There wasn’t a single dull moment when Shraddha Kapoor, Tiger Shroff and Sabbir Khan (director) visited the Hindustan Times office recently. They cracked jokes and kept everyone thoroughly entertained. Here, the trio talks about their upcoming film, Baaghi, the expectations that are attached to star kids, and more.
Tell us about the film.
Tiger: It was a pleasure to work with Shraddha. We studied in the same school. As a kid, she was outgoing, and very talented. We always knew she would become a star. Though she has many hits to her credit, she would always reach the sets on time, with no tantrums. She is a positive, happy-go-lucky girl, and that attitude is very infectious.
Shraddha: I am very excited, because I got to do some action in a film for the first time.
Sabbir: The film is a classic retelling of the Ramayana. I always thought it would make for a great screenplay. But, I have taken a lot of cinematic liberties to make it relevant to today’s time. It’s my version of the Ramayana with a strong love story. I have raised the bar of action too. I hope the audience has a wholesome experience.
How easy or difficult was it to get into the skin of the characters?
Tiger: Initially, it was quite difficult. We got a lot of time for preparation. Many workshops were conducted, thanks to our director and producer who invested a lot of time in pre-production. We had strict acting and action workshops. Whatever our characters demanded was taken care of before we started shooting.
Shraddha: I feel proud to say that here’s an actor (Tiger), who has something so wonderful to offer to cinema that you haven’t seen before. He’s amazing at what he does. It feels great to be part of a path-breaking film like this. I am sure that you haven’t seen action like this in Indian cinema ever before. I have done a little bit of action, which is new for me. It feels great to have explored a new facet, yet again, with a new film.
Sabbir, have you noticed any change in Tiger since Heropanti (2014)?
Sabbir: There was a sense of nervousness in him during Heropanti, which I think was very natural, because it was his first film. Every newcomer experiences it. But, after the appreciation and love that he got received for the film, he has become much more confident.
How was it working with the same team for the second time?
Tiger: We were friends during Heropanti; now we are brothers. Sajid sir (Nadiadwala; producer) and Sabbir are like my family. Now, Shraddha is part of it too. There is a certain expectation that we have to match. [But] I have nothing to fear, as we have our lucky charm, Shraddha Kapoor, with us.
Shraddha: By saying so, don’t raise expectations in any way. I have been blessed to be part of good films.
What’s the one quality of each other that ticks you off?
Tiger: She eats just about everything, and doesn’t put on an ounce, while I have to be disciplined and maintain a diet to look a certain way.
Shraddha: I wish I could be as disciplined as him. He would have his cheat meal once a week, but I have a cheat day every day.
What made you choose Shraddha for the film?
Sabbir: I was destined to work with Shraddha. I wanted to sign her for Heropanti, and I was taking my own sweet time to get the script right. By then, she had signed Aashiqui 2 (2013). When I got the idea for Baaghi, I shared it with her. She liked it, and asked when she could hear the script. So, I decided to take a leap of faith and reached out to her.
Tiger, while you enjoy doing action films, do you worry that your image will remain that of an action hero only?
Tiger: Only one film of mine has released, [but] I take it in a positive way that people are already typecasting me. It just means that I’ve made some sort of a mark. Initially, I used to ask myself, ‘How can I segregate myself from the rest [of the competition]?’ I want to create a certain identity, which I want to portray to the public. Once that’s established, I wouldn’t mind trying other things.
There is this constant debate on industry kids versus outsiders. Did you have it easier or was it tougher?
Shraddha: I feel so grateful that not once did my father make a call to anyone. Parents do a lot of things for their children, [but] it’s good to know that you’ve struggled on your own, and that the love and adulation you get is for your work. However, it doesn’t mean that my parents don’t support me. I always take my dad’s advice.
Tiger: My father, too, never made calls to anybody or suggested my name. But, I won’t lie. It is easier for a star kid to get noticed than for a person coming from a non-film background. That being said, I didn’t get my first movie because I was Jackie Shroff’s son. Being star kids, there are certain expectations to live up to. There’s a certain pressure from the public. And, if your film doesn’t work, it’s even worse. They look down on you even more, because they think that everything is handed to you on a silver platter. I deliberately try to carry a different perception of myself as opposed to my father’s. I respect my dad and his body of work, but I can’t give him credit for what I am today. As a person, I give my parents full credit; career-wise, no.
Shraddha, would you still audition for a role or would you expect the film to be offered to you directly now? Shraddha: I was not asked to audition for any role, Haider (2014) being the exception. Vishal sir (Bhardwaj; film-maker) asked me to, and when a director has a particular vision and requires an actor to audition to be convinced, I totally support that.
Sabbir, is there a lot of pressure on you to deliver a hit after Heropanti?
Sabbir: I don’t feel any kind of pressure. I never made myself a part of any rat race. I am okay on the Friday that my film releases, and I am okay watching someone else’s movie on the next Friday.
Shraddha: He is a happy person. Even on the sets, he was relaxed and calm. There are times when a director can get stressed, but hats off to him. Even if he was stressed, he didn’t show it once.