By Asjad Nazir
She may only be one film old, but rising¬†star Athiya Shetty is captivating¬†the attention of Bollywood, media¬†and a growing legion of fans.
The newcomer is becoming a fashion¬†icon and is in demand with film¬†producers. She has been shooting for¬†her second film Mubarakan in London¬†and plays a key role in the comedy of
errors, which also stars Anil Kapoor,¬†Arjun Kapoor and Ileana D‚ÄôCruz.
Eastern Eye caught up with the¬†beautiful Athiya on a sunny afternoon¬†in London to find out more about a¬†talented actress who will no doubt¬†be in the industry for a long time¬†to come.
When you become a movie star your¬†life changes. Have you got used to all¬†the attention yet?
I still think I am too new to answer¬†that. I don‚Äôt think anything has¬†changed. I don‚Äôt think it will ever¬†change how my friends and people¬†treat me. But I like that fact things¬†haven‚Äôt changed yet and I can still¬†be the same person. Obviously things¬†have changed where I feel like I have¬†become more independent, but¬†nothing in terms of, like, me being¬†an actor has changed anything in my¬†personal life.
Do you feel pressure about the fact¬†you have to be dressed up all the¬†time when you are going out?
(Laughs) No I don‚Äôt. People always ask¬†me this question. I also think its important¬†not to take yourself so seriously¬†and just be comfortable in your¬†own skin and at the end of the day,
we are all normal people. I think it‚Äôs¬†important to let others know that as¬†well. Like when we do magazine¬†shoots, that is not how we wake up. It¬†takes a lot of effort to look like that,¬†so I don‚Äôt feel the pressure to dress up¬†every time I go out. Or put make up¬†on all the time and do my hair. It‚Äôs¬†really nice to feel normal.
Your father is renowned actor Suniel¬†Shetty and you have many well-wishers¬†in Bollywood, including¬†huge stars. How are you making¬†your choices and who are you¬†listening to?
I would like to believe I am independent.¬†My parents have always been my¬†guiding force, but at the end of the¬†day they always make sure that I¬†make my own decisions. I think that¬†is really important because then you¬†don‚Äôt have anyone to blame. If you¬†make mistakes its OK, it‚Äôs just a learning¬†process. That is how you go forward¬†in life. Not only in this profession,¬†but I think in life itself and any¬†career. You have to make your decisions¬†at the end of the day that you¬†feel were yours.
Have you made a master plan?
(Laughs) I do have a master plan Asjad!¬†I think as of now I am just grateful¬†for what I have. I‚Äôm trying to go with¬†the flow. The thing is I am the type of¬†person who doesn‚Äôt enjoy the moment¬†and always think about the future. I¬†am trying really hard to take each day¬†as it comes and enjoy the moment because¬†I feel that is important.
What has the experience of shooting¬†for your latest film Mubarakan in¬†London been like?
I love London! It is my favourite city. I¬†come here twice a year, but I think¬†through Mubarakan I have been able¬†to see the different parts of London.¬†Usually, I am always in central London¬†shopping or eating, but I think through¬†this film I have seen so much more. I¬†have experienced more of the Indian ¬†culture in London, which is nice because¬†there is so much togetherness¬†and unity. It is so nice to see how everybody¬†is so warm and friendly.
What has been the most interesting¬†London location you have shot at?
There have been so many. We shot at¬†one of the biggest Gurdwaras in Europe.¬†It was just so nice to see how¬†people care about you so much and¬†make sure that you are OK. They didn‚Äôt
need to do that, but it was so sweet of¬†them to let us into their homes and let¬†us be a part of their community ‚Äď they¬†make you feel like it is your home.
Are you allowed to tell us anything¬†about Mubarakan?
Nothing! All I can say at this stage is¬†that it is a comedy and lots of fun.¬†A lot of actors have¬†said comedy is perhaps¬†the hardest genre.
How are you finding¬†it?
It is a lot of fun. I think¬†it‚Äôs all about the timing¬†and improvising. But¬†yes, it is very difficult. You can‚Äôt keep¬†doing the same thing over and over¬†again. You have to keep finding your¬†own rhythm. That takes a bit of time,¬†but once you are into it and having¬†fun, it shows on screen. You just have¬†to be honest to your work.
Anil Kapoor is known to have more¬†energy than many actors half his age.¬†How do you keep up with him and¬†what is he like to work with?
He does. I can‚Äôt keep up with him. He¬†has so much energy and it is just infectious.¬†We try to steal some of his energy¬†whenever we can. Even on a night¬†shoot he is the most pumped and¬†alive. I just admire that about him so¬†much ‚Äď that he is still, after so many¬†years, excited to be on set.
Have you had any time to do anything¬†else in London or have you just¬†been working?
I have literally just been working.¬†Whenever I am not¬†working I try to eat as¬†much as possible at all¬†my favourite places in¬†London. I‚Äôm actually¬†doing that as well today.
What has been the¬†best piece of advice¬†you have received so far?
I am still trying to understand the advice¬†and perhaps it is too soon to live¬†by it. But my dad told me never to fear¬†a Friday. Don‚Äôt base what you do and¬†don‚Äôt want to do around a Friday. Fridays¬†come and go; just be happy and¬†that should be your motive.
If you could be romanced by any¬†leading man on the big screen, who¬†would it be?
Ryan Gosling, for sure, and Ranveer¬†Singh. Those two are my favourites.
What is your favourite movie of¬†all time?
It may sound clich√©d, but it is Dilwale¬†Dulhania Le Jayenge. One of the main¬†reasons I love it is because it was shot¬†in Europe and it became my childhood¬†dream to do the same ‚Äď to shoot somewhere¬†in Europe and experience winter¬†in a film.
Your styling choices have been really¬†eye-catching and unique. You
are becoming¬†quite the fashionista.¬†How have you decided on your¬†fashion choices?
Thank you! I think I would have to¬†thank my stylist Ami Patel for that. But¬†besides that I have never set out to be¬†known for fashion or anything like¬†that. It‚Äôs something that just happened.¬†To be honest, I don‚Äôt think so much¬†about it. I don‚Äôt see it, but have been¬†told about my fashion. I just enjoy¬†putting things together, like clothes¬†and like shopping.
What are your big passions away¬†from work?
I love dancing. I just like doing very¬†simple normal things. If I have a day¬†off all I will do is just hang out with¬†friends, go and eat amazing food and¬†watch TV shows. I love TV shows and¬†my favourite is Grey‚Äôs Anatomy. I like¬†doing quiet things, I‚Äôm not a social¬†person. I don‚Äôt like going out at night¬†and stuff like that. I would rather do¬†something quiet with friends.
Your brother Ahan Shetty is also entering¬†films. He is getting a lot of attention¬†even before his first movie.¬†How is he coping with that?
I don‚Äôt think it has really hit him. What¬†I really love about him is that he is extremely¬†hard working. He focuses all¬†his energy into his work and channels¬†everything into that. He never takes it¬†in as if, ‚Äúoh everybody is talking about¬†me‚ÄĚ. He just responds by working even¬†harder. I think that is really amazing.
What inspires you today?
To make my parents proud.
There are a lot of biopics being made.¬†Which real life character would you¬†love to play?
A lot of people have asked me this¬†question and I really don‚Äôt know. Maybe¬†someone in sports. I would love to¬†do a sport or action-orientated film.
Why do you love cinema?¬†
When you are on a film set you feel like¬†you‚Äôre in your own little bubble. I feel¬†blessed that I wake up everyday and do¬†what I love. It doesn‚Äôt feel like a job.