Athiya Shetty is starring opposite Sooraj Pancholi in Hero, which is produced by Salman Khan and is being heavily promoted. You would call it a dream debut but there was a time when the actor was scared of even revealing her acting ambitions to father and Bollywood actor Suniel.
"I wanted to be an actor since I was little. It has always been my passion and my dream. My father got to know about it much later. I used to do everything hiding in my room, like dancing in front of the mirror and all of that," Athiya said during an interview.
Athiya was accompanied by Salman and Aditya Pancholi's son Sooraj, who is also foraying into Bollywood with the film. Looking smart in a chic white skirt and crop top, Athiya went on to add that she confided in her father when they were on their way to the US to shortlist colleges for her.
Athiya with Sooraj (l) and Salman.
She said: "I was going to look at all these colleges in America and we were at Heathrow Airport, London. I got really upset. My father asked me what happened and before I could say anything I started crying and said 'I want to become an actress'. He asked me 'But why are you crying', and I said 'I don't know what you will think about it'."
Directed by Nikhil Advani, Hero is a remake of Subhash Ghai's 1983 film of the same name and will hit the screens on September 11. The original film stars Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Seshadri.
Athiya, who has stepped into Meenakshi's shoes for the remake, noted that her father has been supportive in her journey of becoming an actor. "He was supportive and positive and suggested me to work hard and enjoy my work. My hobby became my profession and hopefully it will remain a profession after September 11 (the release date of Hero)," she said.
She also shared that her father didn't give her any acting tips, but he is her guiding light. "He has not given me any acting tips, but as a father he has given me some pointers. He knows that I have mind of my own and I will ask him for his advice whenever I need it," Athiya said.
Meanwhile, Salman, who spotted the talent in her and brought it into the spotlight, described Athiya as "spontaneous, someone who speaks her mind and has her own opinion".
Talking about her father, she said, "There was no discussion about his work at home. As a child I was never affected by his success or failure... everything was always the same. There was no Friday fear at home."
Athiya loved her father in comedies but stayed away from watching his action movies. "I did not watch many of my father's films because he used to do action movies. So when anyone punched my dad I used to get scared. I have loved him in comedies. I loved him in Hera Pheri."
Suniel shared screen space with a number of actresses, but his dauhgter loved his pairing with Karisma Kapoor and Raveena Tandon the most. When asked if she visited Suniel on his sets as a child, Athiya said, "I did not visit any of my father's film sets. We were never allowed to visit sets."
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