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Tiger Shroff’s first director Sabbir Khan on how he found an action star in the actor, reveals how Baaghi was born

From finely chiselled six-pack abs to smooth synchronised action choreography, Tiger Shroff is the new-age action hero of Bollywood.

From the time he debuted with Heropanti to his more recent appearance in War, Tiger Shroff has proved his versatility with every outing. Contrary to what cynics might think, the actor’s ever-increasing fanbase is proof of his enduring popularity. On Tiger Shroff’s 31st birthday, Sabbir Khan who directed him in films like Heropanti, Baaghi and Munna Michael tells indianexpress.com what makes the actor one of the best on-screen action heroes today, and how he discovered his action potential.

In 2014, Tiger along with along with Kriti Sanon entered Bollywood with Sabbir’s Heropanti. This was followed with two more actions flicks, Baaghi (2016) and Munna Micheal (2017). Sabbir reminisces on the journey, “Munna Michael was basically a dance film, we didn’t want to make one more action film because we had already done two action films together. However, whatever small action sequences were scattered in the film, got more positive reviews than the film itself.”

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A post shared by Sabbir Khan (@sabbir24x7)

He continued commending the actor on his skills. “He is definitely the best action hero we have, considering how much younger he is compared to his contemporaries who are doing action. And what makes him really the best is that action is inherent to him, he doesn’t do it for the screen. What you see on the screen, is him! The skills he showcases on screen are actually his personal skills– he is a fantastic gymnast, he has a great body and he is always willing to go the extra mile. It comes from inside, he is a natural when it comes to doing action sequences.”

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A post shared by Sabbir Khan (@sabbir24x7)

On directing Tiger in his debut film Heropanti, that was bankrolled by Sajid Nadiadwala, Sabbir says, “What happened is, because he did his first film with me, I spent a lot of time doing workshops with him, and took the time to understand him as a person. The more I figured how he is as a person, the more I ingrained his traits in the screenplay and shot around it. For example Heropanti is a romantic film, but that also got lauded for its action, even when it has only 6-7 minutes of action.”

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A post shared by Sabbir Khan (@sabbir24x7)

Sabbir took time to understand what Tiger had to offer, but once he figured what he had discovered, he did not hold back from polishing Tiger’s action skills. “I didn’t know his full potential in action when we did Heropanti. But, one day on set, when we were shooting the action patches, I realised how good he was. I promised him that I will do a full-fledged action film with him, and that’s how Baaghi happened. Today when I see the franchise being so successful, I feel proud of Tiger.”

“Tiger is an action director’s delight! when the director thinks of something fantastic, here is an actor who wants to give his all and try and achieve that. He is not someone who’d say ‘this is tough, I can’t do it, let’s find a body-double, or find around it,” Sabbir shares.

Tiger has been around for some time now, eight years to be specific. Has the actor changed in anyway? Sabbir feels he has and only for the better,”A lot of confidence and understanding of cinema.”

He continued, “When we were doing the first film, he wouldn’t understand the synergy between what we could do and what cinema is, what captures a certain skill of his. By continuously doing what he is good at, he has gained a lot of confidence and he understands his craft. He now understands how much is required and how to give just that much. Earlier, if there was a shot where he just needed to give a kick, he would do it 100 per cent and maybe only 20 per cent was needed. He didn’t have to do that much, but now I see that change. He is well-versed with his craft. He is not the raw star-kid who wanted to be part of film. He now owns the space and well, deserves it.”

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