Long before Tiger Shroff’s debut film Heropanti was released, jokes about him had gone viral on several social networking websites. Twitterati found its new target in Bollywood and Twitter had been overflowing with jokes on the actor. While some took a dig at Tiger’s looks, others played on his name. One of the widely popular jokes was the one where he was called the male version of actor Kareena Kapoor Khan. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, the actor talks about the jokes, his appearance and why he idolises Hrithik Roshan.
At home, is there anything you and your dad disagree on?
Yes, food. He’s vegetarian and I’m non-vegetarian. He doesn’t like me eating non-vegetarian food in front of him. I follow a certain diet and he doesn’t approve of it. He likes his dal-chawal and dal-makhani.
You seem super-focused about your diet. Do you ever let your hair down?
Yes, I’m hard on myself... On regular days, I eat only boiled, steamed and bland food. But I let my hair down once a week, which is when I gorge on everything, from pasta and pizza to chocolate and ice-cream.
Your father said that you should emulate Shahrukh Khan. Is that something you’re trying to do?
I have a lot of respect for Shahrukh sir; he’s accomplished so much in his life. But my blueprint is Hrithik Roshan; I want to be like him. He is a complete package; you see him, and you know that you’re looking at a star. I can relate to him: he started off as an underdog; he was told he’s too skinny to do action sequences. But with Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, he had the most amazing launch.
Your father and Anil Kapoor were contemporaries. Next year, his son, Harshvardhan, will be making his Bollywood debut. Do you see him as a friend or competition?
We’ve known each other since childhood. I haven’t seen his work, I’ve just seen the pictures he’s uploaded on the net and those are damn nice. Since Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is going to launch him, I can’t wait to see the film. As for competition, everybody is my competition; my father is also my competition.
An online joke, which compares you to Kareena, seems to have gone viral. Have you seen it?
Yes, I’ve seen it. It was quite funny. I take it as a compliment to be compared to a woman as pretty as Kareena Kapoor Khan. She’s so beautiful and at the end of the day, beauty is beauty.
It seems you can take a joke on yourself?
You can take it the way you want to. I can sit and sulk all day, wondering why people are doing this to me. Yes, people have been making fun of my name and of how I look, but the good thing is that everyone is noticing me; it shows that I’ve made an impression. If they weren’t [talking about me], then it would be a problem.
Do comments about your looks bother you, since appearance is key to an actor’s career?
I always knew that I’m not the typical Indian-looking boy. I used to fear that people wouldn’t accept me because of my appearance. But after the film’s release, I feel I have got more [positive response] than I deserved.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2014.
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