From crash landing on planet Earth to having rich, dead parents or being bitten by a radioactive spider, there are several ways to qualify as a superhero; unless you are Rajinikanth, of course!
From crash landing on planet Earth to having rich, dead parents or being bitten by a radioactive spider, there are several ways to qualify as a superhero; unless you are Rajinikanth, of course! But perhaps it’s fitting to say that superhero movies are one of the most inclusive genres of all. However, in our very own world of Hindi cinema where our 50-something actors still desire to play a college going kid, the genre that is dedicated to a vigilante who has our best interests at heart is reserved for only a select few. Making his entry into this universe a la The Flying Jatt, Tiger Shroff who is unlike most star kids — humble, quiet, well-mannered and disciplined — is all set, nervous and excited about playing the youngest desi vigilante. He talks about how he wants to see kids’ reactions more than anything else, encountering physical challenges while beating up baddies, his own personal favourite superhero and more.
“I am thankful to be among the lucky few who have gotten a chance to don a costume and battle baddies, in my case a 7 ft WWE wrestler Nathan Jones. It proved to be a transformative experience. Suddenly I became, as Christopher Reeves once said, the custodian of a character. You are charged with embodying an icon that — in some cases — will likely be there long after you are gone. This movie is essentially made keeping kids in mind, so I am anxious to see their reactions more than anything,” he says.
Since playing a superhero can be quite taxing, the makers also gave Tiger the option to opt for a body double, but the hard-working actor chose not to go for this option.
Explaining the difference between watching a superhero flick and enacting one, Tiger says, “When you watch a superhero movie, it is a completely different experience but when you sit down to enact the role, oh boy, I can’t even begin to describe what kind of hard work goes into it. I had to hang mid-air for so many hours, for so many stunts with the help of harnesses that it started to take a toll on my physical strength; it was quite taxing. But all in all, I enjoyed it. As a superhero fan myself, getting to wear a costume has been one of the most memorable, surreal times in my life. My inner child was dancing! I was able to fully immerse and lose myself in the character. It’s also probably given me greater courage and confidence to stretch myself in new directions as an actor,” beams the actor.
Having an apt costume is a key element and Tiger reveals that it was director Remo D’souza’s idea to incorporate elements from Nihang and Shaolin warriors to be put together for The Flying Jatt. “Costuming is a vital, visual part of the character. I always thought there was something anonymous about putting the suit on. When you’re wearing it, you’ve got no features. Okay, it’s a male. But other than being male there’s really nothing you know about him. So in this case, we wanted our superhero to have an ethnicity or a background or a personality, which can appeal to the Indian audience. Hence came the costume: the top half of the character is all about how the great Nihangs dress up and the bottom glorifies the history of warriors from Shaolin temples,” Tiger says.
Talking about his own favourite superheroes, Tiger goes on to reveal, “As a kid, I would watch Spider-Man without fail. Even though I had all the exposure to different sorts of superheroes, he remains my favourite.” Follow that up with a why and Tiger replies, “He is the most vulnerable and humane of all superheroes. He didn’t have things served him on a platter, he wasn’t a superhero by birth but accidentally became one. And it took him a lot of time and effort to be mentally and physically ready to accept who he was and what he really can do. I also love the fact that he was a normal teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence in addition to those of a costumed crime-fighter. His super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using wrist-mounted devices of his own invention, the ‘web-shooters’, and of course his ‘spider-sense’ still remain my favourites. You’ll see glimpses of him in this film. Beside him, my father has been my first superhero because of his humble background. And I always tell people that since my mother protected and sheltered me, she is like my Wonder Woman.”