Something Western-based action fanatics quickly discover about Bollywood is that it’s a world unto itself. Checking out the best that Bollywood has to offer has been made a lot easier for natives of English-speaking nations, thanks to importing and the internet. However, it’s still a dive into a completely new culture with its own household names and A-listers, and one that inevitably finds time to break into at least one spectacular song-and-dance routine every time.
In his relatively fledgling Bollywood career, one star who’s swiftly rising to the top is Tiger Shroff – son of veteran Bollywood star Jackie Shroff, a charismatic physical specimen, and the default winner of every Brandon Lee-lookalike contest out there!
A fantastic dancer and genetically gifted with more than the normal human being’s fair share of fast-twitch muscle fibres, he’s also a legit 5th dan in Taekwondo. Tiger is also one of Bollywood’s most visible exponents of Kalaripayattu under the tutelage of famed guru Shifuji Shaurya Bhardwaj, who has praised Tiger’s tenacity and dedication.
Of course, watching Tiger spring into action in any of his previous movies’ action scenes, it’s not long before you’ll have reason to say “shabash!” (well done!) to the rising action star. This can only mean that it’s time for yet another globe-trotting KFK countdown. So dear readers, grab a samosa and brace yourself for an all-singing and dancing colourful blast of Bollywood action as here, in descending order follow the Top 5 Tiger Shroff Movie Fights!
- The Gym Fight — Heropanti (2014)
- Khalid vs Kabir — War (2019)
- Storming the Castle — Baaghi (2016)
- Battle Finale — Baaghi 2 (2018)
Tiger made his Bollywood debut (with the role of Bablu) in 2014’s “Heropanti”, a movie that’s more romantic-comedy than pulse-pounding adventure. Nevertheless, Tiger’s charisma is clear as day with his infectious, boyish grin and dazzling performances particularly in the obligatory dance numbers. And “Heropanti” had just enough in the way of martial arts action to let action fans know that he was indeed, the real deal.
The title of Tiger’s breakout hit “Baaghi” is, in some ways, more applicable to his character in “Heropanti”, as Bablu is even more full of himself and defiant of authority figures than his “Baaghi” main character (Ronny) ever was.
When he’s confronted by a gang of bruisers in a gym, Bablu is more showing off than defending himself, treating his leather jacket like an Indiana Jones’ whip and flip-flopping around the gym as he mops the floor with his opponents just because he can.
As if the lighthearted nature of the movie’s action scenes wasn’t already clear enough, the soundtrack is a curiously contagious rhythmic, upbeat whistle, which lays the groundwork for the movie’s main song-and-dance number. When it comes to martial arts action per se, “Heropanti” is decidedly a lightweight, but it set up Tiger Shroff for a delightful and surprisingly comedic intro, whilst also giving an eye-opening glimpse at his physical potential nevertheless.
The finale of “War” is at once a battle of allies and a showdown of the most sworn of enemies, and rest assured, there’s way more going on here than meets the eye.
However, what does meet the eye, even in isolation, is a splendid cap-off to one of 2019’s best action movies. Kabir and Khalid, played by Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, spend the movie oscillating between butting heads, to sharing a mentor-apprentice relationship, to being trusted allies and bitter foes. To reveal any more of why that is would be giving away extremely spoiler-filled plot points.
Like the Indian intelligence organization Kabir and Khalid serve, “War” operates on a need-to-know basis. If you haven’t seen the movie, all you need-to know is that a high-speed double-Audi R8 chase on the endless snow and ice of the Arctic (we’re sure Andy Armstrong, brother of stunt legend Vic Armstong and his renowned action stunt team had something to do with this as they worked on the film) leads right into their final, pulse-pounding face-off (pun intended).
If you haven’t seen “War”, get on it to see Tiger’s most physically and dramatically versatile performance to date, and for a taste of his chemistry with Hrithik Roshan, check out their epic song-and-dance number below!
Broken down to its bare essence, “Baaghi” is “The Karate Kid” meets “The Raid“, with the influence of the latter palpably felt in Ronny’s climactic battle up floor after floor to reach the villainous Raghav at the top.
As would later be the case in the third act of its sequel, the climax of “Baaghi” is less a singular fight sequence than an outright war. Not thirty seconds go by without Ronny encountering the next sentry guarding his vicious enemy, and Tiger pulls out every technique in the book to hold his own, including the Van Damme-patented helicopter kick that automatically earns any action movie extra points for inclusion alone.
Veteran stuntman Kazu Patrick Tang is the most singular standout of the whole set piece, and his one-on-one with Tiger caps the penultimate battle of “Baaghi” off fantastically. However, “Baaghi” cemented Tiger Shroff’s rise to action movie stardom with a blitz of literal non-stop action as the appetizer to its final showdown with one of the Kalari guru’s best students.
The title may translate to “Rebel”, but our hero in “Baaghi 2” is as disciplined a super-soldier as they come. While its predecessor had more of a centralized villain with individual henchmen, the finale of “Baaghi 2” is effectively a one-man war. Ronny more-or-less leaves a tiny sliver of India a pile of smoking rubble in a third act battle that’s essentially the entire “Rambo” franchise condensed into about twenty minutes.
That, of course, also makes “Baaghi 2” both a warm-up act and a slice of delicious irony, given Tiger Shroff’s involvement in the forthcoming Bollywood take on “Rambo”. At one point, Ronny literally leaps out of a lake like Aquaman to land a flying punch on one foe, while at the next, backflips while unloading round after round from his sidearms.
You certainly get your Kalari and ballistic money’s worth throughout the running time of “Baaghi 2”, but the gloriously explosive finale packs the punch four times over.
…and in at #1 is…
Ronny vs Raghav — Baaghi
Tiger Shroff may have made his debut with “Heropanti”, but “Baaghi” was where he really got to show off the full breadth of his charisma and physical ability.
Coming under the wing of Guruswami as a cocky, undisciplined youth, Ronny in time, becomes a genuine guru of the art of Kalaripayattu under his tutelage. However, his skills are put to the test against another one-time student of Guruswami, Raghav, played by Sudheer Babu.
The lithe and agile Ronny may have left an entire building full of henchmen writhing in pain by his own fists of fury, but the bulkier and more merciless Raghav proves a real challenge when the two finally face off one-on-one.
It’s truly a triumphant turn of events when Ronny defiantly declares “I’m just getting started” as he takes a standing split, instantly launching into a jump spinning-kick and crane-beak attacks his opponent’s vital points immediately after.
Even the dash of wire-fu added to the finale here feels like a natural byproduct of Ronny’s training, and the fire-laden surroundings of our two combatants adds an aura of furious intensity to their final showdown.
With “Baaghi”, Tiger Shroff was clearly on the rise in Bollywood – somebody make that team-up with Vidyut Jammwal happen sooner rather than later please – just imagine what could happen with two big, wild action cats in the kitchen!