The nepotism debate in Bollywood refuses to die down. Star kids are being trolled left, right and centre on social media on how they supposedly get everything easy. As a parent to two children, Athiya and Ahaan, who have followed in his footsteps, it “upsets” actor Suniel Shetty, when their name is dragged into this.
“I never get irritated or angry, it upsets me. It hurts me, more than anything else. It is Athiya’s destiny and hard work, which she will prove. Motichoor Chaknachoor wasn’t a big film, and had a lot of problems because of the producer. Somewhere down the line, she got appreciated tremendously, and that’s exactly what it is. She chose the subject that she wanted to do. Every child in this world has the right to follow their dream,” says the 59-year-old.
He further says that he also tells his friends to not push their children into doing something which they don’t want to. “Don’t push your children for education, or achieve this much. Educating them is our responsibility as parents, but let them choose their destiny. What has this Covid 19 pandemic proved? You need to be happy, and internally strong. On one side, I am trying to give so many other kids an opportunity through my initiative,” says Shetty.
He counts them as his own children, the people who he tries to help find jobs. The actor says, “That way, I have 2,72,000 and two children. For me, all are equal. For me, more than opportunity, it was this bloody exploitation of talent that used to happen, financially, mentally, physically, casting couch, so I wanted that if you have talent, you will get work.”
This philosophy of talent trumping obstacles is something which proved true in Shetty’s own film career as well. There was a lot of criticism he had to endure in the early stage of his career. “Balwaan released in 1992, and I realised I had an audience following. When I travelled, people started recognising me. That’s when I got confidence. They broke my confidence by saying I was ‘wooden’, even then there were critics who were out to get you. When I understood what one of them was trying to say, I realised, some way or the other he was being vindictive, but there’s also truth in it. That’s when I started working on my craft,” he confesses.
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