Suniel Shetty: Trying to Reinvent, Play Roles That Suit My Age

Reinventing at the age of 60 is an exciting challenge for Bollywood star Suniel Shetty, who is trying to regale his fans through diverse choices. The actor, popular for hit 1990s and 2000s films such as Balwaan, Mohra, Border, the Hera Pheri franchise, Refugee and Main Hoon Na, said while he continues to be a committed artist, going ahead he would only associate with “well-made” projects. Tera Kya Hoga Lovely: Randeep Hooda, Ileana D’cruz’s Film to Be Screened at the 53rd IFFI.

Over the years, he has realised the importance of keeping up with the times. “My choices have been wrong and so my audience (has) disappeared on me. Now, I am trying to reinvent and make sure I play roles that suit me, I am 61 and I will play such roles. “I do not have the excitement to do more films. But I am still committed as an actor, I will do films that are good and well-made,” the actor, whose last Hindi film was 2017’s “A Gentleman”, told PTI in an interview.

Terming himself a “far wiser” person today, Shetty is working on reinventing himself and this includes appearances in South movies like Pailwaan, Darbar, Ghani, and Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian SeaDharavi Bank: Sonali Kulkarni Joins Suniel Shetty in MX Player’s Upcoming Series!

“I know my audience loves me but will they pay money to watch me? I will have to answer that question through content. I am reinventing myself. I am learning and understanding things,” he said. “Earlier, I would pay attention to the story, music, action, etc, and that time even though Suniel Shetty was a bad dancer but I had the best music as I would sit on every music sitting,” he recalled. Citing the example of his upcoming film “File 323”, the actor said he is looking forward to playing a principal character who plans to bring back the fugitives to the country.

“I am excited as it is a performance role, there are different shades. I read the script four times up and down, look at the logic in (the story), discuss things with the director and play the part with honesty,” he said, describing his process. File 323 is reportedly inspired by the lives of Indian fugitives Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. It is directed by debutant director Karthik K. The streaming platforms too are offering Shetty unique stories. He recently made his debut with Samit Kakkad’s web series Dharavi Bank, currently streaming on MX Player.

The show revolves around the most influential man in Dharavi (Shetty), whose nexus spreads across Mumbai and an ambitious police officer (Vivek Oberoi), who wants to end his rule, who will survive in this clash. Post pandemic, Shetty said he grasped the great potential of the streamers, which prompted him to take the plunge into the digital medium. “OTT is giving content that is extraordinary and layered. I was getting offers but I wasn’t happy. I worked in south films but I haven’t acted in a Hindi language project for seven-eight years.

“When ‘Dharavi Bank’ came to me, I got lucky as they gave me the role of Thalaivan that has many shades,” he added. His children, son Ahan and daughter Athiya – both actors – often advise him on what is working and what isn’t, he said. “I am content with what Ahan is doing, whatever he does, will be big and good. Athiya is doing good too, it will come out soon. She has finished a very beautiful film. All of us would not like to tom-tom things about us. We want to stay away from that.”

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