Sunil Shetty was born and raised in Mulki, near Mangalore in Karnataka. Though he is a successful businessman, his love for acting led him to the film industry. Suniel made his debut with Balwaan (1992) which was a moderate success at the box office but won him critical acclaim.
Post his debut, he starred in the action thriller Mohra (1994) which was a major hit, followed by another hit in the same year – Dilwale. He won a Filmfare Award in the category of Best Villain for his performance in Dhadkan (2000). Suniel then appeared in many films including Border (1997), Refugee (2001), Qayamat: City under Threat (2003) and LOC: Kargil (2003). He also ventured into comedy, with successful films like Hera Pheri (2000), Awara Pagal Deewana (2002), Phir Hera Pheri (2006) and De Dana Dan (2009). His feature film, Red Alert: The War Within (2010) was based on a true story of a naxalite named Narsimha. He was last seen in the action thriller Desi Kattey (2014) and Do Chehare (2015). He now has the film Hera Pheri 3, which is lined up for a 2017 release.