Tiger Shroff Interview© Getty Images

Tiger Shroff Loves Working Out And Action Movies, Not Necessarily In That Order

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

My experience with Tiger Shroff has been limited to repeated watching of the movie War and a one-time screening of Student of the Year 2. Ever since his movie debut with Heropanti in 2014, Shroff has carved a niche for himself in the industry where he sits comfortably as one of the few true-blue action stars of Bollywood. When his 35 million+ Instagram followers are not being intimidated by snippets of his complex (and frankly terrifying) fitness routine, they are treated to videos of him showing off his superb dance skills.

So it came as no surprise when the Japanese brand ASICS roped in the actor to be their brand ambassador. Shroff embodies everything that the brand is known for: athleticism and effortless style. Luckily for a ton of Delhi/Gurugram-based Tiger Shroff fans and for the little curious part of me that wanted to know what the actor is like in real life, Shroff decided to make an appearance at the newly revamped ASICS store at Ambience Mall to celebrate its launch.

“It is a brand that is very close to my heart and I’m excited to unveil its new look here in Gurugram,” the actor said as we settled down for a (quick) chat before he had to make his way to greet the many fans who had gathered to meet the actor at the mall, adding, “Their philosophy, ‘Sound Mind, Sound Body’, is something that I totally relate with. I also love the technology that they use, especially the latest product the Quantum Gel 360.” The actor then lifted one of his legs to show his feet encased in chunky trainers with colourful gel-like cushioning as the name suggested. When I made suitably impressed noises (they did look pretty cool), he excitedly explained, “I often use these when I’m doing my cardiovascular exercises, primarily because of the gel-based technology which is really good for the joints and provides great cushioning.”

Shroff is calm amidst a flurry of frantic activity around him. His team is standing on guard a few feet away from us, pointedly looking at their watches, while a set of expectant fans look on with barely contained impatience as I hand Shroff my phone to record our conversation because he is a remarkably soft-spoken person in a room filled with buzzing energy.

When I ask him about the secret behind his apparent zen state of mind, his eyes crinkle in what I’m assuming was a smile (there is no way of actually confirming because half of his face was hidden behind a black mask). “Exercising. Any sort of exercise or movement gets me there.”

Shroff’s Instagram, and basically his entire filmography, is a testament to the fact that the actor can move. He is, inarguably, one of the best dancers in Bollywood in recent history and can execute complicated-looking action sequences, making them look absolutely effortless. Shroff is quick to disabuse me of the notion. “No, yaa!” he says, when I say the ‘E’ word, “I just keep working at it until I sort of get it. It’s all about immense hard work and consistency in the craft.”

But he says it’s not about the amount of time you put in at the gym, it’s all about the quality of your workout. “I don’t mean to sound preachy, but even if you take out 30-minutes from your day to workout, it will make all the difference to your health.”

By now his team is making the universal sign to get me to wrap the conversation up because Shroff’s got places to be and newly revamped stores to inaugurate, so I decided to steer the conversation to his other forte, action movies. “I look up to Tom Cruise, Jackie Chan, and Sylvester Stallone a lot,” he replies instantly, so it comes as no surprise that his top action movie recommendations (“that everyone should see once in their lifetime”) consisted of iconic hits from these action stars, “I’m a big fan of the Rocky and Rambo franchise, all the Jackie Chan movies and the Mission Impossible series.”

This quick chat with Shroff had confirmed the two things I knew about Shroff much before I sat down to have an in-person conversation with him, something that anyone with two eyes and a mild interest in Bollywood would know. He loves working out and action movies. So I had to ask him the question that would otherwise bother me for the rest of the evening: Is there anything that still surprises people about him?

“People find it hard to believe that I eat 10 scoops of ice cream every Sunday,” he says, laughing when I reflexively replied with a “You’re lying” at his admission, “No! The family pack contains 10 scoops!” as if that offered any explanation. I guess the guy can treat himself to an ice cream binge every once in a while with the hours he spends at the gym. He’s earned it.