On January 23, cricketer KL Rahul and actor Athiya Shetty tied the knot at Shettys’ Khandala farmhouse, beginning a new chapter of their love story. Little is known about their romance as the couple had kept it largely away from the public glare. It turns out Suniel Shetty too was initially unaware of his daughter’s blossoming friendship with the cricketer. On a recently-shot episode of The Kapil Sharma Show, the senior actor revealed how he first met Rahul at an airport in 2019.
The senior actor shot for the comedy show, as part of the promotions for his upcoming MMA show Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt. Suniel was joined by wrestlers The Great Khali, Mahavir Phogat and mixed martial artist Ritu Phogat on the episode. After discussing the upcoming reality show, host Kapil Sharma steered the conversation to Suniel, asking him about his first meeting with his son-in-law. Recounting the chance meeting, the senior actor shared, “I had the pleasure of meeting Rahul first at an airport. I was thrilled to learn that he was from Mangalore, my hometown. I was a big fan of him, and was happy to see that he was doing well. When I came home and shared the news with Athiya and Mana, they didn’t say much; they just exchanged looks with each other. Later, Mana came to me and said that Athiya and Rahul [were on] talking terms.”
What was Suniel’s reaction to that? He was thrilled, says the senior actor. After all, he was keen that Athiya meet boys who hailed from a similar cultural background. “I was surprised that Athiya had not mentioned it to me. [At the same time], I was happy as I always told Athiya to connect with south Indian boys,” he recounted. Suniel was pleased to know that the cricketer, in his growing-up years, stayed close to the actor’s ancestral house. “Rahul’s house in Mangalore [where his parents live] is only a few kilometres away from my birthplace [Mulki]. So, this was a happy coincidence.”