Heropanti, released eight years ago, marked the debuts of both Tiger Shroff and Kriti Sanon, and was a reasonably good earner at the box office. This Friday, its sequel releases in theatres, and has Tiger returning, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tara Sutaria as the new additions to the cast. The Telegraph caught up with Tara — who made her debut opposite Tiger with Student of the Year 2 a few years ago — earlier this week for a chat on Heropanti 2, her time so far in the movies and why it’s important for her to let go.
Every Tiger Shroff film comes with a certain buzz. What is the audience looking forward to in Heropanti 2?
The general feedback that I have got so far is that people are excited about coming back to the cinemas. There have been some recent releases that have done superbly well, which is very exciting and encouraging for our film. I had a release in Tadap (co-starring Ahan Shetty) late last year, which also did quite well in theatres. There is a lot to look forward to in Heropanti 2, there are some elements which have perhaps not been seen in many Hindi films before. We have some great action and romance and Nawaz sir (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is playing the villain. There are some aspects to the film that set it apart from whatever has been released recently.
Also, this is a genre that our country doesn’t tire of easily. I think it’s nice to go to cinemas and watch a film like Heropanti 2 where you can have a laugh and enjoy the action and not really have to delve into the deepest, darkest corners of your mind. I think we have enough content in this film to ensure entertainment.
Are you also doing action in this film?
Not in this film. But in some projects that I can’t really talk about right now, there are some aspects of action that I will be doing. I will be announcing them soon.
Do you identify in any way with your character Inaaya in Heropanti 2?
I do look for some familiar aspects when I choose a part. I am someone who likes an element of familiarity in everything that I do and experience. And then there is a part of me that is excited by the unknown. Inaaya is quite contrary to how I am in life. She’s always talking, she’s crazily outspoken, she screams her head off in some scenes. I am not like that at all, but it was fun to play someone as vivacious as her. In a film like this, one goes in knowing it’s all about the entertainment, and not much else. Inaaya was a fun character to play, and I didn’t really have to stretch myself too much to be her.
You shot this film at the same time as Tadap, which had you playing a negative character. How enriching and exciting was it to play two diametrically opposite characters at the same time?
I like dark, intense characters. I also enjoy romance, and Tadap had a lot of both these elements. It was nice to play a part that wasn’t expected from me. But for some strange reason, when women play negative or grey, it’s still looked upon as something new. I haven’t figured why that is, but I hope to do many more roles like that.
Honestly, I don’t know why it shocks them when women play grey. Men have been doing that for so many years. It’s such an archaic way of thinking and the joy for an actor is to be able to play everything. Playing a damsel in distress is so typical, and frankly, so boring. I enjoy who I play in Heropanti 2 and I have Ek Villain Returns (with John Abraham, Arjun Kapoor and Disha Patani) coming out after that, which has me in a role that’s completely opposite to the one in Heropanti 2.
Tara Sutaria with Tiger Shroff during the promotion of Heropanti 2
But you would agree that female actors in Hindi films now have it much better than what it used to be even a few years ago?
One hundred per cent. It’s definitely opened up. For us young women in the industry — as well as the men — the sky is the limit. I can only speak for myself and I don’t want to just explore a little in terms of my roles, and then say that I have done my bit. I think there is so much to explore out there.
We have all been put into too many boxes for so, so long, and now we have streaming platforms and such fantastic writers and directors. It’s a completely new wave of cinema. I think all of us young actors need to be the change that we want to see. My next few (film) announcements will be different and may come as a bit of a shock, but then again, they shouldn’t be a shock, you know. We need to normalise everything, being accepted equally.
Everyone who works with Tiger Shroff has so much to tell in terms of how hardworking and dedicated he is. What’s your story?
I don’t think many people talk about his sense of humour. He’s a very normal, simple person. I admire his dedication and his willingness to constantly push the limits. As a person, I admire him even more. We get along very, very well. He’s very interesting, he has so much to offer in a conversation, he has a wicked sense of humour and I love that. It’s nice to have a good laugh with a colleague, especially in this business, and I get to do a lot of that with him.
A few years in the industry later, have you figured out a method to all the madness?
I think I am someone who has always had a plan. Because of how I have been raised and the fact that I have had such strong women personalities — my grandmother, mother and sister — in my life, I have always known that I have a lot more to give than what meets the eye. I have been a part of some commercial films, which I have really enjoyed. The plan for me has always been to play to my strengths and correct my weaknesses.
Singing and dance have been my strengths and I am using those skills in Ek Villain Returns. The plan is to always remain true to who I am and I think I have managed to do so pretty well till now. It’s not very easy to always do that in this business, especially when your support system isn’t a part of the industry. But so far, so good.
You just mentioned how singing and dance are your core strengths. You are highly trained in both. Will you look at exploring these skills a lot more in the future?
For sure. I actually recorded an album in London as a gift to myself on my 16th birthday. My plan definitely is to release music as soon as I get some time from the films that I am doing. I have acted and sung in Ek Villain Returns, and that’s something that I have also done in the past in theatre. It’s very different to do it on celluloid and I am very excited.
Your social media bio mentions the Italian word Attraversiamo, which roughly translates to, ‘Let’s cross over together, leave the past and pain behind’. How has this belief dictated your approach to both life and career?
The word has multiple meanings, and it’s up to you how you want to perceive it. For me, it means letting go, but also meeting people midway, understanding each other.... In this profession, as well as in life, it’s important for one to realise the need to let go what’s not in our control. I keep that in mind when I am acting, and also in my personal life... with my friends, family and in my relationship. It’s a word that means a lot to me.
You have a very distinctive sense of style. How would you describe it?
Great style means a lot to me, not just in terms of what I wear... I am also obsessed with interior decoration, and just style in general and observing people the world over... how they speak, how they dress, how they walk.... Style has always been an integral part of my life. I would describe my style as very classic, in my head I practically live in the ’50s and ’60s. Classic, minimalistic and lots and lots of whites!