LEGENDARY ACTOR JACKIE SHROFF TALKS ABOUT HIS LIFE, CAREER, NEW MOVIE AND SUPERSTAR SON TIGER
by ASJAD NAZIR
LEGENDARY actor Jackie Shroff is loved around the world and has a loyal fan following that has lived through his remarkable journey in cinema, and saw him rising up from very humble beginnings to becoming a huge Bollywood star.
Starring in all-time classics hasn’t lessened his appetite for cinema and the globally acclaimed actor continues to light up major movies with his powerful presence. He is also the father of red-hot film star Tiger Shroff and widely respected for his modest nature. His latest outing is a role in big Bollywood film Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, which is headlined by Salman Khan.
With an interesting variety of projects on the way, Jackie Shroff is far from done and was happy to speak to Eastern Eye about his action-packed career, including his superstar son Tiger. The grounded star lit up answers with laughter and interesting observations about life.
Has lockdown given you a chance to look back on your journey?
No, lockdown hasn’t given me a chance to look at my journey. It has given me a chance to look into my children’s eyes, more than the mobile phone that I used to look at. I have been flowing in that space now. I’m looking at my children, at my wife and just trying to do as much as I can to keep my health. I’m not trying to look at my past. God has given me that glorious past and so much more in all the films I have done. I will forever be thankful for that and feel totally blessed.
So, are you living in the moment?
Yes, I am looking at the present situation and looking a little ahead. That is how life should be. We should hold our loved ones close, help the people around us and just talk about good things. We should spread happiness! We should look at our loved ones more than our mobile phones.
You are looking cooler and sexier as you are getting older while the rest of us here are getting old and broken. What is your secret?
Oh no, how can you say that about yourself? You are looking good brother and are well built. You can outrun me and beat two guys like me! It’s just about keeping your breath, looking at your family and getting the strength from them, and giving them the strength back. It is about reciprocating the energy properly. You just have to channel that positive energy. We are just magnets and neurons blending nicely. The power is in loving one another. Do yoga, swim, exercise and just be happy that you are alive and breathing. God’s kind! Don’t ever call yourself old, my son, you are just as good as anybody else.
You are a legend who has achieved so much. What keeps you motivated?
I have done everything and I have done nothing! So, I’m just going to keep on doing it till I can and keep walking on this path until I have my shoes on me. I just want to work, spread happiness, entertain everyone and just enjoy it.
What did you like about Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai?
Comedy! For me, comedy is something that is a rarity. I don’t do comedy, so doing it gave me great joy. Prabhu Deva is a brilliant director. I think he’s a great dancer, a great actor and a wonderful dance director. He has done films like Most Wanted and now he is doing this. (Laughs) He’s handled me well. I have two left feet. He’s made me dance and do comedy. All I have to say is Radhe, Radhe, Radhe!
What is it like to work with superstar Salman Khan?
He is brilliant and so focused. He is the son of a great writer, so knows his script and dialogues. He knows exactly what to do. He’s been an assistant director on my film in the beginning and read my lines. I know what he can do from then and he is doing it really well. I think that the spark I saw back then has become a huge star now.
You are a legend and a great actor. Do people get intimidated when they’re on set with you?
Nobody feels intimidated by me, Asjad, not even Disha Patani. All these youngsters are so talented, and I feel intimidated by them – that I have to walk in front of them and speak my lines! I am always nervous, so I think they see my nervousness and forget theirs.
Who will Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai appeal to?
It is a mass entertainer for sure and for the whole family! It has a little bit of everything – love, social message, fights, action, romantic songs and comedy. It is a wholesome film.
What was it like shooting in the middle of a pandemic?
There was a unit of 150 people, but I didn’t see that. There was a small unit in front of me with masks and protective gear on. It was like something totally out of a science fiction film, watching them, but I had to drop my mask and do my work. We have been lucky to have completed the film beautifully. We all took care of one another, got regularly tested and made sure everyone was alright. It was tough, but we had a lot of fun because my role was comical. So how could I be serious all the time.
How do you feel that such a big movie like Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai released on a streaming platform at the same time as cinemas, and do you have a preference?
It is setting a trend of releasing simultaneously in cinemas that are open and on
a streaming platform. It will hopefully reach the widest possible audience. OTT and TV as a medium is great, but I always want people to enjoy that bigscreen experience. Films such as Guns Of Navarone, Mackenna’s Gold, Where Eagles Dare, Radhe, you need to watch it on a big screen.
Everyone sees you as a big movie star, but I see you as a great actor. What is the secret of a good performance?
Teamwork! You need to have a very good writer, director, cameraman, editor, music director and co-star. Then you can really shine bright. Parinda had a great director and Gardish also had someone really great. A south Indian film I did called Aaranya Kaandam had some great technicians. So, it is teamwork, brother. They do their work well and so must you.
Your rags to riches story is extraordinary. Will you write a book about your amazing life?
From seven people sharing one potty to one person having his own family. (Laughs) That is my story.
It is far more remarkable than that…
I will definitely write a book about it one day, my brother.
Your son Tiger Shroff is an incredible talent and a huge star now. You must be proud…
I am so thankful to the almighty. My son has given me an identity, which is Tiger’s father and that makes me really happy. All the kids who love Tiger and their mums, always say, “hey that is Tiger’s daddy”. (Laughs) People now know me as Tiger’s father, even though I have done around 250 films. It feels fantastic and is superb.
Is there a character you haven’t done, but would love to play?
I don’t think about that. What comes to me and if I feel good about it, I do it. But my question to you, Asjad, is what would you like to see me do? If you or anyone reading this thinks of something, then get in touch.
Today, what inspires you?
My children inspire me. I watch them and want to compete with them. I watch my kid Tiger and my daughter Krishna, and want to be in competition with them, and keep healthy; so that I can be around them and with them. My children are my inspiration.
Why do you love cinema so much?
I love cinema because it takes me away from reality and into another dream world.
Why should we all watch Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai?
This is the time to feel entertained and for a few hours take your mind away from the sad news and tragedy we keep hearing about and is happening around the globe. Just forget that for a while and watch this wholesome film, which will make you smile and entertain you. Go and smile because that is what we need right now.