Suniel Shetty: People Say I Suck Up To The Media, But That Is Not True; They Have Kept Me Alive

From once referred to as wooden and muscular to a point in his career when he disappeared from the radar, Suniel Shetty had quite an oscillating graph. But he always managed to recover and now, as he approaches his 30-year milestone in the industry, he admits that he is landing roles that match his age and talent.

“In these 29 years, I’ve seen success as well as failure. And then, from 2015 onwards, I disappeared completely for some years. And despite that also, when you see the love (from fans), you realize there must be something right that you’d have done,” shares Shetty, who made his acting debut with Balwaan (1992).

Since venturing into Bollywood, he has explored various characters, from a brave heart in Border (1997) and a vengeful lover in Dhadkan (2000) to a terrorist in Main Hoon Na (2004).

“People, including the media, kept me alive, and suddenly you feel you have a new lease of life. But through my ups and downs, I didn’t let go of anything. I kept myself fit, relevant, active, and continued to do the kind of work I was doing,” he says, calling it a “beautiful journey” so far.

Shetty recalls, “From someone who was called wooden to having delivered iconic films like Border, Hera Pheri, Hu Tu Tu, and Mohra, people still talk about these films… so many memes are still.”

The father of two, Athiya and Ahaan Shetty credits people with keeping his career alive during the depression and considers himself blessed for it. “Everybody says, ‘I think you suck up to the media’. That’s not true at all. They’ve kept me alive. And if I don’t appreciate that, then why am I doing whatever I’m doing,” he wonders.

Now, Shetty is happy to explore new stories in this phase of his career, and he shares the roles coming his way are “doing justice to my age, justice to my past work”.

He elaborates, “They aren’t just brilliant characters, but something that drives the whole story. I always think, yes I’m enjoying this, but is there any takeaway. I’m doing work on the web and in films that show me as 60-year-old, and doing justice to my personality.”

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Shetty says new scripts are being written for high-profile actors, bringing new energy to the industry.

“The kind of respect women get in the film industry today, the senior actors, 60 plus, are also getting path-breaking roles. These kinds of things work like magic,” he signs off.

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