“Student of the Year 2 (SOTY 2) makes me feel more human. In this movie, I’m kind of stripped off my powers. If I’m punched, I’ll bleed. If I’m bullied, I’ll probably cry,” says actor Tiger Shroff lounging in a chair in Dharma Productions’ Andheri office. Ever since the 29-year-old made his debut with Heropanti (2014), he has earned the reputation of being an action hero. Movies that followed — Baaghi, A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael — further consolidated his reputation of “a tough guy”.
With SOTY 2, a teen romance and drama produced by Karan Johar, Shroff has pushed his boundaries at the cost of feeling “uncomfortable and alienated”. By his own admission, Shroff felt like “an outsider” on the sets even though he has been part of the industry for five years and is born into a film family. “This is so unlike any of the films I have done before. I know all about the 2012 Student of the Year (featuring Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra). I had big shoes to fill,” says Shroff. Eventually, he got a hang of his SOTY 2 character Rohan Sachdev. “After that, I started enjoying myself,” he says.
SOTY 2 has a completely new storyline even though the school (St Teresa’s) where the characters study, remains the same. While Tiger Shroff has five releases under his belt, his co-actors Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday are making their big screen debuts. “The girls are amazing. They don’t even come across as newcomers. They are so well prepared and focused that at times I have had to up my game on sets to keep up with them,” says Shroff, who is also known for his dance moves.
“When I joined the film industry, I was desperate to impress people and do the right thing. As a result, I often wasn’t at ease. SOTY 2 has taught me to loosen up a bit and be myself. I’m still anxious during action and dance sequences since I try to meet the audience expectations. However, I enjoyed shooting the scenes where I had to act as a normal student. I also loved the romantic scenes. My takeaway from the film is that I needn’t be uptight all the time.”
So, who is the real Tiger Shroff? “Someone who does not like doing film promotions and answering the same questions again and again. However, I know it is part of the job and I respect it,” he says. When he is not working on a movie, the actor enjoys watching superhero films, being at the gym, playing football or practising martial arts. “When I was four, I watched a Bruce Lee movie for the first time, I was fascinated. My parents enrolled me into a martial arts class. There has been no looking back,” says Shroff, who mentions that the Spiderman series featuring Tobey Maguire is among his favourites.
Shroff affirms that he will continue doing action movies. “As long as my legs do not give up on me,” he says. In his next movie, an action thriller produced by Yash Raj Films, Shroff will be seen alongside Hrithik Roshan. The SOTY 2 actor is thrilled. “I have always been a fan of Hrithik sir. It’s a privilege working with him. His work ethic, focus and determination are second to none,” says Shroff. Their yet-to-be titled movie is likely to release in October.