May 23, is your tryst with fate. A date (which, according to ‘industry waiting standards’), will make or break you. The first Friday is always a stress-filled one. HEROPANTI, your debut film, releases and obviously, you will be all nervous as to what to expect from the audience and how you will be accepted by them.
As far as the industry goes, being one of them (as Jackie Shroff’s son) the red carpet is already out for you and you will have umpteen opportunities even if you fail in your debut film. There is no doubt about that. If not Sajid (Nadiadwala), there will be Aamir Khan, or Salman Khan or even Shah Rukh Khan. That is the goodwill of your father. You are reaping what he has sown.
I too, am looking forward to this film with earnest expectations because I know you are made of sterner stuff. I also know that you are slated for super success. I also want you desperately to succeed… for your father’s sake.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no fortune-teller. I speak from experience as one who has watched the industry closely for over three decades. And you Tiger (Jai Hemant) Shroff are going to take the industry by storm.
In 1981, Kumar Gaurav stormed the scene with LOVE STORY. The girls (read fans) who fell in love with him (most of who are now happy mothers) still speak glowingly of Bunty. Though Hrithik Roshan became a rage 19 years later, Bunty’s acceptance is unparalleled even today.
In 1983, your dad, Jackie Shroff, came on the scene with HERO. He was hailed as the next Amitabh Bachchan, and rightly so. His performance was terrific and soon he captured the imagination of the audience. But what he did thereafter was no compliment to his capability or his talent. According to me (I have been a huge fan of his); he never performed to his potential.
Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor were always a benchmark to me whenever I had to make a comparison of fitness or longevity. I would often tell my friends, ”Look at Anil Kapoor, he is 40 and how fabulously fit he is and how he carries himself.” On the other hand, Jackie at the same age looked old and tired. Even today, Anil, way into his fifties, is a benchmark for all Bollywood actors; fitness as well as talent wise.
You have it in you to surpass your dad, to live out his dreams and to be a quality performer in Bollywood. Your dedication can be seen in your fitness levels and the karate and gymnastics clippings, which one can see online.
Bollywood needs real action heroes, not cable stunts. Doing an action scene is no walk in the park; it takes a lot of doing.
Going by the reaction from the audience to Vidyut Jamwal’s action scenes and intense performances, I am sure you too will be welcomed with open arms by the aam junta.
We need newer stars as the old brigade is fading away. You along with Varun Dhawan and Shiv Darshan (both of who have a lineage in the industry) and Vidyut have to carry the torch.
But more than anything; you have to ensure that you surpass your Dad’s dream for you of what he had dreamt for himself. GRAHAN, may have bogged him down. But then life is a cycle, you have to be mentally tough to survive the not so good times.
Here’s to the next 25 years; be the Tiger your Dad wants you to be… the Tiger he could not be on screen!
God Bless You
(This weekly column tries to be as honest as honest can be…)