10 Years of Tiger Shroff
10 Years of Tiger Shroff(Photo Credit –Instagram)

His debut film, Heropanti, was released on May 23, 2014, and was an instant hit. Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala, it featured Tiger Shroff as a rebel hero, much like his father, Jackie Shroff, in his lead debut, Hero, in 1983. His co-star was the redoubtable Kriti Sanon, who dazzled despite a ‘secondary’ role in terms of priority.

The similarities went on to go much beyond the similar titles. The conflict between Tiger and the heroine’s father, played by Prakash Raj, reminded us of Jackie Shroff versus Shammi Kapoor in the Subhash Ghai blockbuster, except that the father here is not a cop, but someone who takes the law into his own hands. And it is the hero who is held captive here, not the heroine. Of course, the famous flute riff from the original film was used again, both as the dance song “Whistle Baja” and in the background score.

A full-on masala movie, Heropanti’s success was celebrated with a party, where Jackie Shroff received many praises for his promising son with moist-eyes. After all, he was progeny from a generation of heroes who had started out in the 1980s, and some other heroes’ children had floundered. After this film, expectations soared high, and his next release, also with Nadiadwala, was Baaghi (2016), a story set with Martial Arts as the background. This film was also a hit, and set off a franchise. With this film, Tiger acquired an action star tag.

However, gradually, it was this image that began to limit him. A Flying Jatt, featuring Tiger as a superhero, was an unqualified disaster, as was Munna Michael, directed by Sabbir Khan, who had directed Heropanti from then Teleugu original, Parugu. Yes, Tiger’s general fitness freak image and his action avatar had by now
Baaghi 2, which followed next, however, won him his entry into the 100 crore club, and was an orgy of action officially remade from another Telugu film, Kshanam. It obviously had nothing in common with the first film, other than its franchise-owning producer.

Tiger went in for a fresh sportsman image next in Student of the Year 2 but was not really successful. And then came his first film with another big hero—his self-declared icon, Hrithik Roshan, in War. With these two films, Tiger made (as of now) a one-off entry into two of the biggest banners in showbiz—Dharma Productions and Yash Raj Films. The latter movie also featured him in his first dual role and swept past the 300 crore mark.

In all these years, Tiger had been moonlighting as well. Having declared Michael Jackson as his biggest idol, he not only came up with a tribute video to him, but also gave us many other music videos, including as a singer! These helped his fans grow, along with his fitness freak image being massively projected all along.

Just before lockdown began, his Baaghi 3 hit the screen, and did reasonably good business despite being a below-par product. However, though Tiger went without any release in that period, he has now had a trio of disasters in the last three years—the purported sequel to his first film, Heropanti 2, in which his character was again called Bablu, Ganapath and (with Akshay Kumar) Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Action festivals all, they all showed his Biff!-Pow!-Bang! skills but never did anything for his market standing.

Today, Tiger is another member of the ensemble cast of Rohit Shetty’s Singham Again, and while this Rohit Shetty film is also likely to be a blockbuster, it may merely renew the same mileage—as an action star—and nothing more. If Tiger has to stay the course (his father Jackie Shroff, now in the 42nd year of his illustrious career, has done it all from action and emotions to comedy and villainy, has had an array of chartbusters and had even kissed a record number of actresses!) Tiger needs serious reinvention.

And that, automatically, means a visionary director who can mould him into a more ‘comprehensive’ (read wholesome) on-screen image. Of course, as Tiger enters his second decade, he cannot afford to be complacent either!

A Tiger cannot afford not to roar.

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