After the failure of his last two films – A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael – Tiger Shroff will shortly be seen in yet another action entertainer, titled Baaghi 2. Helmed by choreographer-turned-filmmaker Ahmed Khan, the actioner is a sequel to Shroff’s 2016 release Baaghi and stars newcomer Disha Patani as the female lead. In an interaction with our Mumbai correspondent, Mohnish Singh, Tiger Shroff talks about being typecast as an action hero, his next film Baaghi 2, popularity among kids and why he does not want people to call him Jackie Shroff’s son. Excerpts from the interview!
Brief us about your character in Baaghi 2.
The character is very much a volcano about to erupt. He does erupt and then the stuff which you saw in the trailer happens. I play an army officer in the movie and beyond that, I cannot tell you much (laughs).
Looks like you speak in a very high-pitched voice in the film. At least the trailer shows that.
I speak from my stomach more than I speak from my throat and chest. I just had to come across as a little stronger because he (his character) is a one-man army. So he has to look like that he can take on an army by himself. So everything from the physicality to the delivery of the dialogue has to be, you know, convincing.
Was there any difficulty while doing the film, considering the fact that it has a lot of action?
Not really. I had a great director. Ahmed Sir was on it. He did his research and work well in advance. He was very clear about what he wanted.
The action in Baaghi 2 is going to be better than Baaghi. Isn’t it?
We have definitely pushed the envelope as far as action is concerned. We have scaled it up in terms of action. We took it to outdoors. I am fighting with men as well as machines. I am even fighting with helicopters. Physically, I had to put on almost 5Kg of muscles. I had to train really hard for that. I learned different combat forms. I learned using weapons. That was pretty much the prep work for the film.
The audience generally associates you with action movies. Don’t you think that you have been stereotype way too early in your career?
I love it. It’s my dream to be an action hero or a mass hero. I think the action is such a universal language and a powerful expression that everyone can understand it. So that is what very intriguing about this expression. And I believe that mainstream heroes have always been the action heroes. From Salman Khan to Sunny Deol and from Sanjay Dutt to Jacky Shroff (his father), these are all the macho heroes that ruled in the 80s and 90s. And when 2000 came, I think Hrithik (Roshan) Sir was the last one, who took the genre forward. After that, the whole romcom chocolate boy thing happened. That’s the urban flavour, a multiplex flavour. We don’t make films having hard-core action heroes anymore like they used to make once.
Coming to me being stereotyped in a certain image, I am very happy. You can use the word ‘stereotype’ because it sort of gives me an identity. I am just four films old. It’s too early to give me a tag. But if people have already given me a tag, that means I have made some sort of a mark, some sort of impression. So, thank you. It’s a good feeling.
You are hugely popular among kids. What, according to you makes them your fan?
I definitely think that the things which I portray onscreen intrigue children especially. I have got a huge following among kids and because of them, families come to watch my films, however nonsensical my films are (laughs). So it’s a good feeling. I love touching children’s hearts. I want to spark some sort of emotions in them and make them feel that they can also do it. So I feel good to make them happy and make them smile. They are the future of our country. As long as I am sending out the right message to them through my films, it’s a good feeling for me.
Unfortunately, your last few films like A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael didn’t fare well at the box office. What learning did you get from their failure?
I don’t think that you can point out what is right, what is wrong. You will never know what works, what doesn’t work. After Heropanti andBaaghi’s success, I was on cloud nine. I thought whatever I touch now would turn into gold. When I did A Flying Jatt, I thought now I have kids’ fan following, plus I am doing a superhero role coupled with action, it will be a sure shot hit. How cannot that work? Tiger Shroff being a superhero, that’s what kids want to see. How did the film not work? So I can never pinpoint till the date I understand.
Having said that, when a picture doesn’t work, the blame game starts. I don’t like to blame others. I blame myself. I introspect what did I do wrong? I don’t want to say the story was not good, the second half was not good or the director’s work was not good. I don’t want to say that. So I have to blame myself. But I don’t know what to blame myself for. I just keep moving forward.
Do you ever consult with your friends about your films?
I am very internal about myself.
Do you discuss your work with your family?
Not at all! I purposely keep my family away from my career because I wanted to prove it on my own. I didn’t want people to say, “Oh he is Jackie Shroff’s son’. I want my own identity. I want people to call me Tiger, not Jackie Shroff’s son.
Since Baaghi was a massive success, people are expecting a lot from Baaghi 2. Do you feel any sort of pressure ahead of the release of the film?
Of course, there is pressure, but it’s good. We are coming up with the second part and before that, we have already announced Baaghi 3, so that shows the confidence that the makers have in the film.
Who do you feel has more chemistry with you – Shraddha Kapoor or Disha Patani?
I cannot say that. I like both of them.
What is your fitness mantra?
It’s the state of mind. If I have to look a certain way, I visualize myself to be the certain person. If I want to have a body like – let’s say – Hrithik Roshan, I will think about Hrithik Sir. I will think about his proportions and work on those areas in my body. It’s all about visualizing, I believe. You can be whatever you want to be.
Are you comfortable working with your best friend Disha?
Yeah, definitely. I was very comfortable with her. The chemistry that we share on and off the screen really helped, the comfort factor doing a romantic scene or an emotional scene for that matter. It’s very easy-going with her.
This film is adapted from a South Indian movie. Did you see the original film?
No. I chose not to watch it because I did not want to start going the same route that the actor (in the original film) had gone through. I wanted to give my own take on it.
The films which you have done so far have been more in the action space. But your upcoming films like Student Of The Year 2 and the one with Hrithik Roshan have romance as well. Are you trying to do some kind of experiment with your upcoming projects?
I am not intentionally trying to experiment or not experiment. I am just very happy with what I have on my plate. Student Of The Year 2 is, of course, a complete contrast to what I am doing right now. That is something which is going to be out-of-the-box for me. Here, I am a one-man army, there I get bullied. The film with Hrithik is again an action bonanza.
There is one more film which has been announced with you in the lead. It’s called Rambo. When will that film go on floors?
Rambo goes on floors after Baaghi 3.
Before doing Baaghi 2 with Disha, you had worked with her in a single called Befikra. How do you think she has evolved over the period of time?
Obviously, she has evolved as a performer. There is more awareness as an actor about herself. There is some restraint that comes with the experience. She is mature now.
Baaghi 2 arrives in cinemas on 30th March.