There’s yet another star kid on the block. Suniel Shetty is gearing up to launch his daughter, Athiya, who is now back from her film school course at the New York Film Academy (NYFA).
Ask Suniel how soon we are likely to see Athiya acting in a Bollywood film, and he says, “She’s an extremely talented kid and she is going to get into it, hopefully very, very soon.”
Unlike Sanjay Dutt, who recently announced that his daughter Trishala will never act in films, Suniel does not seem to harbour misgivings about ‘big, bad Bollywood’. He says, “I am a father, so I will do anything to see that my daughter is happy in what she does. I never ask her why she wants to take up this profession, as I myself love it. And I know she is as safe as she wants to be.”
With the vast number of newcomers already in the industry, the competition is going to be stiff even for a star kid. However, Suniel is fully aware of this. In fact, the advice he’s given to his daughter is sound and vital: “The only thing I ask her is whether she will be able handle failure. That’s the only fear. If she doesn’t succeed, is she strong enough to handle the brickbats?”
So, is the doting father likely to produce a film himself for his daughter, or is he in talks with a producer? “It’s too early to talk about that. We are in talks with producers. We have a plan for her,” he says.
Suniel himself is currently shooting for Mere Dost Picture Abhi Baaki Hai, wherein he plays a struggling film director. “Ninety-five per cent of the people involved in the industry — whether they are writers, actors, directors, lightmen, cameramen — go through this journey. It’s about rejection, hope, rejection again, and the seesaw of our industry, because the ball game keeps changing Friday to Friday. People from all walks of life will be able to relate to it, and it will be an eye-opener for Athiya as well,” says Suniel.