On a sultry Mumbai morning, Team HELLO! gathers on the lawns of Mumbai’s Gallops restaurant at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, for a very special shoot. Punctual and poised, Tiger Shroff enters the venue exuding a warm charm, his eyes subtly aglint with a shared acknowledgment.
The actor, who debuted in 2014 with Heropanti, effortlessly aligns with the photographer’s vision and as he flexes his meticulously toned biceps, a subtle vulnerability adds depth to his chiselled jawline—and we can see why he’s Bollywood’s ultimate action hero! But the lens captures more than a physique honed to perfection; it showcases the essence of a multifaceted personality—an actor, a star and an individual whose charisma extends way beyond the screen.
Like most A-listers, his entourage is large, but what stands out to us, is his entirely unassuming demeanour—he’s perhaps one of the few actors who’s ready even before the photographer has a chance to set up his shot!
As the son of the illustrious Jackie and Ayesha Shroff, Tiger mentions that he’s very close to his parents; however, when it comes to his career, the actor marches to the beat of his own drum.
“I make my own decisions. They have given me that freedom, they respect my choices because I have not let them down in any way,” he says, touching upon his upbringing. “I come from a very liberal home and they allow me and my sister to make our own decisions. Obviously, they are very protective!” he confesses.
As his shirtless look set the temperatures soaring in mid-December Mumbai, HELLO! Finds itselff in conversation with the young star within the confines of his compact living room inside the vanity trailer—an unmistakable sign of his Bollywood arrival.
Tiger bares all
The actor, known for his clear-sighted focus, shares that he’s preparing for a busy year on the sets. “Right now, I am focused on my work,” he reveals, which inadvertently has led to his love life taking a back seat. Although he has never officially confirmed dating his ex-girlfriend, actress Disha Patani, they were frequently spotted together.
Tiger is now single by choice; a fact that his swooning party of female fans are going to savour! “My dreams and goals are big. I aspire to be a global star, filling the void for action heroes on an international scale. It’s a great space to fill. After [his upcoming film] Rambo, I am not sure if the Indian audience will want to see me in more action films, though they have been gracious with me so far. But there is a lot to explore in the action genre abroad,” he notes.
Speaking of the audience, they are integral to any actor’s life and their collective approval can surely do wonders for a film career. But given the rampant new-age social media trolling, we wonder how Tiger handles negativity.
“Initially I used to get upset, but over the years I have realised that it is part and parcel of any celebrity’s life as you are under the microscope 24/7. And with time you can differentiate between genuine criticism and negativity, so I don’t pay heed to that.”
But there is one person whose opinion matters to Tiger the most—deeming his sister, Krishna, as his best critic.
“I value her opinion as she is brutally honest with me. She sees my work and gives me detailed analysis. There is a lot I learn from her in terms of feedback and constructive criticism.”
So, how has 2023 panned out for Tiger Shroff?
“No complaints—it had its moments, the ups and downs. But I am very grateful to have made a lot of new relationships in terms of my professional life,” he reflects with an upbeat tone. Tiger goes on to share his latest news, joining hands with DCA Talent [Dharma Cornerstone Agency], helmed by none other than Karan Johar. “He has taken me under his wings and is guiding me…” The possible downs he refers to may stem from the box-office setback of Ganapath, in which he shared the screen with his debut co-star, Kriti Sanon. Playing the role of Guddu in this superhero franchise, Tiger’s slick dance movies and intense action sequences didn’t quite appeal to all; and he takes it to heart.
One assumes that being the son of the popular Jackie Shroff, Tiger would be indifferent to the ebb and flow. However, he reveals his sensitive demeanour when he confesses, “My father’s approach to the highs and lows is different. He’s a very carefree and chilled out person; his success didn’t affect him much so neither did the lows. He gets on with life and enjoys it. But I am quite intense and extreme with my emotions.”
“If a film does well, I am grateful to everyone involved and I will call them individually to thank them for their efforts. But when a film does not do well, I am quite hard on myself. I blame myself as I don’t like blaming others. It is just in my nature; it takes me a while,” says the actor as he unconsciously picks at the gold chain around his neck.
On the subject of his father, Tiger expresses his deep admiration for his dad, who was a heartthrob in his heyday.“I always knew that my father was special because every time we would go out for family lunches, he would be surrounded by fans.” He smiles, adding,
“My grandmother had all the video cassettes of his movies. I remember watching one of my dad’s films before going to sleep every night as a child. I especially loved Hero and Parinda.”
Having grown up in such filmi environs, it is rather natural for an actor’s son to step into his father’s shoes. But ironically, Tiger had no such aspirations as a child.
He reminisces, “I wanted to be a football player while growing up but at the time, there was not much scope for such passions. Fortunately, I got offers from a very young age so after school, I didn’t go to college. I was picked up by Sajid Nadiadwala, who groomed me; I was lucky that my first and second film worked—that’s when I thought, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
2024’s action-packed ventures
The actor who has starred in blockbusters like War, Baaghi and Student of the Year 2 has a slew of films coming up in 2024—having recently wrapped up the new-age version of the ’90s blockbuster, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. While the older version featured Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda, the 2024 version will see Tiger join hands with Akshay Kumar.
Elated about working with one of his favourite actors, he gushes, “I will credit my producer Jackky Bhagnani for this project. I am very excited and a big fan of Akshay sir. His energy is unmatchable—even while shooting the hardest sequences, we were playing games and training together, in between shots. He’s the one who started the martial arts trend in the industry and I’m following in his footsteps.”
Tiger is a part of the multi-starrer Singham 3, helmed by the dynamic director, Rohit Shetty with the likes of Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Ajay Devgn! However, the year 2024 will also see him in a role that he has been prepping hard for—the Indian version of Hollywood’s iconic Rambo.
“A cult movie worldwide, it is the father of all action films,” he says, noting that it comes with huge expectations. “Physically, it requires me to be a lot bigger than I am, bulk up quite a bit. I am learning how to use a bow and arrow because that was Rambo’s iconic weapon and also doing a lot of readings with my producer and director, Siddharth Anand. There is a lot of pressure,” he admits.
But Tiger thrives under pressure. “It is a privilege,” he says. “It pushes me to work harder, get out of my comfort zone and most of the time, I meet those demands. I do get lucky now and then and surpass certain expectations,” he adds, with his characteristic humility.
And we can tell he takes his fitness regime very seriously—even bringing his own meal to the shoot!
“I’m quite consistent and disciplined with my training. I do cardiovascular activity in the first half and strength training and weightlifting in the second. I eat three to six times a day depending on my goals. If I want to gain muscle, I consume more calories,” he says.
But does the action hero ever cheat on his diet?
He quips, “I just did, last night. I had cookies.”
One cannot always notice the smaller sacrifices made along the way. Our time is coming to an end and he has one more shot before we call it quits. So, we ask Tiger how he likes to unwind at the end of a hectic day. While most mainstream actors will never confess to taking wellness breaks, Tiger is the confident metrosexual male who tells it like it is!
“I enjoy doing things that revolve around wellness, steam sauna, take an ice bath or red light therapy.”
It is this sense of genuineness and honesty that makes him a class apart. Tiger shines bright as he carves his own distinct identity, eager to leave his footprints on the sands of time.
Photos: Prabhat Shetty; Creative Direction: Avantikka Kilachand; Styling: Anushree Sardesai ; Assisted By: Ila Parakh; Make-Up: Rahul Kothavale; Hair: Amit Yashwant; Location Courtesy: Gallops, Mahalaxmi
This interview is from HELLO! India’s January 2024 issue. Check out the latest issue right here.