Standing as one of the co-founders of Araaish, a renowned fund raising event in India, and a Trustee of P.R.I.D.E India (an NGO that works at the empowerment of marginalized rural communities in the country), Mana Shetty is a dynamic woman who has truly followed in her mother’s footsteps.
“I’m looking forward to a greater footfall this year,” Mana Shetty stated, speaking about Araaish’s upcoming exhibition in Dubai that’s hopefully due to pull in a big crowd thanks to the presence of some well-known brands.
Speaking about her daughter, Athiya, Mana mentions how Athiya would accompany her late grandmother, Vipula I Kadri, on all her charitable events and initiatives. “We’ve always encouraged our children [Athiya and Ahan] to be actively involved whenever they can in order to pay it forward and be forever grateful for what they have in life.” Interestingly, Athiya based her IB thesis on human trafficking, working with the family’s Save Our Sisters (SOS) program, interacting closely with women who had been forced into the sex trade. “Athiya also cultivated a close bond with a mentally challenged student named Nizam who she met through our Save the Children Buddy program,” Mana said, “She then chose to adopt him and has since been paying for his upbringing.”
When asked about how she felt given Athiya’s entry into Bollywood, Mana said she was positively overwhelmed and overjoyed. “It's honestly inspiring how she still manages to listen to her followers and go the extra mile to be respectful in the media eye - a trait she's clearly learnt from her father.”
Mana always knew her beautiful daughter was a “born performer.” “I knew she ought to follow her bliss,” Mana states, “Seeing her light up on stage when she did theater, Athiya genuinely loves what she does and Bollywood seems like a fantastic fit for all of her talents, turning every working day into something exciting.”
But given Bollywood’s intense competition, how will Mana help her daughter in preparing for the highs and lows of stardom? “I’ve always told her to just be strong no matter what and remain resilient,” she says, “You have to maintain your dignity and always perform as well as you can while continuing to learn and grow as an actor. Moreover, I tell her to never be too critical or judgmental of herself and to not pay heed to what others may say.”