By Joginder Tuteja
He was a young boy, barely out of his teens, playing volleyball on the beach with his friends (and even strangers). He was still carrying baby flesh, though gearing up for an extensive training in action and martial arts. Yes, he had a 80s/90s superstar as a dad and a businesswoman mother who knew the intricacies of the film business. In traditional terms, this may qualify him being as an insider.
However, insider he was not.
He had to go through his struggles, his trials and tribulations. Yes, he was the son of Jackie Shroff & Ayesha Shroff, he was recognizable amongst the bigwigs of the industry, he had met other star kids on the sets of his father’s films or in social gatherings. However, he wasn’t an extrovert or someone whose life was being captured on film day by day, month by month, year by year, ever since he was born. He wasn’t featuring in the magazines as the next big thing in a pre-mature manner. The bigwigs of the industry hadn’t made claims for his launch.
He was Tiger Shroff, a regular, albeit hard working kid, who knew that in the cut throat industry that Bollywood is, he would need to bring something different on the table. Something striking that would make him stand out from the crowd. Something unique that would be tagged only against his name. Something entertaining that would make him the hero of the masses.
This is where producer Sajid Nadiadwala came into the picture. At the time when neither Jackie Shroff had any plans to give Tiger a ‘star kid’ launch through his own production and the other top names in the industry were still warming up to him, it was Tiger’s immense expertise in various action as well as dance formats that caught Sajid Nadiadwala’s attention.
Not that Nadiadwala Grandson has been known to launch newcomer heroes every now and then. In its near three decades of existence, the production house has roped in primarily top superstars for its prestigious projects, Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan being the regulars. However, it was Tiger’s unique proposition coupled with immense promise that he showed courtesy his visible hard-work that made Sajid Nadiadwala believe that he had it in him to deliver.
It wasn’t still a walk in the park for Tiger. He had to still prove himself, and that happened through months and months of intensive training and practice. He started working on his look and physique, he made sure that loads of sweat and blood was involved in making his debut successful, he had to ensure that his producer was confident enough to pump in big money into his launchpad Heropanti and most importantly, as an insider he had to still make his way into the industry as an outsider, hence making his parents proud all the more.
This he did, and how, with Heropanti not just taking a flying start but also turning out to be solid hit. Sajid Nadiadwala repeated him for an even bigger Baaghi. This time, Tiger delivered an even bigger success. And as all good things come to a pause at least, if not an end, there were twin failures that stared hard on Tiger’s face, courtesy A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael.
Tiger didn’t get bogged down, nor did his producer Sajid Nadiadwala, who is known for being an astute creative businessman in the industry. The producer decided to up the game with Baaghi 2 while Tiger knew that this film could well be a game changer for him. Even till that date, it wasn’t as if the biggest of the banners had lined up for him. Yes, there was an announcement or two but even the common man is well aware of the fact that one failure and it all comes falling down. Had Baaghi 2 not worked, it would have been catastrophic for him.
In this test of the times, Tiger upped his game, and how. He worked on his action as well as look and the physique. He made sure that he trained harder than ever before. He indulged himself into dare devilry like no one else’s business. He didn’t rely upon the laurels of the Baaghi franchise and instead approached it as an altogether new project, a much bigger one at that.
The results were there to be seen as the film took a bumper start and recovered its investment within a week. Post that it was audience’s love for the superstar in the making that took the film towards the blockbuster mark. Tiger made it happen, and how, while still staying humble, rooted and grounded, just like his dad. There were no starry airs still, and all that he looked forward to was the next assignment. The idea was simple – stay alert and aware of the fact that the industry changes its outlook towards an actor every Friday, be it an insider or outsider.
Student of the Year 2 came next, turned out to be an average success, and yes it did mark his entry into the Dharma Productions fold. This happened after five releases though. Next to arrive was Yash Raj Films’ biggie War and everyone would acknowledge that practically no one else other than Tiger Shroff could have been roped in for this part that was equal to that of Hrithik Roshan. This time he earned his 300 Crore Club blockbuster. Even Sajid Nadiadwala’s Baaghi 3 could have marched its way towards at least the 125 (if not 150) crores mark, if not for the pandemic.
Yes, he is working with many more bigwigs now. However, he is still treading with caution. He knows that he needs to keep pushing himself hard. When you are an action hero, the stakes are always higher than ever before. Yes, he may have been an insider by birth but when it comes to his positioning in the industry, he has made his way in there as an outsider, hence emerging as a true young superstar who has managed to find his place right up there.
He deserves credit for that!