Jackie Shroff's tryst with Tamil films continues. The actor who will be seen in Kochadaiyaan, talks to Deepa Venkatraman about the special bond he shares with Rajinikanth, son Tiger’s debut and his plans for a film city in Ahmedabad
He became the heartthrob of Bollywood post Hero, the Subhash Ghai-directed flick which hit the screens in 1983. After being around for over three decades in the industry and acting in several super hits, Jackie Shroff made his Tamil debut with Aaranya Kaandam. Now he’s onto his next in Tamil, Kochadaiyaan, with none other than Superstar Rajinikanth. Excerpts from an interview with the actor:
Tell us how you landed the role in Kochadaiyaan.
The production team called me and I immediately agreed to be a part of the movie. There were no second thoughts. This is a highly technical movie, and I found that interesting. It is a great role and a great team to work with.
Are you playing the role of an antagonist?
Hmmm. You know much more than I do (laughs). But, I cannot reveal anything about the role.
You have earlier worked with Rajinikanth in Subhash Ghai’s Uttar Dakshin (1987). What was it like coming together again after a long gap?
It was great working with him. He even attended my wedding in 1987. We have kept in touch for the last 27 years. In fact, he recently met me in Mumbai when I was shooting and he had the same warmth and affection. We share a special bond.
How was Soundarya as a director?
Soundarya was superb. She has a flair for making films. Some of the shots were challenging, but she made it easy for me to follow.
Did you have to learn Tamil for the movie?
Yes, I had to remember the lines. I rehearsed them before delivering them.
So ungalukku konjam konjam Tamil pesa theriyuma?
Enakku Tamil romba nalla pesa theriyum. Vanakkam.
Kochadaiyaan is a 3D movie. Did anything interesting happen on the sets?
This was the first time I was doing something of this kind. For capturing the 3D, I had to wear a dress with a lot of points and wires that made me look like Spider-Man. Next to our set, shooting for the James Bond movie was under way. It was great to be around at that time.
You have worked in both Kollywood and Bollywood. Have you noticed any differences between the two?
No difference at all. Professionalism is the same everywhere. Both have the same pace, pressures and problems.
It’s said that your roles in your upcoming Bollywood release, Aurangzeb, and Kochadaiyaan have shades of grey.
I have played this kind of role for the first time in Aurangzeb; there is some negativity to the character. It’s so much fun playing negative roles.
How has your journey as an actor been?
From my first movie Swami Dada with the late Dev Anand to what I am currently doing, it’s been a wonderful journey by the grace of the Almighty. Earlier I was getting only one type of roles — the “good, happy hero.” But now I am in a position to play a variety of roles and I am enjoying it.
Is your unassuming personality the secret of your success?
Yes, my humble upbringing has helped me throughout. I owe it all to my mother. She advised me to always be down-to-earth, be of help to others and respectful.
Your son Tiger is debuting next year with Sajid Nadiadwala's Heropanti. How does it feel? Have you given him any acting tips?
I am grateful to God for what my son is today. Tiger has all along been observing me act. Besides, he trained for a couple of months before the shoot of the movie and worked on his script by himself. Now it is for the director and the technical crew to guide him on the sets.
Have you visited him on the sets?
No. I went alone for my first movie. I feel he should have his own identity.
Being a star son, has he imbibed your qualities?
Does it make a difference? He is a sportsperson who used to play serious basketball. So discipline is part of his personality.
How about your daughter, will she follow in her brother’s footsteps?
No, she wants to go to the other side of the industry. She is keen on production and direction.
We hear that you, along with Pandya, have plans to start a unique film city studio in Gujarat, comprising a theme park, club and resort.
I have been in the industry for so long and visited many film studios and film cities across the globe. I have a good idea of what goes into making a film city. The land is Pandya’s and I will get my share when it makes profits. So I am just designing the layout. It will be one-of-its-kind in India with a wax museum on the lines of Madame Tussauds, a Bollywood theme restaurant and other interesting features.