Young actors Athiya Shetty and Sooraj Pancholi come together for the first time for an exclusive shoot with HT Café. They tell us what freedom means to them.
You can’t do anything without independence, says Sooraj Pancholi
Sooraj Pancholi, son of Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, will make his B-Town debut soon. He feels that it’s the right time to enter the industry. “Presently, there are young actors and new directors in Bollywood. There’s also the freedom to take up fresh, and different ideas and stories. All of us [in the industry] are doing our share of hard work, and we are seeing great results,” he says. Ask him what freedom means to him, and he says, “You can’t do anything in life without independence. You can’t even be yourself.”
When asked if attaining stardom is easier for actors who come from a film background, Sooraj says, “As so-called star kids, we have to work doubly hard than other aspirants. We have to compete with our parents’ legacy.” He adds that star kids “come in with a heavy baggage, and face immense criticism.”
Freedom has to be about equality, says Athiya Shetty
This young actor will make her B-Town debut in Salman Khan’s next production. Daughter of Suniel Shetty, Athiya Shetty says that she is “very nervous, yet really excited”. Talking about freedom, she says, “In India, freedom has to be about equality — mainly between men and women in terms of education and work.”
She admits that her father’s image helped her make inroads into B-Town. “I’m my father’s daughter, and I won’t put it any other way, as I know it (connections) has helped me bag the film. But I know that after this (her first film), my hard work and skills will speak on its own,” she says. Talking about the industry, Athiya says, “It’s male-dominated, but women are also being taken seriously now. In the past two-three years, some inspirational work has happened, thanks to actors like Alia (Bhatt) in Highway (2014), Kangana (Ranaut) in Queen (2014) and Rani (Mukerji) in Mardaani (2014).”
We also get popular Bollywood actors to talk about the changing definition of independence in Indian cinema over the years. (Report by Shalvi Mangaokar )
I think Indian cinema is on its way to a revolution. The audience has an evolved choice in films today. This gives us actors the freedom to try something different and new every time.
— Irrfan Khan
Indian cinema has evolved, and the audience has become more vocal. The evolution became evident when the multiplex culture came in. There’s more freedom for the audience to express themselves.
— Arjun Kapoor
There’s been a positive change in Indian cinema. Different kinds of films are being made now. The audience has started accepting a variety of genres. That gives actors the freedom and courage to experiment.
— Kriti Sanon
I started my film career with a complete independent and free-spirited concept, and the success of the movie (Vicky Donor, 2012) showed how the audience is ready to accept films that are free from clichés.
— Yami Gautam
The true meaning of freedom can now be seen in Indian cinema, where actors from any background have the right to strike gold. B-Town was earlier ruled by nepotism, but it now thrives purely on talent.
— Ayushmann Khurrana