Tiger Shroff
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I was a blank sheet of paper: Tiger Shroff

Tiger Shroff shoots exclusively for HT Café, as we get him talking about his upcoming Bollywood debut this year, on competition, and having “big shoes to fill”.

He is all of 21, and looking to make it big in Bollywood. According to some, he’s also one of the most promising newcomers in Bollywood. Here, he talks about the pressure of being a star kid (he’s Jackie Shroff’s son), on nerves and excitement.

Your parents, Jackie and Ayesha Shroff, must be eagerly looking forward to your debut.
Of course. And it’s their eagerness that drives me to work harder every day. The best feeling in the world for me is when my parents say they are proud of me; I just want to give them all the happiness that they deserve.

How excited or nervous are you personally about your debut film, Heropanti, that releases in May this year?
I’m excited because I’ve worked hard for this film, and I’m anxious to see the final product of all our hard work. I’m nervous because I have big shoes to fill (because of comparisons with his father). But I think it’s only natural to feel that way as it's my first film.

How has your process of turning actor been?
It’s been long and educating. I owe a lot of this to Sajid (Nadiadwala; producer) sir and Sabbir (Khan; director) sir. I was a blank sheet of paper before this film. Honestly, I didn’t think I had it in me, but I guess they both must have seen something in me.

Tell us more about the learning process.
My grooming consisted firstly of understanding cinema as a medium. Sabbir sir would have
endless conversations with me, over months, about movies and the craft; he made me unlearn preconceived notions and just focus and absorb my character. He told me right in the beginning that he was in no rush, and that we would start shooting only when I’d become the character I was to enact.

You are being pitched as a contender for the ‘next big thing’ tag in Bollywood. Does that add to the pressure?
I feel privileged and honoured to be pitched that way. However, I don’t really think about that or want to stress over it. I just believe in hard work.

Do you think about competition from other newcomers, like Sooraj Pancholi and Armaan Jain?
I think my competition is more than just from all the newcomers who are debuting in 2014. I’d like to compete with all generations; that way I’ll push myself harder.

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