Nicknamed Jagga, Shroff was born Jai Kishan Kakubhai Shroff on the first day of February 1957 into Gujarati-speaking family in Udgir, Maharashtra. He had an older brother, Hemant who died from drowning at 17 while attempting to save someone and Jackie was only 10 then. The experience left him a scared child and had a lasting impact on him with his mother having to act as his protector.He regarded himself as a local toughie prior to making his entry into the movie industry. Consequent of lack of fund, Jackie dropped out of school after completing his 11th standard. He worked as a travel agent in a local company, Trade Wings and also modelled as a young boy appearing in a few commercials such as Savage Perfumes after he was spotted by an advertising agency accountant at a bus stand. His first modelling job was a photo shoot for a suiting shirting which set him on his path to fame in the make-believe world.
In 1973, Jackie debuted as an actor in a minor role as a villain in Heera Panna followed by Swami Dada, both directed by Dev Anand. Following the bit roles, he clinched his first lead role in 1983 in a Subhash Ghai film Hero. The film was critically and commercially successful shooting him into the limelight and marking the beginning of his working relationship with Ghai. One thing about him during his early days in the entertainment industry was that he never said no to any role which he cites as a major weakness. A major weakness because it led to many emotional decisions that cost him plum offers which led to some not too good choices like Boom, Kisan and Ek – The Power Of One, as a result of him being engaged by the time a good offer is available.
However, after he clicked on stardom with Hero, he starred in several box-office hits in the ’80’s like Andar Baahar co-starring Anil Kapoor, Jaanoo, Yudh, Karma which became the highest-grossing film of 1986. Others include critically acclaimed but box-office failures such as Kaash, Dahleez, Sachché Ká Bol-Bálá which were subsequently followed by commercial successes like Ram Lakhan, Parinda (won him Filmfare award for best actor), Tridev. In 1990’s he also appeared in successful films including Saudagar, Angaar, Gardish, where he played the role of a youth fighting against his corruption and crime infested society is considered one of his best roles till date, Khalnayak, 1942: A Love Story, Rangeela, Agnisakshi and Border.
Although Jackie became a household name with his 1983 film Hero, he has as well established a presence in a number of supporting roles and being versatile, has appeared in a variety of roles such as heroic, villainous, comic and even played a ghost in the 2006 film Bhoot Unkle. His film credits since 2000 include Devdas, Mission Kashmir, Refugee, Jung, Agni Varsha, Eklavya, Halla Bol, Veer, Fool and Final, Married 2 America, Sarkar 3, Hridaynath, Aurangzeb, Dhoom 3, Kahin Hai Mera Pyar, Hum Baja Bajaa Denge, Brothers, Khuji. He would appear alongside his son in Student of the Year 2.