Don’t be fooled by Athiya Shetty’s glamorous persona; she’s real, relatable and ready to challenge herself with a line-up of projects
In the course of taking steady strides in Bollywood, Athiya Shetty has discovered more about herself than she expected to. Like what, you ask? For starters, with her latest Bollywood instalment, Motichoor Chaknachoor (2019), she discovered that she was more than willing to be brave with the movies she signed on. “I’m excited by roles that challenge me as a performer. I’m also fascinated by different mediums of entertainment— whether it’s OTT platforms or movies.” As someone who clearly loves a good challenge, she notes, “When Motichoor Chaknachoor was offered to me, I was thrilled! I immediately fell in love with the script and my character because it allowed me to step outside my comfort zone.” From learning to speak in Bundelkhandi to picking up the nuances of a small town girl, here was a role that allowed her to prove her acting skills. The fact that Nawazuddin Siddiqui was her co-star was an added bonus. “Nawaz sir is an incredible talent. To be able to feed off his energy and simply learn from him during the filming process was an experience in itself,” she gushes.
Outfit: JJ Valaya, Accessories: Long haar and ring (right hand): AMARIS By Prerna Rajpal, Choker necklace: Umrao Jewels, Bangles: Motisons Jewellers, Jaipur, Trunk: Bridal trunks by Puneet Gupta Crafted Fine Goods
From content to talent, the Indian film industry is transforming rapidly. As a part of cinema’s new generation, Athiya avers, “Thankfully, people have broadened their ideas and ideologies with regard to cinema. Today, there’s work for everyone and across every age group. High quality content that is relevant to our times is being supported by incredible talent. As someone who works in the industry and is passionate about films, I am appreciative of the people who are doing well; after all, it also helps to generate better work for everyone.” But more work also means more competition. Does that, in any way, unnerve her? “The grass is green where you water it,” she quips, adding, “My mantra is simple: just be grateful for what you have and make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.”
Outfit: Top: Falguni & Shane Peacock, Skirt: Shivan & Narresh, Accessories: Earrings: AMARIS By Prerna Rajpal, Rings: Umrao Jewels, Shoes: Papa Don’t Preach By Shubhika, Trunks: Toujours, Wedding Collection By SPACES
Ready to take on any challenge and opportunity thrown her way, Athiya is eager to be better than her last performance—as a result of which, she carefully considers the roles that are offered to her. She shares, “I evaluate many factors, like will I enjoy watching the film as a moviegoer or working on the project and will I learn from my co-stars. For the most part, I rely on my instincts.” Then of course, she’s got a few sounding boards at home to counsel her. “Be it my father, mother or brother—I have a solid support system to guide me in the right direction. That being said, they always encourage me to decide things for myself because at the end of the day, I am the one who will invest time and energy in a project,” she states.
Outfit: Varun Bahl, Accessories: Necklace: Khanna Jewellers, Ring (left hand, index finger): AMARIS By Prerna Rajpal, Bracelet: Umrao Jewels, Bangles: Khanna Jewellers, Trunks: Toujours, Wedding Collection by SPACES
Apart from being supportive of her, the Shetty household is teeming with a group of hard-working, enterprising members—all of whom inspire Athiya. Belonging to a generation that is big on multitasking and encouraged by her parents’ entrepreneurial mindset, she shares, “Another thing I’ve discovered along the way is that I want to have a multifaceted career. With each passing year, I am motivated to broaden my horizons. Besides being an actor, there’s so much more that I’d like to add to my professional repertoire. At this point, I’m very excited by the idea of doing something in fashion.”
In addition to films and fashion, travel holds a special place in Athiya’s heart. In her words, “Travel is a source of freedom and education. You get to learn so much about yourself and the world around you.” We talk for a moment about her dream wedding. While she isn’t sure whether her love for travel will prompt her to host a destination celebration, she is certain that it will be an intimate affair. Without revealing too much, she shares, “I don’t know the ‘where’ and ‘how’, but definitely, the idea of a small simple affair appeals to me. The way I see it, I’d want to be surrounded by the people I love.”
Purple Outfit: Top: Falguni & Shane Peacock, Skirt: Anamika Khanna, Accessories: Maangtika and earrings: AMARIS By Prerna Rajpal, Ring: Khanna Jewellers, Trunk: Toujours, Wedding Collection by SPACES
For Athiya, happiness truly lies in the little things. Be it her close-knit circle of family and friends or her desire to stay focused and excel in her line of work— she is always looking on the bright side of life. “When I stepped into the industry, I was too absorbed in the business and was fixated on figuring out ‘what next’; but as you experience the highs and lows of life, you start to value being in the moment and enjoying life as it comes. It’s so important to receive every day with a sense of gratitude. Ultimately, self-love is all that matters. After all, if you’re happy, it reflects in your work and life,” she affirms. Surely, Athiya’s razor sharp features are unmissable, but what you really can’t overlook is her self-assured demeanour and grateful heart.
Photographs: Taras Taraporvala, Hair & Make-Up: Clover Wootton, Styling: Lynn Lobo, Creative Direction: Gopalika Virmani, Location: Taj Santacruz, Mumbai