So Tiger, have you started throwing your weight around?
God Forbid, Sir. I hope that never happens. I’ll never forgive myself. More than me, my parents would be ashamed. I’d never forgive myself if I ever shame them.
Your parents are ecstatic over Baaghi 2…
No one expected it to be big. I mean, come on Sir, there is no Salman Khan in the film. My producer Sajid Nadiadwala is in a daze. He told me has never seen anything like this in his entire career as a producer. I can only thank him and my good fortune for relieving me of the tension I was going through.
It was a tough time for you, wasn’t it?
Very tough. After my debut in Heropanti I was trolled mercilessly. It affected my parents. That’s why it affected me. Otherwise I wouldn’t have cared so much about what people said. But I knew my parents were hurt. My greatest vindication after the success of Baaghi 2 is to see my parents smile. My father is not demonstrative by nature. But he hugged my mother and said he is proud of me. That wiped away all the humiliation and pain of rejection that I went through.
How different does it feel to be a 100-crore hero?
To me personally it feels no different. Except the dynamics of my anxiety have changed. Earlier I was anxious to be success. Now I’ve to be bothered about my next 100-crore film. Luckily Student Of The Year 2 for which I’m shooting right now, and the film for Yash Raj with Hrithik Roshan are being talked about in the trade as solid follow-ups to Baaghi 2.
Are you excited about sharing screen space with Roshan?
And how! He’s been my childhood idol and inspiration. To be able to work with him so early in my career is a dream come true. We’ve lots of action scenes together, and apart.
They are calling you the next Salman Khan?
That’s really a bit too much. He is so senior and such a formidable star. I am only five films old. This kind of comparison is unfair. It’s like being compared with my father (actor Jackie Shroff). I made sure that I avoided that pitfall completely.
That’s why you avoided doing a remake of your father’s Hero?
With due respects to the remake, I didn’t want to compared with him. In Hero my father was a….full-on hero, larger-than-life the ultimate pinup boy. To compete with that would’ve been very foolish.
Your Baaghi 2 is a remake too?
Yes, of the Telugu film Kshanam. But we only took on the core idea and reworked everything else. I completely avoided seeing Kshanam because I didn’t want to end up mimicking Adivi Shesh in Kshanam who played the part in original. I think Baaghi 2 is a completely different beast from Kshanam.
Did you expect it to go this far?
No, never. We were all sure it would get an audience. But for a film with me in the lead to make over 70 crores in the first weekend and that too when there was no major holiday except Good Friday, was unimaginable. This Good Friday proved really good for me.
How has your life changed after Baaghi 2?
Nothing has changed. I am still following the same regimented lifestyle. Yeah. My hair is longer for Student Of The Year 2. And I am losing the bulky army man’s look in Baaghi 2 to look leaner lighter as a student. That apart I haven’t changed. But the people around me have changed. I can sense their new respect for my success. Not that anybody is falling at my feet or anything, ha ha.
Speaking of change media reports suggest that your Baaghi 2 co-star Disha Patani has changed, that she throws tantrums, etc. and that she embarrasses you?
That is so unfair to someone who is just two films old. Disha has not changed at all. She is a sweet unassuming girl with a good head on her shoulder. She’d be the last person to throw her weight around. Why are they talking like this about her? And why would it embarrass me? I am very proud of her.
When are you coming out in the open about your relationship with Disha?
Whatever we share professionally or personally is for us to share. Why do we need to talk about it in public? Jo hai so hai (whatever is there , is there).