MUMBAI — The two are upbeat, childhood buddies who have now co-starred for the second time after “Baaghi” (2015), When we meet at the Hotel Sun’N’Sand, it is an endless wait as the two give a series of television interviews. Time is at a premium as always, and Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor, the “Baaghi 3” pair again, settle for a joint chat.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: “Baaghi 3” was announced at ‘Baaghi 2’’s trailer launch. Is this the same script or was it modified after the response to “Baaghi 2?”
Tiger Shroff: We had just announced “Baaghi 3” because we—(producer) Sajid (Nadiadwala)-bhai, (director) Ahmed (Khan)-sir and I were so happy and confident with the outcome of “Baaghi 2”—there was no script then. We had no idea what we will make at that time.
Q: So is the announcement of “Heropanti 2” with all three of you now a similar thing, maybe superstition at work?
TS (Grins): Yes, I guess you can say that. It was good luck then, so we hope it’s the same thing now!
Q: Shraddha, how does it feel to return to the franchise after a gap?
Shraddha Kapoor: It is so incredible that so much time has flown. Having said that, I have never done such a character before and I had a blast. The energy and rhythm was so different from “Chhichhore” or “Street Dancer” and she is such a fiery girl with some interesting traits like she uses foul language! It took a couple of days to get used to that! I practised the cusswords as my character is supposed to have been speaking like that for ever (Note: The censors have since snipped most of them).
Q: Tiger, how was it working again with Shraddha?
TS: Oh, it was more fun that work. Our energies match and we even laugh at the stupidest things.
SK: Both Tiger and Riteish (Deshmukh) talk and joke non-stop! I had a blast!
Q: Shraddha, we heard that Ankita Lokhande (who plays Riteish’s wife), Riteish and you kept talking in Marathi and Tiger understands it but does not talk the language.
TS: I know just two words in Marathi, which I have heard from my father, and they are both not parliamentary words! (Laughs)
Q: We heard that you had a huge crush on Shraddha once. When did you first meet her?
TS (Looking at Shraddha): I still have a crush on her, so the word ‘had’ is incorrect! As our families are very close, we used to meet at parties and so on. We also went to the same school and she actually choreographed me on our Annual Day on the song “Ek Pal Ka Jeena” from “Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai.”
Q: How was your experience with Riteish?
TS: Initially, I was a little antsy and I thought, I can’t let this man down. Luckily he was so cool and down-to-earth and we did a few workshops and readings and we just flew when the shoots began. The chemistry organically happened and it’s a blessing really.
Q: Tiger, you were bare-chested in minus 7 degrees during some of the shooting. How did you manage that?
TS: I don’t know, sir! During the action, I did not feel it as much as my body was warm with all the action, but in-between shots it was torturous, as the stiffness and contractions of the muscles in that weather were quite painful.
Q: March 2nd is your birthday. Happy Birthday in advance, Tiger, and do you remember your most memorable birthdays in the last few years? Any special gifts you remember from your brother?
TS: The last four birthdays have been working birthdays and I think that is a blessing! My father keeps giving me plants, like the ‘tulsi’ (basil) and spider-plant, which are natural air-purifiers.
Q: Your father, many years ago, was confident you will never become an actor but a sportsman. How did the turnaround come?
A (Smiles): I was into football and basketball. After meeting Sajid-bhai, he saw something in me and convinced me to try acting. And so I thought, theek hai (okay), why not employ that same discipline and phsyciality in my hard work as an actor and see what happens.
Q: The action here is on a different level.
TS: Yes, I am fighting men, nature and machines like tanks. There is very little VFX, most of it is live and I thank Sajid-bhai and Ahmed-sir for the vision they had. And I am very lucky that my director is open to my ideas and would ask me for my inputs, which I would be very happy to give them without overstepping on his territory. This was only because I was very aware of my capabilities and where my body could go. For example, while fighting tanks, which we never have seen before, we were formulating the choreography, like how tanks turn and how close could I go. There was no chance for rehearsals as the government had given them to us for a few days only. So we had to judge by assessing the tanks’ height and so on, and we got lucky after a few takes.
And I don’t like gruesome blood-shedding action, but I prefer spectacle and something that kids would enjoy. I gain experience from superheroes like “Spider-Man.”
Q: Are you happy with your restricted image?
TS: Look, all the highest-grossing films worldwide are action films. I have never got a good review in my life, but the public opinion is always more important.
Q: Any new genres you would like to try out?
A: Musicals. But rght now, I am blessed to be doing what I am doing. It is very difficult to create an identity for yourself with so much talent and competition around, and whatever little I am today is because of the action genre.
Q: Shraddha, do you have any regrets in retrospect about doing any film now? It’s been 10 years since you started out.
SK: No, I don’t think I have any regrets. Every role is something I am proud of, irrespective of how I did it and how the film fared. After my first two films, I was fearing if my childhood dream of becoming an actor would come true, so I think every film is such a big opportunity and a big deal.
Q: And it’s been a while since we heard your voice in a song.
SK: I would love to sing more and I would like to believe I will do that again soon!