Mumbai: Veteran actor Jackie Shroff, who was very restless to see how everyone would react to his son Tiger’s “heroic” entry in Bollywood with Heropanti, says he can sleep peacefully at last. He says he feels blessed to have a son like Tiger. “I am a lot more relaxed now. I wish more people had children like Tiger, who are so respectful towards their parents. The young generation should be like him, someone devoid of malice. I feel proud and happy that the industry has accepted him with open arms,” he says.
The actor feels that just because a newcomer belongs to a film family, people should not burden him or her with expectations. He adds that there is space for everyone in the industry and that the senior actors should accept the fact that the younger ones may replace them one day. Jackie points out that actors who are superstars today had to struggle their way to stardom. He says, “When Salman Khan was in the process of starting his career, I had taken his photos to show them to producers. Everyone needs to be given an opportunity. And they need to work hard and stick around. Newcomers will come into the industry and will eventually replace the biggest of stars. You cannot stop that from happening. Look at Alia Bhatt. I have seen her as a kid and now look how she has made a place for herself among the top actors of the industry in no time.”
While Jackie has always been known for being a charming ladies’ man, his son Tiger’s shy demeanour is a sharp contrast. Tiger has often spoken about how he feels scared and nervous about approaching the ladies as he fears rejection. Jackie sees no problem with that. He says, “I didn’t have a girlfriend till I was about 19 or 20. There is no hard and fast rule that one has to start dating by a certain age. If he wants to focus on work, that’s his decision.”
One wonders if his daughter Krishna is contemplating on following in her brother’s footsteps. “Not at the moment,” Jackie says. “She is producing a documentary based on the initiation of transgenders into the community. She has the talent and I have been telling her that she should consider making her film debut. But she says she isn’t ready for it yet. She wants to study film direction first,” he adds.
On the work front this year is a busy one for Jackie. Buzz is that he is doing a Hollywood film, among other things. Reportedly, the film is to be shot in the UK and Romania. Jackie says, “I am going through the script currently. I haven’t said ‘yes’ to it yet. For now I have Happy New Year, Zalim Dilli and Dirty Politics coming up. The veteran actor feels that industry has changed a lot over the decades. “There was a time we would arrive on the sets and wait for the dialogues to be written. Now we are given a bound script and a lot of time is invested in writing dialogues. The action sequences now are more believable. Special effects are more sophisticated now.”
Jackie and Ayesha’s marriage are one of the few rock solid ones in Bollywood that have survived the test of time, work pressure and incessant rumours. The actor says he has seen many divorces happen in his close circle of friends. “I have known my wife Ayesha for 37 years now. It takes time and patience for a relationship to survive. In my circle, I have six friends who have got divorced recently. Ayesha and I have our fights but we understand each other, at the end of the day. That’s important,” he says.