Athiya Shetty is charting her own course as she becomes the most authentic version of herself. Cosmo India speaks to the actor about working with her father, what she loves about her husband, cricketer KL Rahul, and how her mindset has evolved over the years.
Cosmo: Congratulations on your wedding! We have been noticing your extremely stylish looks... Would you call it a post-wedding glow-up?
Athiya Shetty: “I don’t believe in ‘glow-ups’... And, to be honest, I don’t put much thought into what I am wearing, or what I may be seen in. It’s genuinely based on my mood. Some days I feel like dressing up...on other days, you’ll see me in comfortable, baggy outfits, without any make-up. Over time, I have become more comfortable with the idea of being my true self...and that probably comes across in the way I dress, too.”
C: What are some of your favourite moments from your wedding?
AS: “I can’t recall any specific moments, but it was all about the energy. Our wedding was about unconditional love and pure joy. People who we love dearly were there with [KL] Rahul and me in one big house, celebrating our love and happiness. I miss that the most, and that’s something I’ll always cherish.”
C: We could tell from the photographs that you really enjoyed yourself...
AS: “I think I had the most fun at my wedding. It almost surprised me that one can enjoy their own wedding so much. I wasn’t that bride who was worried about her hair or make-up looking perfect. As actors, we are so used to looking a certain way in front of the camera, but when I am not in front of the lens these things don’t faze me.
I liked working with Ami [Patel] who styled me, and designers like Anamika [Khanna] and Anjul Bhandari.
For the wedding ceremonies, we decided that nothing should be perfect, because I wanted it to be real. And more than that, I wanted to be comfortable. The wedding had to be an extension of my personality...and not seem like the characters I have played, or the style everyone associates with me. That’s not who I am. So the inspiration was about being real and being true to ourselves, having fun, and not taking anything too seriously.”
C: All the functions took place in your home in Khandala. Do you go there a lot, and is it a special place for you?
AS: “Yes, I remember moving into that house when I was nine- or 10-years-old. The house has grown with me...and both Ahan and I have grown with the house. I remember my dad planting the trees, and now they’ve grown so tall. And the house is really special because Rahul and I spent a lot of time there...so it seemed like the most natural and organic venue for our wedding. I don’t like extravagant affairs and parties... I wouldn’t say that I am shy, but I am an introvert. I prefer smaller groups of people. So the most organic place to host the wedding was our home, because I feel the happiest there. I can be at home for days and not get bored. It makes me feel safe and secure. Where else would you want to get married than some place where you feel the purity of energy...”
C: What is the one thing that you love about KL Rahul?
AS: “Rahul is a people’s person. He might seem very serious to the world, but he’s a far better conversationalist than I am. We have very different personalities, and I believe that’s what balances us out. However, our value system is very similar, and that’s how we connected. There are days when I am feeling a certain way, and I don’t have the energy to spell it out or make an effort to explain it well, and Rahul just understands what I’m going through. It comes naturally to him, and that’s what is so special about him.
He’s also very patient and not judgemental. That’s what I love about him the most—he always looks at the positive in any person and situation. It is this quality of his that changed my outlook towards life, because now if something unpleasant happens, I always try to look at it from another perspective. And Rahul is responsible for changing my mindset.”
C: Do you ever feel nervous when you watch Rahul play on the field?
AS: “Not just for Rahul, I am like that for all my loved ones. I feel nervous when I watch Ahan [Shetty, her brother] on stage...and I have always been like that when it comes to my dad, too. It’s the love and care and protection that I have for my loved ones that makes me nervous...I am fiercely protective about them.”
C: And do you play any sports?
AS: “I played football for eight years. I was also a part of the swimming and track team. My dad was adamant that we play sports, because he believed that helps inculcate discipline and people skills.
I remember, once I got into the first grade, we had to pick one sport every quarter—one that we enjoyed. That’s my takeaway from my childhood...studying is important, but there’s also another side to life.”
C: You have also recently launched your YouTube channel. How is that going for you?
AS: “I wanted to reach out to my audience and give them a sneak peek into my life and the things I enjoy doing. Be it spending time with my pets or practising my skincare routine—I wanted people to see the real me. I have realised that it doesn’t always have to be perfect, or it isn’t about the final result once your hair and make-up is done...I wanted people to be a part of my journey and also witness moments of chaos, because life isn’t always perfect, and that’s okay.”
C: When will we get to see you on the big screen next?
AS: “I just finished shooting for a project, and, unfortunately, I can’t talk about it till the announcement is made. It’s for an OTT platform, and all I can divulge is that I had an amazing time shooting for it. Many people ask me why it has been so long since my last film, and, to be honest, I haven’t come across anything that I have truly loved in a long time. I remember feeling immensely satisfied—and creatively gratified—when I was working on Motichoor Chaknachoor . It challenged me as an actor, and I remember telling myself this is what a set is supposed to be like...and this is what it means to have a really good day at work. I didn’t care about the outcome because that film was so fulfilling for me as an actor, as well as a person.”
C: Is there a director you’d like to work with?
AS: “There are so many directors that I admire and want to work with. But you’d be surprised to know that I don’t have a bucket list of directors I want to work with...I just want to go with the flow. You don’t know who you’ll end up meeting and working with in life.”
C: Is there any film genre that you would like to explore?
AS: “I love comedy...dark comedy actually. But I really want to work in a thriller or an action film, because I’d love to do my own stunts!”
C: And how has it been working with your father?
AS: “My father [Suniel Shetty] and I have this habit of overthinking things, and taking work home. We both have similar personalities and working together was totally worth it. We shot together for a campaign recently, and that was the first time I was on set with him as a co-actor, you know...and not just visiting him on set. And it was so comfortable. We have tremendous respect for each other and working together was a nice experience.”
C: How do you dress up on a typical day?
AS: “I love a good pantsuit, or pair something sharp with straight-cut jeans. You will never find me in something with over-the-top prints or anything form-fitting. When it comes to colours, I either opt for solid hues or prefer light shades. I don’t like anything that’s too bright...that’s why you will never spot me in neon shades.”
C: Tell us about your most-loved product currently.
AS: “It would be Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask...I love it!”
C: Lastly, do you have any upcoming travel plans with Rahul?
AS: “Whenever we plan in advance, it backfires. That’s why I prefer going with the flow and seeing where life takes us. My all-time favourite destination is London and it almost feels like home. I know London as much as I have known Mumbai. I have been visiting London every year, ever since we were kids... And the city is also special because I have spent a lot of time with Rahul in London as well, and it has brought me so much joy.”
Photographs: Taras Taraporvala; Styling: Zunaili Malik; Interview: Priya Kumari Rana
Fashion Assistant: Jaishree Chhabra; Hair: Marcelo Pedrozo; Make-up: Simran Gidwani; Production: Studio Little Dumpling
On Athiya Shetty:
Image 1 and 2: Bata Red Label Sandals, Bata; Image 3: Blood Washed Second Skin Crop Top and distressed flared jeans, both Huemn; Image 4: Bata Red Label Pump Heels, Bata