Jackie Shroff is extremely proud of his only son Tiger Shroff. Says “Tiger Shroff wants to buy back the old house for his mother Ayesha Shroff. They had to sell it when the family went bankrupt after the release of Boom. True to his word, Tiger has bought an 8-bedroom house in Mumbai’s Khar, which he says is for his parents. Talking about his aspirations, Tiger says, “My parents have given me the best childhood and this is my small way of giving something back. My mother (Ayesha Shroff) always wanted a house in her name, so I bought this for her and my Dad too. My dreams are her dreams, and I am focused on my work, being successful in my career, and sustaining it. She is my motivation, my inspiration. I push myself so hard to make her happy, proud, and secure”
The fond and proud father adds that the real name of Tiger is Jai Hemant Shroff but he named him Tiger after his habit of biting like a tiger when he was young. Jackie speaks unflinchingly about the difficult times their family had faced due to the financial losses that came with the film Boom. “I knew that we tried something and we lost something. If I had to pay for it, I’d pay. I had worked as much as I could and we repaid everybody so that my family’s name gets clear. Business mein up down hota hi hai, yeh zaroori nahi hai ki hum hamesha upar hi rahenge. Kabhi upar niche hota hai, but you need to know how to keep your sanity and ethics.”
Jackie adds that he and his wife Ayesha Shroff ensured that Tiger and Krishna remained insulated and both were quite small at that time. The family had to sell their house, which son Tiger Shroff wanted to buy back after he made it big in Bollywood. “I’m just proud of both my children. They are strong enough to get the house back; my wife didn’t want it back. She said, ‘Let it be, what’s gone is gone’. But his thought is nice as well as beautiful that he wants to make a house for his mother and his family,” Jackie beams with pride.
Jackie signs off. “At the age of 25, my son Tiger started dating Disha Patani. They’re good friends. But I have no idea what they’ve decided for their future. My son, I see, is more focused on his work, more than anything else. It’s his first love. No one can come between, not me, his sister, girlfriend or mother.”
How do you look back at your career stretching almost four decades?
I have acted till date in over 220 films right from the time I had made my debut as almost an extra with Devsaab’s Swami Dada in which I played the sidekick to Shakti Kapoor. I am happy and proud to state that I have given a maximum number of solo hits out of the 180 and odd films that I have acted in till date.
What is your approach as an actor?
I go to the sets even today as a blank paper. I make it a point to do exactly what the director wants me to do and how the cinematographer wants me to move.
Can you evaluate your growth as an actor?
For a person who was standing behind Shakti Kapoor in Swami Dada, I think I have no reason to complain as far as my growth as an actor is concerned in Bollywood today. As an actor, I have never been insecure at all.
Were you skeptical about taking up the offer to play Chunibhai when Sanjay Leela Bhansali offered the role to you?
I grabbed the role of Chunibhai in Devdas when Sanjay Leela Bhansali offered it to me even when I came to know that ten other actors including Govinda had actually declined to do the role. I have no fear about competition because I do not think any actor is my competitor. I am my own competitor. If the character of Chunibhai were taken out of the film, Devdas, the character of Devdas would have fallen.
Why did you take up an insignificant role in Fool & Final?.
My role in Fool & Final was small but I enjoyed doing it. It was a different cameo role of a comedy killer, unlike in Mission Kashmir. I did it because I have known Ahmed Khan since the time he was a child actor in Mr India along with Aftab Shivdasani. Ahmed was also in Gang, as a dancer. I have played a gangster in quite a number of films of mine. Parinda was a cult film on gangsters. In Apna Sapna Money Money I played the role of a light gangster.
Tell me about your a bad phase as a producer!
As a producer, I know that my films have not struck gold at the box office, including Boom with which my wife Ayesha introduced Katrina Kaif. Yet I have not given up hope. My film Sandhya directed by my friend Shashilal Nair is yet to be released but I plan to make a children’s film, because I feel that is the need of the hour especially in India where we do not make films keeping in mind the children.
Do you not plan to initiate your son Tiger too into acting?
I had no ambition or desire as far as life or career was concerned. I entered the field of acting because my dad had told me to take up acting. Whatever Tiger has made in films he has made it on his own steam without any help from me. I am proud of it. I did not know initially before Sajidbhai offered to cast him in his film Heropanti what my son Tiger planned to do in life. Tiger was into rugged games like basketball and football. Thankfully, he looks like my wife.
Subhash Ghai did not cast you in some of his films like Iqbal and Good Boy Bad Boy!
I respect my mentor Subhashji. How can I ever forget the fact that he had taken a big risk to launch a sidey actor like me after Swami Dada was released and cast me in the title role in his film Hero though everyone else scoffed at him and told him that he was committing hara-kiri? I will be there whenever he asks me to work in any film of his, in any kind of role, even a walk- on role. I do not grudge it if he does not cast me in every film that is producing or directing. It is his decision.
Is it true that you are running an orphanage in Pune?
I am very fond of kids, I do not run any orphanage in Pune.I have offered to help a couple in Pune who are managing around 30 orphan kids out of their meager earnings from Provident Fund. I am trying to provide ration as well as medical help to the kids. I am also planning to get a bigger land to house the kids and provide for their education. I have my own set of friends in the industry like Dimple, Amrita Singh and Danny who believe in charity. However I do not ask anyone for help in the industry because apne mein itna taqat hai
How do you feel when people refer to you as a sexy guy?
I do not mind being referred to as a sexy guy. I have always been sexy. Even Sexy Sam came later with Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Today I do not indulge in any kind of vice. I stopped smoking cigarettes almost twenty years ago. I do not touch liquor too nowadays
Is it true that you do not watch films at all?
I do not watch films at all. For the last few years, I do not watch even my own films, though I like films like Lion King, Spider-Man, and Super Man.