By Ninder Kaur


“Hero” marks the debut of actor Suniel Shetty’s daughter Athiya and actor Aditya Pancholi’s son Sooraj.Sooraj and Athiya cover

Both star kids belong to legions of heavyweight actors and have a reputation to live up to. With the help of Salman Khan he has provided the duo with the perfect launch pad to kick-start their careers in Bollywood. So expectations from both of them are bound to be high. We caught up with 22-year-old Athiya and 25 -year-old Sooraj on their debut release of the action-romantic film.



Tell us about the film?


Athiya: It is a romantic film. It actually has everything that a proper Bollywood film has –action, love, dance and music. It is a love story that many people will enjoy watching and that is what’s so special about the film.


What was it like working with each other?

Athiya: Especially for a love story it is important to have that chemistry. It was important to have that friendship and that bond. We were really close whilst filming and I can definitely say Sooraj is one of my best friends now. I think that when you are newcomers your are definitely in the same boat, you get built up together, you go through different phases together, so you automatically get really close.

Sooraj: because we are newcomers, the journey together has been really special for the both of us. We both get to share these experiences together.



Hero-Hand Sooraj

How were you approached for the film?

Sooraj: When Salman Khan offers you to star in a movie I don’t think anybody can say no. It has been our dream to be actors and Salman is making our dreams come true, so why not.

How was it working with Salman Khan?

Athiya: He was our producer, so it was a very different experience. I think that he is an amazing producer. He was very hands on. We are blessed to have him in our lives because not only is our mentor when it comes to our career but he is also a mentor when it comes to lives.

Sooraj: He is a great mentor and role model. He has supported us so much.


Is there a lot of onscreen chemistry as well as off-screen?

 Sooraj: There is a lot of chemistry between the both of us.

Athiya: It is a very honest and true friendship that we both have off-screen. We are really good friends so that’s the chemistry that we have. On screen, I would say, is more romantic.


How does it feel to have your kiss scene edited out by Salman?Hero V 6_clean Athiya

Athiya: We haven’t seen the film so we don’t know if it has or hasn’t.

Sooraj: Just to clear it up. It wasn’t really a kiss. It was just a small peck.


So both your parents come from Bollywood backgrounds. Was it easy getting into the industry?

Athiya: I wouldn’t say it was easier. We are just both blessed that this opportunity came to us by Salman. People will say it was easier but we have worked extremely hard and spent a lot of time in workshops, training and getting into character. It was a different type of struggle.

With this being your first movie, have people got high expectations?


Sooraj: Of course people have high expectations. We have to match up to that because it is a remake of the 1983 original and at the time that was a hugely popular film. There is a lot of pressure because Salman has just launched us and we have to match up to our parents. There is a lot of pressure mounting on us.


How does the remake compare to the 1983 film?


Athiya: It is a remake but the story is essentially the same. We have tried to target a different generation. It’s more modern and more youthful. The relationships amongst characters are quite different. Our characters and personalities are different. Our approach is that we have gone for a new age Hero.

Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?


Athiya: I have always wanted to be an actress. Ever since I was young, I grew up watching films every Friday and dancing and singing and performing. It has always been my dream.

Sooraj: I saw a film when I was younger called Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai. I saw Hrithik Roshan perform in that and after that I wanted to perform like him and be like him. That film was my inspiration.


Shah Rukh Khan has tweeted you wishing you Good luck for the film- how does it make you feel to have his support?

 Athiya: I got super excited because I am a huge fan of his. I have grown up watching all of Shah Rukh’s films. It was a really sweet gesture. It means a lot to have his support and his blessings.


Which Bollywood stars are you crushing on at the moment?

 Athiya: I really like Ranveer Singh. I am a big fan of his. I think Sooraj also has a crush on Ranveer.

Sooraj: No, no. I have a crush on Deepika Padukone. At some point, I would really like to work with her.


Who do you look up to in the Bollywood film industry?

 Athiya: I have always admired Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan.

Sooraj: Hrithik Roshan sir, Salman Khan sir and Shah Rukh sir, all of them.


What’s next?

 Sooraj: We have been given a lot of scripts to read over. We just don’t know what is right for us so we can’t really accept any. We are waiting until Hero releases and see what people want us to do and we will take it from there. If they like us in romantic films then we will both do more romantic films.


Why should people go and watch the film? 

Athiya: Its fun. It’s a family film. It has action. It has dance. It’s an all round-entertaining film. It has two fresh faces so please go and support us.


Directed by Nikhil Advani, the movie is a remake of Subhash Ghai’s 1983 film and is out now!!