Not everything is brawny about Suniel
If you thought Suniel Shetty on the reel, was all about a brawny man perennially beating up baddies, read on to discover the soft side of the hard-hitting action hero.
KNOCK OUT: This kickboxing instructor never wanted to become an actor. Photo: Mohd Yousuf
BENEATH THAT tough-looking, weather-beaten macho exterior lies a soft-spoken child-like Suniel, the one - whose world revolves around three primary things - wife Mana Shetty, children Atiya (10) and Aahan (7) and elephant god Ganesha.
"I have over 500 idols of Ganesh ji in my house, painstakingly collected from around the world," he says proudly, adding, "When I finally come down to Hyderabad, I plan to get them all. I bet no one else here has as many idols, of my favourite god."
Hang on... does it mean that the Bollywood actor is shifting his base from Mumbai? "Oh yes... in a year or two, maybe," says actor Suniel Shetty in between his shots for Rudraksh at Divyashakti Appartments in Ameerpet.
I have fallen in love with the city. There is so much happening here, he becomes enthusiastic. "And about the warmth of the people?... the more said would always be less. Unlike back home in Mumbai where life is pretty fast and boring, there is so much to do here," he concurs.
Now what does he plan to do here? "My restaurant - Mischief, will be opening shortly. I will open a boutique, which will showcase my brand - the Mischief line of clothes. My ultimate plan is to develop Hussain Sagar into a water-sport entertainment park, a kind, which Hyderabad has never seen before, if only I can acquire the necessary permissions," he reveals. Big plans boy!
Acting will not suffer much here down South. "On and off... there will be some. Well, actually I never wanted to become an actor. Acting happened by chance to me. I was an instructor in a kickboxing school when somebody suggested that I could make a good action hero," says the Sapphire college graduate in Hotel Management.
I don't believe that I am the best in Bollywood. I just put in my best in whatever I do and people like me. Well, people like Suniel for many other reasons, too. His benevolence and charity is known better, than he thinks.
"I believe in giving back to the society whatever it has given me." That explains his huge donations towards the betterment of underprivileged children, cancer patients and his Herculean struggle against child prostitution. Suniel is one of the few Indian ambassadors for `Save the Children' - an international NGO, headquartered in Europe that works for child welfare.
"My life has considerably changed after my children were born. More than my regular workout sessions, I think it is the wrestling with Atiya and Aahan for half-an-hour, who slide inside my bed to wake me up in the morning, that keeps me fit," he kids.
But certainly those awesome full-size biceps are not a result of wrestling with children. "I work out in my private gym for about two hours daily. I have been following the routine religiously ever since I was 15. While in Hyderabad, work outs are usually in Azhar's gym, which I rate as one the best in the country," says the man whose full-shot punch can put a solid dent in a heavy-duty military truck. Any guesses for the weight of such a shot? "52 kilograms, approx," I think. Panga lega kya, Beeru!!
"Every Sunday is my day when I am with my family lolling around, playing hide-n-seek and watching movies, climbing trees or dusting my Ganesh ji's," he continues as he packs his rug-sack to leave for the airport. "Tomorrow's Sunday, yaar," he says in a typical Suniel style.
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