Once upon a time, in the early 1980s, Jackie Shroff was that handsome star who could make the traffic come to a halt with his sheer presence on the streets. More than three decades later, Jackie’s son Jai Hemant or ‘Tiger’ Shroff is writing a similar chapter in his family history.
Having debuted in Sabbir Khan’s Heropanti in 2014, the 29-year-old star is seven-films-old today. While the media frequently refers to Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Kartik Aaryan as the hottest male stars of present times, it is Tiger who is ideally placed to become ‘the’ megastar of the future. He may not be the most gifted actor, but his three USPs are his Greek God charm, outstanding dancing skills and the ability to set the big screen on fire in mind-blowing action sequences.
War, his last release helmed by Siddharth Anand, had faced criticism because of a weak screenplay. Pitted against megastar Hrithik Roshan, Tiger, playing a soldier assigned to track down his mentor who has gone rogue, delivered what was required of him to turn the action drama into a blockbuster. Marvellous in dance and action sequences, and not at all intimidated by his accomplished co-star, his performance explained why producer Aditya Chopra had invested in him for the ambitious big-budget actioner.
Tiger will be now seen in the Hindi remake of First Blood, the first film of the Rambo franchise, being helmed by Anand. Also, there is Baaghi 3, the third film in the Baaghi series, which is being directed by Ahmed Khan. His young devotees can expect to see fascinating action sequences in both these films. And, some delightfully smooth dance moves too.
The much-in-demand actor has journeyed a long way in a short time. When he had debuted in Heropanti five years earlier, most felt he had evident limitations as an actor. Baaghi (2016), an actioner also helmed by Sabbir Khan, followed. The film’s success suggested that Tiger was capable of becoming a major commercial hero. Even if he didn’t become the darling of the critics, his fan following seemed destined to multiply with time.
Directed by Remo D’Souza, A Flying Jatt (2016) in which he played a superhero underperformed at the box-office. Munna Michael (2017), another Sabbir Khan directorial, was a rank bad film in which the actor was unimpressive in the role of a Michael Jackson fan. The film tanked, which was swiftly followed by a view that the actor would need several miracles to become a leading star of his generation.
Baaghi 2 (2018), helmed by Ahmed Khan, followed. The film received mixed reviews with many critics trashing its half-baked screenplay. But it was a blockbuster with Tiger in the role of an army officer out to rescue his ex-girlfriend’s daughter casting a spell on his fans. He was, in short, back in the game again.
Student of the Year 2 (2019), the Punit Malhotra-directed sequel to Student of the Year, did not fetch good scores from critics either. A teen underdog film hinging on a character from a middle-class background played by Tiger, the film’s commercial success reminded everybody of his ability to make the cash counters sing.
War’s mammoth success has helped Tiger consolidate his position among the masses. Where will he go from where? Although predictions bite the dust often, the young actor should know that the sky is the limit.