Bollywood’s muscular hero, Suniel Shetty, has become one of the industry’s most popular actors in a career spanning nearly three decades. Making his debut with the film ‘Balwaan’ (1992), Shetty became a much sought-after all out action hero, before showcasing his versatility later as a comedian and villain in award winning roles.
To celebrate Shetty’s 60th birthday, BizAsiaLive.com looks back at some of his most memorable films.
‘Waqt Hamara Hai’ (1993)
This action-comedy started the whole Shetty-Akshay Kumar bro-mantic saga. The two pumped-up action stars starred together for the first time in this film. They played college students who start off as rivals and then become the best of friends. Funnily, the film centred around a mysterious substance called Kryptonite which is to be used by the terrorists to kill a high-ranking politician. No, Superman isn’t involved here, but our two action stars act as superheroes nevertheless, killing a whole army of goons with bare hands and making sure the politician stays safe. The first half is concentrated on the college life shenanigans, with the two heroes busy romancing their respective girlfriends – Ayesha Jhulka for Kumar and Mamta Kulkarni for Shetty. Trouble starts when Rami Reddy comes on the scene and forces the two young men to do his dirty work. How they outwit him through both brains and brawns forms the crux of the film, which became a huge box office hit.
The film marked the transition of Naseeruddin Shah into commercial cinema. His acting chops were pitted against the brawn of Shetty and Kumar in the film and this strange combination surprisingly won huge dividends at the box office. The story revolves around Vishal (Shetty) who is hired as a contract killer to eliminate drug lords, whilst Amar (Kumar), a police officer is hot on his heels. The songs in the film including ‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast’ and ‘Na Khajre Ki Dhar’ and powerful and intense performances from the cast helped make the film a complete package, including the amazing comic timings of its supporting cast like Paresh Rawal.
An adaptation of real-life events that happened during the Battle of Longewala in 1971, ‘Border’ remains one of Shetty’s most critically acclaimed films. His character, of BSF Commandant Bhairon Singh, became hugely popular especially for his patriotic fervour and delivery of dialogues. His portrayal of a soldier placing the motherland above everything else in life struck a chord with the masses. The film was further praised for it’s anti-war message, thus, the end of the movie depicted most soldiers dead and the trauma it caused to their family members. The lyrics of the song “Mere Dushman Mere Bhai” sung by Hariharan criticises war and describes its disastrous effects, with the lines “Hum Apne Apne Kheton Mein Gehoon Ki Jagah Chaanval Ki Jagah, Ye Bandookein Kyoon Botein Hain, Jab Dono Hi Ki Galiyon Mein, Kuch Bhooke Bachche Rotein Hain!” (“Why do we grow guns in our farms instead of wheat and rice, when children in our countries cry due to hunger).
In this film, Shetty plays the anti-hero to Kumar’s ideal husband material character. He won the accolades including the Filmfare award for Best Villain for his portrayal of a dark character. His passion for Shilpa Shetty in the film and his angst as a jilted lover feels real. He showed he could do a variety of roles and wasn’t just meant for action films. The film tells the story of Dev (Shetty), a poor man who is in love with a comparatively well-off girl, Anjali (Shetty) who gets married to Ram (Kumar) as per the wishes of her parents. Dev, who becomes a successful business tycoon, working in association with Sheetal (Mahima Chaudhary, comes back in Sheetal’s life some years later. Dev wants to win Anjali back from Ram and hence wants to sabotage Ram’s business. However, in the end, he realises that Anjali can never be his and leaves them alone, content to secure a future with Anjali (who secretly loves him) abroad. The film went on to become a cult classic and infamous for its blockbuster music.
‘Hera Pheri’ (2000)
The story of this laugh riot is adapted from the 1989 Malayalam film ‘Ramji Rao Speaking’ which was based on the 1971 television film ‘See The Man Run’. A sequel ‘Phir Hera Pheri’ was released in 2006. The comedy revolved around a wrong number being answered which leads to all kinds of misadventures. Babu Bhaiya (Rawal), a kind-hearted garage owner has two tenants, Raju (Kumar), who is indulging in get rich quick schemes all the time and Shyam (Shetty), who has come to the city to get a job in place of his deceased father. One day Kabeera (Gulshan Grover) gives a ransom call to the owner of Star Fisheries, Mr Devi Prasad (Kulbhushan Kharbanda). The call, however, gets connected to Babu Bhaiya. Kabeera, informs that his granddaughter Rinku is kidnapped and asks for a ransom. When Raju gets to know this, he calls Devi Prasad pretending to be Kabira and asks for an even bigger amount. This leads them to all kinds of mayhem but in the end, they thankfully end up rescuing Rinku and also get rich in the process. In a poll conducted by Indian Express newspaper, readers voted ‘Hera Pheri’ as the top comedy film of all time.
From all of us at BizAsiaLive.com, a very happy birthday to Suniel Shetty!