At the heart of its story, Salman Khan’s Bharat has a strong father-son track. Director Ali Abbas Zafar zeroed in on Jackie Shroff for the part as he believed the actor would bring the required gravitas to the role. Though Shroff, 62, may be barely nine years older than the superstar, he insists he had no qualms playing father to Khan.
“I am aware that the age gap is only 10 years. We started our careers almost around the same time, but I don’t have any problem playing his father. I have always treated Salman like my bachcha. Even today, he is like a kid to me,” says Shroff, who has worked with him in several films, including Veer (2010) and Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye (2000).
His fondness for Khan is evident as he reveals that the latter would look up to him as a style idol. “I remember, [in our early days], he would admire my jeans and shoes.” One to choose roles basis their merit, the actor points out that he did not shy away from playing senior characters even two decades ago.
“I played Kareena Kapoor’s father in Yaadein in 2001, and a few years back, I did it with Aamir [Khan] in Dhoom 3 (2013). If the character is good and I am convinced about it, other factors don’t matter to me,” he asserts.
Point in case being his next outing, Romeo Akbar Walter, which sees him play a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent. Prod him if his role is modelled on the first R&AW chief RN Rao, and he says, “All I can say is that I am proud of playing this character who is the father of the intelligence agency in India.”