Born on August 11, 1961, in Mangalore, Suniel Shetty has completed over 26 years in the film industry. The 57-year-old actor is married to Mana Shetty and has two kids - Athiya Shetty and Ahan Shetty. The actor made his debut in 1992 with Balwaan and has worked in hits like Dilwale, Mohra, Border and Hera Pheri. "My first film released and the title (given to me) was 'wooden', 'lakda', 'can't act', 'he should go back to the restaurant business'. After 26 years, I am still here. The person who wrote it, I don't know where he is now," said Shetty to mid-day in an interview.
Suniel Shetty says that his physical prowess was his golden ticket to Bollywood. "I got into cinema owing to my physique. I think I owe everything, even my life, to fitness. Even at this age, I am fit and lean. I can play the sport that I want, and train the way I want to."
Suniel Shetty says he was so inspired by the physique of former West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards that he himself started working on his fitness.
Did you know Suniel Shetty wanted to play cricket for India? In a candid conversation with mid-day, Suniel Shetty had once revealed, "My fitness journey began when I met Sir Vivian Richards. He said he got fit so that he could hit the ball harder. I was an obsessive cricketer and I wanted to play for the country. So, I started building my body. Unfortunately, I was not talented enough to play for the country."
Suniel Shetty, 57, doesn't see age getting in his way of adding more action-packed movies to his filmography. In a recent interview, he said age is just a number and that he is as fit and strong as he used to be years ago.
Suniel Shetty, who made a comeback of sorts last year with A Gentleman (starring Sidharth Malhotra), said, "Age is just a number and I am fit and strong enough to do action [films], as I was earlier. So, there's no running away from it. That's what my audience expects from me — action and comedy. That's what I am going to deliver."
Well, Suniel Shetty had never tried his hands on regional cinema. In fact, it has taken 27 years to mark his debut in the Kannada film industry. Unsurprisingly, Shetty, adhering to his image of being an action hero, has picked a film based on boxing for his foray. Shetty told mid-day that he is excited to work in a Kannada film, given that he hails from Karnataka. "Mumbai is my karmabhoomi, and Karnataka is my janmabhoomi. I am going back to my janmabhoomi after being in Bollywood for 27 years."
Suniel Shetty and former cricketer Vinod Kambli had shared screen space with the film Annarth, that bombed at the Box Office. Sharing memories from the shooting days, Suniel had said, "I remember when I did a film with Vinod Kambli, that time I used to bowl him out in each lunch break while playing underarm cricket."
From 2014 to 2017, Suniel Shetty had been away from the limelight. His preoccupation with attending to his ailing father Veerappa Shetty made him take a sabbatical from showbiz. It was only after Shetty senior's death that Shetty realised that his father always wanted him to work. Suniel says he cut himself from showbiz as he wanted to spend most of his time with his father with whom he was emotionally attached.
"It's quite funny, but I took a three-and-half-year sabbatical without actually planning it. I just started hating my work and was not liking whatever I was doing. I didn't even realise that so much time has gone. I have done over 120 films. A lot of them were very emotionally-driven. During this time, I said no to 20-25 films."
Gopi Kishan, Krishna, Rakshak, Vinashak – Destroyer, Hu Tu Tu, Refugee, Dhadkan, Yeh Teraa Ghar Yeh Meraa Ghar, Awara Paagal Deewana, Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani, Karz: The Burden of Truth, Kaante, Baaz: A Bird in Danger, Qayamat: City Under Threat, Khel – No Ordinary Game, Rudraksh, Main Hoon Na, Lakeer – Forbidden Lines, Aan: Men at Work, Hulchul, Dus, Chup Chup Ke, Apna Sapna Money Money, Cash, Thank You are some of Suniel Shetty's notable films.
Suniel Shetty won his first award in 2001, bagging Filmfare Best Villain Award for Dhadkan. He also bagged Zee Cine Best Supporting Actor Award for Dhadkan in the same year.
Suniel Shetty's daughter Athiya has already made her film debut with Hero with Sooraj Pancholi, while son Ahan will soon step into Bollywood. Shetty is now completely immersed in guiding his children in their respective careers.
"Having been a part of 126 movies, I think I had an overdose of cinema. I needed to take a break. This is a period when I need to focus on my children. Athiya and Aahan's careers are more important for me. I should take it easy and share whatever I have learnt with them," Suniel Shetty said.
Suniel Shetty says his son Ahan Shetty is better than him and is not worried about people comparing the youngster to him. "He (Ahan) is far better than me. So, I am not worried about comparisons. If people accept him, luck is on his side and if he does the right thing, then he will be successful," Suniel told IANS a few months ago.
Talking about his family, Suniel Shetty had once revealed, "People in my house wake up at 5 a.m. and by 10 p.m., everyone goes to bed. It's in their DNA now," said Suniel. He trains with Athiya and Ahan once or twice a week. "Ahan and I train a lot together. When Athiya wants to feel motivated, she comes and trains with me. When I feel I want to be motivated, I train with them," shared the 57-year-old actor.
We adore you Anna as an actor and more as a person! Wishing Suniel Shetty a very happy birthday. Keep rocking!
It's Suniel Shetty's birthday today. Fondly known as 'Anna' by the film industry folks, Shetty, who turns 57 today, is a complete family person and his pictures prove it. We have some exclusive pictures of the actor with family, that you may have never seen before. Take a loko!