I’ve known Tiger, Jackie and Ayesha Shroff’s cub from the time when he was a child. Tiger was always a well-behaved boy, gentle courteous, disciplined and militarily regimented in eating and exercising.
Tiger was always the opposite of his star-papa Jackie. If Jackie never took care of himself, Tiger never stops taking of himself. Jackie would wake up at 10 am and laze around the house when he wasn’t working. Tiger was up at the crack of dawn doing his martial arts routine for a good two hours even when he was not an actor yet. While Jackie ate any and everything, Tiger tucked into only health food. Fit as a fiddle, Tiger’s debut in Heropanti was greeted by hoots and jeers. He was savaged for being effeminate and too soft. Not once did I see Tiger get upset as the nation took potshots at everything about him from his name to his looks. “How was I to be blamed for the way I looked? Or if I didn’t have facial growth even if I shaved twice a day? I never took the criticism to heart because I knew it was for my own good. Those who take the trouble to offer constructive criticism must be taken seriously, provided you want to grow,” Tiger informed me, with a wisdom way beyond his ears. Today in Baaghi 2 Tiger’s appearance, body language and emotive faculties are beyond anything one would have imagined for Tiger. Just like Rekha and Akshay Kumar, Tiger’s makeover is inspirational, though I’ve to admit his change is far more swift and radical. Akshay and Rekha changed over a period of time and roles. Tiger is transformed over a span of 4 films. How did he do it?
Tiger says it’s will-power. I think it’s more than that. It’s the will to overpower though never disown the legacy that star-kids have to carry on their shoulders. Varun Dhawan was just not happy being known only as David Dhawan’s son. He worked towards establishing a name for himself whereby his father is no longer the deciding factor in his career as an actor. Tiger is proud to be known as Jackie Shroff’s son. But there is always that dread of being compared unfavourably. Tiger has successfully vanquished that fear in his new film where he is transformed into a killing machine. After Baaghi 2 Tiger won’t be compared with his father. He will be compared with Hrithik Roshan, and very favourably too. I suspect with Baaghi 2, Tiger will considerably erode Hrithik’s market. The dancing is on a par with Roshan. And the stunts much more complex and heart stopping than anything Roshan has ever attempted. In fact Tiger’s action sequences in Baaghi 2 are so overpoweringly daring audiences will presume they achieved through a body double, if not computer graphics. Our cinema has a long history of heroes risking their lives for a breath-taking stunt. Whatever you’ve seen other action heroes do in the movies pales into significance when compared with Tiger’s bravado in Baaghi 2.
So is Tiger Shroff India’s finest action hero? I am afraid he is. He may not be among the finest actors in the country. But Tiger lets action speak louder than words. The sound of bones being crunched is deafening.