Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Mar 28, 2011
He is a tough guy, both on-screen and off. Clearly proud of his Mangalorean identity, Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty says that his sustenance for two decades in the Hindi film industry in itself is a milestone, as no other actor from South India has achieved this feat.
If one has closely followed his career, this statement coming from the actor is no exaggeration, for he started with two big no-no's for Bollywood success - a late debut and a non-filmy background. But Shetty, now with over 70 films to his credit, is only getting better with age. Entering into a most competitive industry with 'Balwaan' in 1992, he got noticed mainly for his physique. The string of box office success that followed too did not give him the recognition as an actor, until 'Dhadkan' won him rave reviews and an award. Then on, he proved his detractors wrong with longevity, juggling different genres with equal aplomb.
Sunil Shetty was born to a Tulu speaking Bunt family in Mulki, Mangalore on August 11, 1961. He is married to Mana Shetty and has two children, Ahan and Athiya. Regarded the He-Man of the Bollywood industry, his varied roles in movies such as 'Mohra,' 'Gopi Kishan,' 'Border,' 'Hu Tu Tu,' 'Takkar,' 'Dilwale,' 'Krishna,' 'Red Alert,' 'Kaante,' 'Awara Paagal Deewana,' 'Refugee,' 'LOC – Kargil,' 'Hera Pheri' series, 'Bhai' and 'Main Hoon Na' have endeared him to his fans and critics alike.
Shetty, now the industry’s proverbial ‘anna,' reveals that entry into Bollywood was never planned or intended. He got an offer and decided to give it a try but once he chose it as a career, he fell in love with his work and was committed to it mind and heart. "I have learnt to be more punctual and disciplined, which is very much essential to attain success in any field," he stresses. Shetty adds that his father is and will remain his biggest inspiration.
Every actor I have worked with is talented in his own way, and every movie I have acted has its own prominence in my heart as I have enjoyed every role, says Shetty, which reflects his love for cinema, his work and co-stars.
Speaking about his forthcoming movie ‘Thank You,’ he says it’s a comedy and promises entertainment just as his other comedy blockbuster 'Hera Pheri' did. Women in particular will like the movie, he says with a smile.
Despite climbing the ladder of success, Shetty has high regards for his birth place. He says, "I belong to Mangalore. I have a special attachment towards the city."
No wonder he chose to bring in an element of Tulu in the movie 'Welcome,' by addressing Uday Shetty, a don (played by Nana Patekar), as 'Shettre' and making him say, "Yaan Uday Shetty."