September 1992 saw Suniel Shetty (then Sunil Shetty) enter Bollywood as the raw action hero, and a little over 29 years later, his son Ahan Shetty made his debut with Tadap. While the film has garnered mixed reviews, the box office has declared it a winner.
Ahan stands out for the way he handled all the pressure both before and after its release. “There was the pressure of being Suniel Shetty’s son and being launched by Sajid Nadiadwala after Tiger Shroff. But it was important to block all the outside noise and not let that affect you. You should not let people tell you various things and lose track of yourself and the journey. You should not see who your competition is and let people tell you that you should be doing this and that because the other person is doing so. I just want to concentrate on my journey and do well. Let everyone else also do well. I just listened to everyone close to me and my support system,” Ahan explains.
The actor is clearly dazed by the response he is receiving. “I am overwhelmed. I didn’t expect this kind of response. I had been to Gaiety theatre, and when I met the audience there, it was unbelievable. I have no words to express the kind of love they gave me, Tara (Sutaria) and Milan sir (Luthria). I am filled with gratitude,” Ahan shares.
The debutante distinctly remembers what Salman Khan told him after watching the film. “Salman sir watched the film at the premiere and took me aside. He said. ‘Don’t worry. You have made it.’ To have a star like him say that to me gave me an impetus that things will work out,” Ahan gushes.
Not surprisingly, his family was very emotional. “Dad had tears in his eyes, and mom was crying. Dad said, ‘Ahan, I didn’t expect this from you,’ in a good way, of course. It has been a long journey for me since I wanted to be an actor. I have prepared for this for the past seven to eight years, and it was great to see them so proud of me. Athiya, too, had tears in her eyes, and she said, ‘I am so happy. Things are finally falling into place,’ she told me,” recounts Ahan.
What’s next? “Your first film chooses you. The second one is very important. I have gone through a few very good scripts now. I want to take my time for a few weeks now. I will not sign a film just because I have offers coming up. But then I have been offered all kinds of genres – action, comedy, drama and romance. I just want to wait and see. I am quite picky that way. But we shall make an announcement soon,” he adds.
According to Ahan, there are so many things that he wanted to offer as a performer but couldn’t. “I still feel like I didn’t explore everything. I am a trained dancer. I have trained in martial arts. I can sing and play the guitar. I didn’t use any of it and had to do raw martial arts. I had very little dancing. Normally, you want to look good, wear the best clothes, and have a nice clean shave. I had none of that. In one scene, I am completely messed up, and my lips are chapped and black. But then I had to play the character I was given. I want to be a good actor. Stardom can come later. I don’t think I want to be a superstar. People ask you if you want to be an actor or a superstar? Why can’t a superstar be a good actor?” he says.
Ahan learnt to surrender to the director while filming Tadap. “If you are working with the best directors, they know best. You just need to give it your 100 per cent, and everything will fall into place. Action, dance, everything is secondary. The most important thing is your performance,” he concludes.