Tiger Burning Bright: Shroff Jr on Munna Michael
He is three films old in the industry, but already Tiger Shroff seems to have carved a niche for himself as the young dancing wonder and martial arts superhero in Bollywood. Today, his fourth film, Munna Michael, an action dance film releases across India. Tiger along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and debutante Nidhhi Agerwal has been touring cities for the promotions. "I am excited but nervous as well, I am hoping for the best because I have a lot riding on this film. Unfortunately, my last film A Flying Jatt didn't do well so I am hoping Munna Michael does really well!" says Tiger.
All the trailers and songs of the film that have been released so far are evident of the hardwork that Tiger has put in to improve his agility and dance moves. "This character required a lot of vocabulary in dancing which meant a intense preparation. It's a tribute to the greatest icons who has ever lived and everybody knows the way Michael Jackson danced and moved, I had to be prepared to do justice to it." The highlight of the film though is the Beparwah song, in which Tiger does a near-perfect impression of Michael Jackson. There have been reports that dancers who had worked with MJ were especially brought on board to train Tiger. "The shoot of Beparwah took seven days because of the scale and the level of dancing involved in it. There's a section in the song, that's solely a tribute to MJ. Dancers who had worked with him were sending dance videos and along with our choreographer Ganesh Acharya, we married their steps with our craft and that's how we worked on it."
The other significant element of the film Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays the role of Mahinder Fauji. The song Swag in the film brings out an unusual chemistry between Munna and Mahinder, the protagonist and antagonist. Nawaz is seen attempting to dance as confidently and smoothly as Tiger. "It was a lot of fun working with Nawazji. He is terribly hardworking, but he would always say,'Tiger, I have never done something like this before and to top it off, I am scared of dancing with you.' He is very sincere to his craft, I saw him put hours into his rehearsals," says Tiger, adding, "The film is primarily the chemistry I share with him and how our bond grows through dancing." True to his image of being a method actor, Nawaz seems to have impressed Tiger with his meticulous and silent preparation on sets before scenes. "It's only now during the promotion that I have gotten closer to him and have got to know him better. When Nawazji is standing with you, you cannot tell he is such a big star, he is extremely humble, well-spoken and down-to-earth. On sets he was a totally different person. He too is shy and introverted like me. He is a man of few words but we are really getting along well now."
So far, Tiger has been cast in roles that require him to dance well and use his martial art skills, upping the chances of being typecast. But the young man isn't apprehensive about it. He is clear about furthering his identity. "There's so much competition in this industry, so how would I stand out? What makes me special? Keeping all this in mind, I have realised that if people want to make an action film, or a dancing film, I want to be the first name that comes in their head. I don't want to be a second choice! Once I own this space, only after that I will experiment," he says, adding, "I don't want to be a boy-next-door. I like larger than life characters and doing things on a big scale. I love the adulation, and that gives me a high!"
Though Tiger has managed to impress audiences with his performances so far, he admits it's been a bit of everything - working with the right directors and teams, getting the right films and little bit of luck. But ask him about the nepotism debate, and Tiger says frankly, "Nepotism does exist, I totally agree. For me it was easier to get into the industry because of my father. People noticed me and from a very young age I was sort of in the spotlight. That being said, it's always easier for a star kid to be noticed but that's it. After that the struggle is twice as hard compared to what outsiders have to go through. Honestly, they don't go through the burden of being their father's or mother's son or daughter, we have double the expectation and we have to live up to that if not we are pretty much written off. There are so many newcomers who come in and only a handful make it and being Jackie Shroff's son, it's hard to break out of his shadow." As a superstar's son, Tiger has had his fair share of learning as well, and has seen his father through several ups and downs. "My dad has seen the peak of super stardom and has also fallen from it both have been due to his over-generosity. I am never going to be over-generous and I will never mix my personal and professional life!" Tiger starts shooting for Baaghi 2 in August, and then he begins with Student of the Year 2, followed with Rambo. "Rambo will be one of the most challenging films of my career, but I am grateful for having been given this opportunity and this character," he signs off.