Baaghi 2 star Tiger Shroff has carved out a niche in Bollywood as the go-to guy for action, dance movies
Ahead of the release of Baaghi 2, Firstpost analyses what makes Tiger Shroff a baaghi — focusing on his strengths (dance and action) while being aware of his weakness.
It is now common knowledge that the day Tiger Shroff was born, filmmaker Subhash Ghai had given a signing amount of Rs 21,000 to Jackie Shroff for Tiger’s debut film. It is a different matter that Tiger made his debut under a different production house but 28 years later, it can safely be said that Subhash Ghai was precise in his observation and must have had a premonition of Tiger becoming a future star.
In a span of just four years, he has carved out a space that is now successfully owned by him and might just be difficult for other stars of the current generation to penetrate. In a nutshell, he has owned the two most sought-after genres of Bollywood — dance and action — and has triumphantly demarcated his territory.
In the history of Indian cinema, that spans across more than 100 years, Tiger could be the first instance when an actor holds equal command over both the action and dance genre. It was only after the advent of Govinda that filmmakers realised that dance in cinema too could be a potent tool to lure audiences. While action in cinema has been there since time immemorial, there was nothing death-defying or heart-pulsating which could excite the audiences.
For a long time, action in Hindi cinema was synonymous with mass explosion at villain’s den and a few acrobatic movements with the help of safety wires. So while stars like Govinda, Mithun Chakraborty, Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor could entice audiences with their gyrations, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Sunny Deol managed to grab audiences’ eyeballs through their technique of beating the goons – none of which could pass the standards defined by superior Hollywood films. A semblance of amalgamation of both was witnessed with the arrival of Hrithik Roshan but the disparity between his dancing skills and action skills remains large. It was only with the advent of Tiger Shroff on the scene that both the genres got a certain amount of respectability, something that Indian audiences had been craving for long, especially those who were brought up on the fodder of western flicks.
In a span of four years, Tiger has four films under his belt and they all had action and dance at the core. Though none of his films managed to gain favorable star ratings from the critics’ community for his acting prowess, this never stopped people from flocking to cinema halls to witness his daring stunts and rhythmic movements. Out of the four films, barring the abject failure of A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael, the rest succeeded in hitting the bull’s eye at the box office. His histrionics at best could be dubbed as average, but through the sheer power of his dance and action skills, he has successfully managed to whitewash his shortcomings and build an identity of his own. This remains one territory which even the current superstars viz Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor and Varun Dhawan will find it extremely difficult to penetrate.
In other words, Tiger has successfully created a scenario where he has made himself indispensable for producers toying with the idea of making such films. It also says of his focused future goals and his awareness of his shortcomings and talents. “As far as I know of the industry, there is too much of competition and the new lot has come extremely prepared. Thinking about that, I always used to think about what makes me different and what are my plus points and how can I stand apart in a crowd,” is what Tiger had remarked during a press interaction while promoting Baaghi in 2016. Time and again, he keeps reminding scribes that he has gotten more than he deserves and is thankful that people notice him in some way or the other. The reference is surely to his acting caliber and not to other skills. It only proves that behind the well-mannered down-to-earth approach, there also lies a well-carved and designed strategy.
The actor, who fiercely guards his privacy and is rumoured to have trained Aamir Khan for Dhoom 3 action sequences, is himself a qualified martial artist. He made sure he mastered everything related to action for his debut film which included wall flips, leaps, front pike and 360-degree backward twist. The pre-production of Heropanti also included his training under the watchful eyes of a national level gymnast. With the passage of time, he has only worked and devoted time in honing his action and dancing skills. The surge in the level of action with each release only proves his determination of owning the genre. It is interesting to note here that the star devotes ample time to hone his skill sets but the same cannot be said about his acting talent. It seems that he is aware of the fact that limited performance is acceptable in Bollywood.
His upcoming selection of films also gives a peep and a rough idea about where exactly is Tiger headed. Needless to say his film with Hrithik Roshan for the Yash Raj Films banner will only aim to ensure that it becomes a benchmark film in the dance action genre. Rambo will only seal his established image further while the sequel to Student of The Year will only serve him a break and give him an opportunity to do what he prefers doing best in his spare time – shake a leg. Needless to say, it is all a calculative move to stamp and seal further an image that has already found acceptance with cine-goers and leave little for competition.
The fact that a major chunk of the actor’s interaction with the press is devoured by his own inputs on the action technique and dancing skills in his films, is also telling. Questions related to his performances are negligible and media too has come to term with the fact that here is an actor whose dancing and action skills supersede his acting caliber. And this also makes Tiger a cut above the rest. His intentions look very similar to what we witnessed decades back when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme, despite their limited acting talent, became superstars based solely on their action caliber. Tiger’s entry into the film industry is not by chance but more by design and we are not complaining.
Baaghi 2 stars Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpayee, Darshan Kumar, Deepak Dobriyal, Prateik Babbar and Randeep Hooda. It is co-produced by Fox Star Studios Hindi and Sajid Nadiadwala's Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment. It is slated to release this Friday on 30 March.
(Also read — Baaghi 2 music review: Regurgitation of classics, overdose of romance mar film's anti-establishment streak)
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