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Birthday Special: Actor Suniel Shetty turned to 61….By LT. Ali Peter John


He had everything that the son of a higher middle class father could give him . He was from a Mangalorean Udipi hotel kind of background which had nothing to do with films – Ali Peter John

His father owned a chain of Udipi hotels of all grades in different parts of Mumbai city , with twenty thousand and more people working in them .

He had a very good education in one of the best Christian colleges and could have been very happy and could have led a very comfortable life , especially when he got into the business of designing clothes for the elite and had his own brand of clothes called Mischief .

He was a young man who was slowly but surely growing into one of the leading entrepreneurs . He could have been many been a part of many other professions . But …..

He was possessed by the passion to be a star in Hindi films and was determined to do anything to fulfill his ambitions and satisfy his passion.

He was a known name in the higher circles of life , even when it came to matters of the heart , he was dating Maana Qadri , the daughter of I M Qadri , one of the leading and richest architects of Mumbai who also went on to be the Sheriff of Mumbai .

But the passion to be a star gave him sleepless nights and showed him splendid dreams by day.

He had heard of producer Pahalaj Nihalani who was known for giving breaks to absolute newcomers .

And once he knew the address ( Two Roses in Bandra ) of Pahalaj’s office , he made it his pilgrimage to visit the office every morning and he sat on a bench outside the cabin where Pahalaj sat like an emperor who could decide the fate of young men and women out to follow their dreams .

It was only after months and a long tapasya that Pahalaj took notice of the young man with the rippling muscles and an innocent smile .

And within the next few months Pahalaj introduced a newcomer in a film called “Balwaan” and the name of the newcomer was Sunil ( it was only after he became a successful star that he believed in numerology and added an. ” e ” to his name and Sunil Shetty was Suniel Shetty and whether his fate changed after adding the ” e ” to his name is something that has still to be decided …

But one thing in his life has certainly changed and it is associated with his children . His daughter Atheya opted for a career as an actress and whether it was the plan of her father or the plan of fate , Atheya made her debut as an actress two years ago in “Hero ” with Suraj Pancholi as her hero .

It was certainly not the best of beginnings for Suniel’s daughter , but one thing was clear , Atheya was not going to give up like her father had not given up when people called him all kinds of names like ” woh kaala hero “, woh hero jiske badan mein haddi hai hi nahi ” aur ” usko kis bewakoof ne hero banaaya ? ” Today , Atheya is very much in the race of the heroines out to make it in the time to come .

And all the Shetty community from Mangalore in Karnataka must be very surprised and even must be spreading all kinds of talk about how Suniel and now his children are getting into films unlike the children of other Shetty’s who are still stuck in the hotel business or are working in high positions in banking and corporate offices.

And before they or the world says anything more about Suniel and his children , Suniel’s only son ,Ahaan has already taken his first steps as a hero in a film called “Tadap” , the posters and trailers of which are already making a big splash all over . “Tadap” as the title indicates is yet another love story ( how many thousands of love stories will be told in Hindi films before the world comes to an end ? )

Ahaan who has almost the same background and qualifications as his father could have gone in for any other profession or be in the competition of the corporates or continued with his grandmother’s business of running and expanding every kind of hotels .

He could have been a dashing young man on the go after knowing about the grim struggle his father Suniel had to go through during his twenty five year old career .

But like they say there is something about a father that keeps flowing in the blood of a son .

And that is exactly what have been proved in the story of Suniel and now his son Ahaan .

Even before Ahaan could get into any one of his father’s hotels , he showed all his interest and passion for films and especially for acting .

And Suniel being the ideal , loving and caring father couldn’t even think of coming in the way of his son’s dream.

On the contrary , he went out of his way to send Ahaan to the best acting school in London because like he says , ” I know what it is to be an actor without being properly trained and moulded for it .

As a father , I would not let what happened to me happen to my son . If he has decided to be an actor , I would love to see him as one of the best actors of his generation .

I know the competition is very tough , but Ahaan will have to face every competition and be a winner because the world only wants winners and losers can keep hoping and praying to all the gods and goddesses ”

And the capable son of a capable father says that he will move every mountain and swim every ocean and live through every storm to first make his father happy and then create his own place and not just be a face because of being the son of a famous father who has fought his way to success .

Ahaan would like to see his father find the recognition as an actor which he has still not found even after doing more than a hundred films .

There is now a tough tussle between a father’s “tadap” to see his son shine like a star in the sky of stars , and a son’s dream , desire and determination to see the smile of success on his father and of course his mother’s face.

Incidentally , Sajid Nadiadwaala who gave Suniel a major break in “Waqt Hamara Hai ” some twenty two years ago is also the producer of Ahaan’s ” Tadap ” .

He is co producing Tadap with Fox Entertainment . Milan Lutthria is the director and Tara Sutaria is Ahaan’s leading lady


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