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Making his début with the masala entertainer Heropanti, Tiger Shroff – the son of Bollywood star Jackie Shroff – chats to Bollywood Hungama’s Soumya Anantharaman about his career, why he would never do a film with his father, working with his mentor Sajid Nadiadwala and more…
When did you decide to take up acting as a career and why?
Since my childhood, I was into martial arts, and gymnastics and I still love dancing. Unfortunately, after graduation I did not have any academic qualifications. I had a lot of film offers from a young age, so I thought I would transfer my skills into this industry and do a role that helps me use all my strengths?’ And that’s how Heropanti happened.
You rejected many films, including the remake of your father’s film, Hero. Why?
I wouldn’t say “rejected” because that’s a big word. I was not ready to enter films then. And when it comes to Hero, the last thing I wanted was a comparison with my father. Hero was such a big hit and my father became a huge personality after that. I didn’t want to disrespect that in any way.
What was so special about Heropanti?
The speciality of this film is that it allows me to express my skills and at the same time the character is so different from me. I am shy off screen, while my role as Babloo is that of a confident guy. He is outspoken, with a strong sense of justice. I am a complete introvert, I don’t like to argue with people and am not violent. Also, what intrigued me was the innocence in the romance. Love stories today are adult and mature, so this has a maturity, but there is a deeper meaning behind the love.
Heropanti has a lot of action. How have you prepared for it?
I was always prepared for dancing and action. I just worked very hard and, more importantly, I had a very good dance teacher and action guru. I had to maintain a very lean body so I had to stay away from sweets, rice, roti, bread, salt and sugar and I had to eat boiled and steamed food.
Your song Whistle Baja has gained a lot of momentum and you also used your father’s début film’s tune. How have family and friends reacted?
They are happy and proud of me. It’s a great feeling when your loved ones love you even more.
How was it shooting for your mentor Sajid Nadiadwala’s film and what was it like acting with Kriti?
With Sajid Sir, he is more like a father to me. Like a teacher, guru, he looked after me. He watched my every step evolving as an actor. Thanks to him my training went very well. He invested a lot of money during the process, like my photo shoots, screen tests, script workshop and acting workshop. I am very thankful to him. As far as Kriti is concerned, I couldn’t have asked for a better co-star. She is so confident and makes me feel so comfortable. There are also things I picked up from her, like camera facing or when the camera is behind you how to face it.
Do you like action films?
I am an actor, not a fighter. As an actor, I wouldn’t want to limit myself. I want to experiment with many roles. For now, I want to concentrate on my strengths, but I don’t want to be an action hero.
Your parents are experienced in this industry… what have you learnt from them?
To listen more than I talk and to give everybody equal respect.
Many father-son duos have done prominent roles on screen. Would you like to do a film with your father?
No. I am too scared. He’ll just eat me up on screen. He is too good an actor. Everyone will be busy watching him and no one will really pay attention to me.
Considering the number of newbies coming up, what’s your idea about competition and whom do you consider your biggest competitor?
I love competition. It makes me improve every day and I would like to outwork my competitors. If there is one man I would like to compete with, it is Hrithik Roshan because I really admire him. I hope to be half of what Hrithik Sir is. I am not saying I want to be the next Hrithik Roshan; I want to show people the totality of my craft. – bollywoodhungama.com