An action hero wearing baby pink? That’s Tiger Shroff prowling the streets of Glasgow. His Instagram reel, captioned ‘showing up in true action hero colors’ is followed by a post of him at his gym showing off his ripped body sporting grey tracks. His masculinity is equally at ease in both; his machismo is unfettered by the conventional ideas associated with the ‘manly man’ and is definitely beyond the gender politics of colours. The country got its youngest action superstar in 2014 with Tiger making his debut as Bablu Singh in Heropanti. A remake of the Telugu film Parugu, Heropanti saw him dance and fight his way into the hearts of the audience while picking up a few ‘Best Debut’ awards along the way. He followed it up with Baaghi and his jawdropping action impressed again. Both Heropanti with two and Baaghi with three spiritual sequels would go on to become franchise films. After firmly establishing himself as a Bollywood action hero, he turned superhero in A Flying Jatt to capture the hearts of his younger audience, which he will go on to rule. Next came his Michael Jackson act as he turned dance guru to Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Munna Michael. He then caught the fancy of two of Bollywood’s biggest production houses, Dharma Productions and YRF and the results were Student Of The Year 2 and War. While the first did average at the box office, War, which saw him team up with his childhood hero and role model, Hrithik Roshan, went on to become the highest-grossing Indian film of 2019.
Onscreen, he can perform handstands with just two fingers, single-handedly take on a building full of enemies, and can even kick butt as the Flying Jatt. But Tiger, who is one of the few bonafide action heroes of Bollywood, is not just another Angry Young Man. In fact, this soft-spoken, humble, and reserved guy, who can even come across as tad shy is the antithesis to the stereotype. Although he sticks to playing the larger-than-life commercial hero in massy movies, being brought up in a house of strong and independent women, he steers clear of becoming the ‘toxic’ man even on screen. Not only that, he also has a deeply spiritual side.
He fumes and frets and flexes his muscles, scorches the screen with his fiery action, and saves the heroine, brother, and occasionally, even Hrithik Roshan, but he also makes a robust case for the sensitive and sensible New Man, who is not just fueled by testosterone but also empathy. And this might have something to do with his humongous popularity among the children, apart from an ever-growing female fan following. But it is not surprising that the son of Jackie Shroff — an actor known for his swag and simplicity and is loved by audience across generations, genders, and geography — knows how to charm the masses. He has got his father’s humility. And he has got his mother’s (film producer Ayesha Shroff) sense of structure and discipline. It is a combination that forms the core of Tiger Shroff — the Bollywood star, a thing of beauty, one who dances like a dream and makes the most outlandish and bizarre of action sequences look like a cakewalk, but can also double up as the mild-mannered boy next door. He is also a singer and his fans first got a glimpse of his talent through his Instagram posts during the lockdown. His maiden attempt was a single, Unbelievable, which had made it to the coveted Billboard Top Triller Global charts. After four singles, he made his Bollywood debut as a singer last year in Heropanti 2. The song titled ‘Miss Hairan’ was composed by none other than the maestro, A R Rahman.
A rare sight at Bollywood parties and social gatherings, Tiger is focused on his kill — he strives for excellence and lets his work do the talking. He prefers a regimented life and for him it is eat, sleep, work, and repeat. We catch up with the star to talk everything lights, camera, and Action!
Cinema has always adapted its course and just like that, an action hero, who is a solid lead in a film, has changed over time. Now an action hero is twice as sharp when it comes to action and even more considerate towards his woman (in the film). As much as he can romance and lend a hand, he can still fight the bad goons and perform remarkable stunts.
Indian cinema is all about larger-than-life heroes when it comes to action. The Indian audience loves masala and massy content. Since the beginning of its origin, Indian cinema has been about masala content. Viewers love watching dances, songs, drama, larger-than-life visuals, high-octane action. As an actor, my job is to deliver what they want to see.
Being brought up by a woman and among women really does help a man become a ‘man of manners’. It has impacted me a lot in my way of being; one is building up the right value system. Eventually, I never let my work hinder my value system. So yes, I am extra cautious about not turning into a ‘toxic’ hero on screen. And secondly, my profession leaves an impact on the audience that is watching. My audience is young and I am very specific about what they take away after watching my films.
