Only one film old (Heropanti, 2014), Tiger Shroff has managed to establish himself as a hardcore action movie hero. The actor does all his stunts himself, under the guidance of action directors and stunt coordinators.
Proficient in parkour, Shroff's crew on his first film didn’t even use cables, harness or any special-effects to get the desired results at the actor's insistence.
Now, in an interview with Bombay Times published Monday, ahead of his upcoming release Baaghi, the actor opened up about why he doesn’t prefer using a body-double for action sequences.
He said, “It is unfair to use body doubles. If you want to use body doubles for your action scenes then you should also give them your roles, and let them be the hero. People say... 'Arre, you have to save your face,' but I also have to make some sacrifices to be a hero, right?”
He also added that using a body-double for action sequences and passing that off as something you’ve done yourself is dishonest and manipulative.
“I believe that if you want to do an action film then you must be completely honest to the part and train yourself for it," he said. "I don't like taking anybody else's credit. I have seen so many stuntmen and fighters whose lives aren't that glamorous or easy, but while shooting they dare to risk their lives. I want them to be noticed and get that respect. These stuntmen make us look like larger-than-life heroes."
It’s true that stuntmen in Bollywood don’t get half the credit, or recognition that they deserve and many times leading actors have even blatantly lied about performing a stunt on their own, when it was a body-double who risked his life for it, as was the case with Abhishek Bachchan in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan (2010) .
Tiger’s statement is partly justified and it's great that he's skilled enough to pull off his own stunts, but it is debatable as to how far an actor should go to risk his life — after all, a professional stunt performer is better-trained and more experienced to handle such risks, while an actor may have only a few months of practice. Also, if all the actors shun stuntmen, a number of skilled professionals stand the chance of risking the primary source through which they make a decent living.
The point here is to not to come across as heroic, but to give enough recognition to the person on whose skills you’ll be perceived as a death-defying daredevil, while they still exist only on the fringes.
Several actors who’ve done their own stunts have ended up with multiple injuries. Two years ago, Hrithik Roshan suffered a serious head-injury while filming for Siddharth Anand’s Bang Bang (2014), and had to undergo a complex surgery to fix the same. Or Shah Rukh Khan, who’s had multiple surgeries on his knee and back, after getting seriously injured while performing action scenes on several of his films. John Abraham, another actor who insists on doing his own action scenes, has also found himself nursing injuries after shooting for Force 2.
Predictably, Shroff's parents are paranoid about him doing his own stunts. “I think my dad is more paranoid about my action scenes. He has been there, done that, and he knows what goes into it. So, he doesn't want me to go through the same grind. Luckily, he is not there on the sets, or else I would just freeze,” Tiger told the paper.
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