A year before his first film hit the screen, actor Tiger Shroff was already a much talked about newcomer. As his photos were all over the place, it struck the friends of David Saharia, from Assam, that the latter had an uncanny resemblance to the soon-to-debut Bollywood actor. They suggested David grow his hair, to accentuate the similarity with Tiger. And now, five years down the line, David, 22, is a dead ringer for how Tiger, 28, looked before he cut his hair for this year’s blockbuster Baaghi 2. The same-same photos are out on social media, and David, who’s now also an actor — in Assamese cinema — is an overnight Internet sensation.
David, whose face and physique both are remarkably like that of Tiger, says that he has been flooded with calls from friends, relatives and the media after his pictures on Instagram and Facebook caught everyone’s attention. “Bas, sab public ki dua hai,” he smiles. He adds, “It’s a great feeling to be appreciated and being compared to such a popular personality.”
So how did it all start? “In 2013, some of my close friends told me, ‘You have a body and face cut like Tiger Shroff, so why don’t you grow your hair, too!’ Then Heropanti (2014) came and later Baaghi (2016), and by the time I had long hair, I started to resemble him a lot and was getting a lot of compliments,” recalls David. The Assamese actor adds that he might look like Tiger, but he has “never tried to copy” the Bollywood star, and he has “really worked hard” on his body.
Asked about the coolest compliment he has received, David blushes and says, “It’s very hard to choose one. Roz kuchh na kuchh naya bolte hain log (every day, people say something new). What fascinates me the most is when people call me ‘Tiger sir’ — then I just don’t know what to say.”
As is usual with anyone who closely resembles a film star, David has been invited to events as a special guest, but he turned them all down. “I often get called for these shows, modelling events etc, but I want to go there as me and don’t want to carry someone else’s identity. Also, I never thought that I’d be a part of this industry. I was busy with sports and fitness. But later, I thought if life is giving me an opportunity, I must take it,” explains the actor, who is currently shooting for an Assamese film.
David does get mobbed — as Tiger! He says, “Woh toh bahut hota hai, jahan bhi jaata hoon (it happens often, wherever I go), especially at airports. Some people would know that I’m no Tiger, but they still insist on taking a selfie with me.”
Calling it unfortunate that he has not met Tiger in person yet, David hopes that the actor is reading this interview. (We reached out to Tiger for a comment on David before publishing the interview, but our effort was not met with a response.) “I’ve seen all his films. Baaghi is my favourite. I love his acting and stunts. Most of all, his fitness really inspires me. As a person, he looks very humble and whenever we see him go out at some event, there is no attitude that ‘I’m such a big star,’” beams David, who himself is a certified fitness expert.
“Academics mein itna interest nahi tha (didn’t have a lot of interest in academics). Fitness was always my passion. I’m planning to take up higher studies in sports science, since I’ve been an athlete and played volleyball and football at the state and national levels,” adds the actor, who’s a self-professed Lionel Messi fan.
Born in Guwahati, David did his schooling and graduation in Ambala Cantt, as his father, who works in the Indian Air Force, was posted there. The only child of his parents — his mother is a nurse — David says that they get very excited when people refer to him as “local Tiger Shroff” in Assam. “Parents are also like kids. Besides feeling proud for me, they always tell me, ‘If everyone is talking about you, then you definitely deserve it,’” laughs David.
He was nowhere close to the field of entertainment, and started modelling only six months ago. “I participated in the Mr and Mrs India pageant in Agra and was among the finalists from the North-East and was named Mr Popular, too. Soon after, I got a movie offer and currently I’m working in the Assamese film industry,” he says.
Now that showbiz has got him, David doesn’t rule out the possibility of doing some Bollywood films as well. “If life gives me a chance, of course I’ll take it,” he signs off.
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