foodie are you?
Aftab Shivdasani (AS): I am one of those people who lives to eat and not one who eats to live.
KJ: I still remember you as the Mast boy and you have not aged a little bit. Do you think Sindhis have good metabolism?
AS: We definitely look younger and we are much stronger.
KJ: What are your memories with Sindhi food?
AS: When I was young, my grandma used to make Sindhi food every day. She was an avid cook so she used to be in charge of lunch and dinner.
But working in Bollywood isn’t as easy as you would think and actors have to go through with rigorous diets. Which is why we weren’t surprised to find out that Aftab hadn’t had a good Sindhi meal in quite a while. This proved out to be a fun piece of information for Kamiya who decided to quiz him on his knowledge of Sindhi cuisine. And he passed with flying colours as he recognised the legendary Sindhi Curry, the Sai Bhaji, Bhindi and many more dishes even though he needed just a little prompting.
KJ: You started off your career as a child actor, tell us a little more about that.
AS: I had a headstart in my career. I started doing films as a child actor when I was 7 with Mr India. And then I got my first big break with Mast.
He was also one of the very few Sindhi people to enter Bollywood as the Sindhi community is majorly known to be involved in the business side of things
AS: Yes, I was one of the few Sindhi people in the film industry as most Sindhis are into producing and directing.
KJ: Did you ever think about changing your surname? Because a lot of actors do that.
AS: I was quite proud of my surname. People have to love you for who you are and not for your name. If they identify with you on the screen and your on-screen persona then your name really doesn’t matter.
KJ: Well, you have been acting since you were 14 months old. What do you do to unwind?
AS: I love sports and music. I also love travelling.
KJ: I recently stalked you on social media and you have just been to Poland, Hungary and Los Angeles. What is your favourite place to travel to?
AS: It’s very difficult to pick one place, Kamiya. I love London. My wife is from London so it’s like a second home for me. I love Thailand too. Sri Lanka is also one of my favourites which is right at our doorstep and it’s a stunning country with beautiful people. I love the Philippines, I think it has the best beaches I have seen since besides the Maldives. And since you are a travel enthusiast, I am sure you can identify with it. There is something very adventurous and beautiful about travelling. You get to learn so much about places, people and their culture. I think the air is different everywhere. My wife and I both travel a lot.
KJ: Since you love travelling so much, have you ever travelled solo?
AS: Yes, before I met my wife I used to travel solo a lot. Travelling by yourself makes you get along better with yourself. It makes you comfortable with yourself and even makes you appreciate yourself more. Once you can appreciate yourself, you can appreciate the people around you. I feel that it’s a must for people to travel by themselves at any given point in time because it will make them a lot in developing their personality.
KJ: Have you always lived in Mumbai?
AS: Yes, I am a Mumbaikar and have lived here my entire life. My schooling and college were all in South Mumbai. And then I shifted to Bandra 17 years ago.
KJ: Do you indulge in street food?
AS: I love street food! Sev puri, bhel, pizzas and burgers. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
And after a hearty lunch, it was time to quiz the man with some rapid-fire question and here’s how he fared.
KJ: Tell us one thing that you hate about Bollywood?
AS: Nobody tells the truth.
KJ: Name one TV show that you can’t get enough of.
AS: Game of Thrones.
KJ: Mast or Masti?
AS: Mast, because it was my debut.
KJ: Have you ever stolen anything?
AS: I might have stolen some food from somewhere.
KJ: Travelling in India or travelling abroad?
KJ: Backpacking across the world or staying in a luxurious hotel in just one destination?
AS: Backpacking across the world.
He recalls his childhood when his grandmother used to make Sindhi food for lunch and dinner and he has quite a few fond memories of it. But working in Bollywood isn’t as easy as you would think and actors have to go through with rigorous diets. Which is why we weren’t surprised to find out that Aftab hadn’t had a good Sindhi meal in quite a while. This proved out to be a fun piece of information for Kamiya who decided to quiz him on his knowledge of Sindhi cuisine. And he passed with flying colours as he recognised the legendary Sindhi Curry, the Sai Bhaji, Bhindi and many more dishes even though he needed just a little prompting. But he definitely didn’t require any prompting once the food was on the table because who can resist a good Sindhi meal?
And the man loves his papad as he went on to call it the lifeline of the Sindhi community. We truly loved his enthusiasm and love for his culture!