Bollywood evolves with time and we have seen that over the years. This time around, we have seen too many actionmasala entertainers being made and released. There was a time when back-to-back romantic films were being made. And then came a time when films with a message were being made, that were relatable and timely to the current scenarios. So, we haven’t lost touch; we are just experimenting, testing, and evolving.
Cinema is supposed to keep advancing towards change. If not OTT, some other way of viewing would have forged ahead. And it’s good that we as a generation of actors and viewers are getting to see such a rise in spectacles and such diverse content. With the digital surge, all I can imagine are the possibilities of a great future for cinema. And of course, I am going to work in this space. It is for my own growth as an actor and I would love to meet the audience of this space and deliver what they like.
It was definitely intentional. I knew there was so much competition. Also, being my father’s son, there were huge expectations. So, it was intentional for me to differentiate myself and give my identity its individuality. I knew the way I perform action is not what many people have seen here. I am very lucky to be accepted in the action hero space.
My idols are Michael Jackson, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and the likes of them, who have pushed the bar high in this genre. And I would like to take myself to that platform someday by consistently believing in myself, my talent, and my vision.
Of course, it is. The idea of stardom was fresh back in the day. And yes, my father, SRK sir, and Salman sir have had a very efficient and long trajectory in success with their careers. There is so much to learn from them, which makes it hard to replicate the stardom that my dad or his contemporaries had.
I often take them as motivation. It’s something that motivates me to be better than what I am. On social media, people have the right to say and express themselves, but as a public figure, I take all negative comments as feedback and work on them.
For me every feedback is important, everyone has the right to write what they feel and I genuinely take them seriously. However, I don’t get much time to sit and scroll social media for long but whenever I do I make sure I read comments and give it thought.
Whenever I post something on my social media or whenever I perform anything on the screen in films, the audience’s reaction is my best motivation. They always push me to do and give my best. I always try to deliver something better to the audience.
I think Indian cinema is an entertainment world that has been delivering the best to the audience and it’s the best platform to showcase any kind of art in the best form.
I think meditation is the best way to connect with spirituality. I make sure to meditate daily, which helps me keep the utmost peace. It’s the best way to keep your mental health at its best.
Yes, I am a big Lord Shiva devotee. He is an eternal God. I feel there is a lot that we as a human beings can learn from him — the way he has achieved divinity with meditation is something we all must include in our lives.
Well now, as we all know, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Ganapath are lined up this year. If I talk about the things, I would like to attempt I like to be more of the bad guy now as I have been the hero in most of my films. I would like to experiment with a little grey, darker, anti-hero roles. As an actor, I always strive to give my best whatever comes my way.
I just can’t be more thankful to God for giving me such a big opportunity. These are the people whom I have grown up watching. I had my dream-come-true moment when I got to work with Hrithik sir in War as he is my first idol and a blueprint that I followed to make my own way in the industry. Apart from it, I always dreamt of doing action with Akshay sir, who is one of the biggest action heroes of Bollywood. His discipline is truly something that encouraged me. And on the other hand, Amitabh sir is an institution in himself. Everything from him is learning for me and it’s the biggest lifetime opportunity for me to share screen space with him.
Describe your style in two words:
Comfort, freedom of movement
Three essentials you don’t step out without?
My phone, water bottle, and headphones
What is the one thing we’ll always find on your nightstand?
A bottle of water
If you were to style yourself for an event, what would you wear?
I would wear a Tom Ford suit as it suits my physicality
Pick one: formals or streetwear?
Pick one style: prints or head-to-toe black?
Which is your favourite destination for a holiday?
If you were to pick one perfume to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ralph Lauren Polo
What was your last luxury purchase?
A bag for my mom
Luxury partner Audi Q3 Sportback @audiin
Eyewear: Carrera @carrera #DRIVEYOURSTORY
Clothing by Falguni Shane Peacock @falgunishanepeacockindia
Sneakers by Aldo @aldo_shoes
Neck chain by Inox Jewellery @inoxjewelleryin
Photographer: Kunal Gupta @kunalgupta91
Art Director: Tanvi Shah @tanvi_joel
Fashion Editor: Neelangana Vasudeva @neelangana
Brand Director: Noha Qadri @rahulkothavalenohaqadri
Art Assistant: Siddhi Chavan (@randomwonton)
Make-up by Rahul Kothavale @rahulkothavale
Hair by Amit Yashwant @amityashwant_hair
Artist PR: @spicesocial