Reena Basheer has made a mark for herself as television anchor and character actor

Bubbly best defines character actor and TV cookery show host Reena Basheer. It is the main ingredient of her personality that brought her into the world of TV and films. Currently she is the face of ‘Taste Time’, a cookery show on Asianet, that runs on weekdays. At 36, Reena, a mother of two grown-up kids, has come a long way from being a young homemaker at the age of 18.

In high school her ‘breaded vegetable cutlets’ were the ones that did not break on frying and won the best prize. They were served to the headmistress, a fact that she is very proud of. In school she also set a record of cooking 52 items in two hours.

“I have a flair for cooking and it’s a passion. I used to always help my mother in the kitchen so cooking is something I have grown up with,” says Reena, who was shortlisted for the ‘Vanitha Rathnam’, the first of its kind reality show, in 2006. She joined the programme when her son, without her knowledge and confident of his mother’s abilities, sent in her name as a contender.

“Except for being a confident, chatty and expressive person, I have not learnt acting or dance. I was competing with 12 Kalathilakams and three tutored contestants. I was a big zero in comparison with them but I think I won the award because of my originality and natural expressions,” she says brimming with friendly candour.

In her final presentation for the contest Reena chose to perform to the famous Hindi song ‘Bhawra bada naadan hai’ from Sahib Biwi aur Gulam. “Lal Jose sir happened to see this clip and offered me a role in his film, Mulla.” That was in 2006 after which Reena has done character roles in over 25 films.

Before she entered the glamorous world, Reena successfully ran an art and craft school where she happily shared with students her expertise in painting and craftwork.

She moved on to anchor ‘Taste of Kerala’ a travel-cum-cookery show on Amrita TV. This took her to resorts across Kerala where she worked closely with chefs and informed viewers about the culinary specialities of the place and the activities on the resort.

Currently as host on the cookery segment of ‘Taste Time’ on Asianet, Reena is thoroughly enjoying herself as she gets the opportunity to cook first hand. Its casual, chatty style, “over cups of coffee and a telephone conversation thrown in”, Reena says is just her way.

In between she is busy doing small roles in several films like Hangover, Honey Bee, Nandan Kavil’s You Can Do, Pigman with Jayasurya, Seven Arts Mohan’s Teens and Akku Akbar’s Bharya Athra Pora.

“I am mainly doing cameo roles of a mother in many films,” says the young-looking mother, disclosing after being prompted, that she is often mistaken for her kids’ older sister.

‘Taste Time’ is aired on Asianet on weekdays at noon.