Indian actor Tiger Shroff is taking on a big challenge, stepping into the role of Rambo for an upcoming Hindi remake. The character was introduced in 1982’s First Blood, which of course starred Sylvester Stallone — and he recently encouraged the filmmakers in their task (see below). Siddharth Anand, who remade Fox’s Knight And Day as Bang Bang in 2014, is directing.

Shroff has a martial arts background and has been seen in such pics as Baaghi and Heropanti. I sat down with both he and Anand at the Cannes Film Festival to talk about the Rambo remake which follows the last surviving member of an elite covert unit of the Indian Armed forces who returns home to discover a war waging in his own land. Forced into the dangerous jungles and frozen mountains of the Himalayas, he unleashes mayhem and destruction, becoming the unstoppable machine he was trained to be.

Anand tells me that he actively sought the “expensive” rights to Rambo and took on the challenge because it’s “important to build a character in India that represents a true-blue action hero. This is something that has been missing from the Indian film scenario for the last 20-25 years. We’ve been making soft romantic films, some socially relevant films and some slice of life films. We’ve stayed away from true-blue pulp action films that we’ve grown up on.”

He says it’s an “honor” to be associated with the film and calls casting Shroff a “no-brainer.” He has “no competition in India in the genre he represents.”

Shroff demurs that Anand is “being too generous.” He pays tribute to Stallone’s “aura,” “persona” and “body language.” He has “made that character unique and so when I will portray Rambo I don’t want to take anything away from that. But at the same time, we want to give our own take. We don’t want to mimic it.”

Principal photography begins in February next year with a release eyed for late 2018. M! Capital Ventures, Original Entertainment, Impact Films and Siddharth Anand Pictures are co-producing Rambo with Daljit DJ Parmar, Samir Gupta, Hunt Lowry, Siddharth Anand, Saurabh Gupta and Gulzar Inder Chahal producing.