Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

While he does some unexpected action on-screen and has created such a niche for himself in such a short span – off-screen Tiger Shroff continues to remain this soft, shy guy. Of course, he’s opened up a bit with time. But here he is, in track pants-hoodie kind of casual avatar in his vanity van; catching up on some calmness amidst all the promotional activities. We speak all about his latest release while he shares feelings on working with his childhood hero. Excerpts:

What are you feeling about the response to ‘War’
I’m just feeling a mixed bag of emotions – thankful for this journey. There were a lot of expectations which made us nervous but at the same time we were happy with the product we have.

What’s been the most satisfying part?
Every scene that I’ve had with Hrithik sir, those have come out like magic and the chemistry that I’ve had with him, I never had that chemistry with any heroine of mine (laughs).

How have you taken the action high with this film yet again because that’s always been your endeavour?
In this film it was challenging because I have this huge megastar in front of me. How do we define both our characters, distinguish our body language and give each other a different identity – was the challenge. For instance, if I was Batman, he had to be Superman. From the very beginning, Hrithik sir kept telling me that we should definitely contrast one another and at the same time complement one another. So, I thought, he was so bang on with that. Every action sequence and scene with him has worked so well because we were just being in our characters. When you see the ‘Avengers’ come and fight together, it is such a high. So similarly, I think, that was our reference point.

Do you think you’re finally living your dreams and fantasy of being this larger-than-life hero on-screen?
One of my dreams has really come true – working with my idol. After working with him I’ve realised that after so many years, this man is so driven, passionate and hungry. I can’t afford to pat myself on the back and say that I’ve achieved something because I haven’t. When I see his hunger even now, I am feeling so incomplete. I feel like I want to push myself harder. After ‘War’, how do I take ‘Baaghi 3’ higher and ‘Rambo’ higher. Look at him, he’s just done ‘Super 30’ and now he is at the opposite spectrum with ‘Super 30’. He is the same person but he is that and he is this. That’s amazing to see.

You’ve achieved immense stardom in a short span but do you feel that hero-worship doesn’t exist now the way it did earlier? For instance, people don’t just go to watch a film for their favourite actor.
I don’t feel that because I think there is a market for all kinds of actors, films and genres. The audiences are open and they’re smarter now. You can’t take them for a ride. If perhaps, the biggest stars of the country – the Khans; if their films don’t work then it just goes on to show that nowadays, people are unforgiving. Who am I to give them something that they wouldn’t appreciate. It’s our responsibility to give them a good show. We have to do it as honestly and sincerely as we can, not take advantage of it. We’ve got to respect them because whatever little we’ve achieved is because of them. I’ve been lucky because people see me in a certain light because I’m an action hero. They expect me to do stuff like that otherwise why would you go for a Tiger Shroff film. So, I’m very clear about my strengths and I want to play to my gallery. I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted by the masses and I want to give it back to them with ten folds because they’ve accepted me that way.

That’s about being an action star but how have you evolved and improved the way you emote on-screen?
I’m an actor who is very dependent on his director so I change according to the people, situations around me. I just go like I’m an open book. I don’t go to the set as if I know everything because I clearly don’t. for me, this is an endless opportunity to learn and I’m just getting started. For this film, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Hrithik. For me, it was like going to school and just watch him. It made me a better performer. Because he performed the way he did in front of me, it made me react better and I never thought I could even react that way. The credit goes all to him and my director SidharthAnand and Adi sir.

You’ve also opened up now a little…
Yes, I guess it’s because it’s been five years to me in the industry now. The repetition just sort of makes me a little comfortable.

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