Daddy Cool

Published On: 2015-05-05

Author: unknown

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Daddy Cool


Source: The Telegraph 

Date: July 6,2014 


Actor-director-producer Rakesh Roshan bunked classes, ran away from school and failed in Class VIII. Sunaina Roshan recounts that her father, who years later went on to successfully launch her brother Hrithik in Bollywood, learnt a few lessons then. An extract from her book 


When Bengali vocalist Ira Moitra and robust Punjabi Roshan Lal Nagrath, two artistes on the rolls of All India Radio, came together, it was a marriage of two creative talents. The simplicity of Ira and Roshan Lal, later known simply as music director Roshan, the stoic strength they gave each other through rough weather, and their brilliant creative genes, were relayed to the light-eyed baby boy born to them on September 6, 1949, in Mumbai, India. 


The bundle of joy with a radiant complexion was my father, Rakesh Roshan Lal Nagrath. Also known as Guddu, Rakesh Roshan was a sunny little boy when he laid out his ambitions: he unabashedly proclaimed to the world around that he was going to be an actor. With the flair of a debonair matinee idol, he would proffer his autograph to guests at the Roshan household, winking that it would be prudent to come and get it now, before his signature became too precious to be scribbled for all and sundry. 


The ambition was fuelled by the dashing Shammi Kapoor, whose suave daredevilry was sweeping many a young man off his feet. Dad idolised the reigning heartthrob; he dressed like him, brushed his hair like him, even replicated his flamboyance... An innocuous pastime that irked his rather stern father was the simple game of marbles that the refined composer found too pedestrian for his sons to waste time on. But Dad was a master at it, effortlessly beating the neighbourhood kids and winning all their marbles. 


The benefactor was my Chacha (accomplished music director Rajesh Roshan). Born on May 24, 1953, he's four years junior to Dad and has always called him Dada, in deference to his Bengali mother's wishes. Chacha recounts with glee. "My father would get very angry if we played marbles but Dada was so good at it that we had a jarful in our one-bedroom flat. It gave us a big kick to sit and count how many we had whacked from other kids." *** Dad met the "Yahoo" star many times. My grandfather knew Shammi Kapoor and Dida (grandmother) was friendly with his wife, Geeta Bali. So Shammi Uncle would go over when the Roshans had a party at home. Seeing him up-close only spurred Dad further to be like him. Dad was such a crazy fan that he saw Junglee 28 times and even went to Lafangs, the tailor shop where Shammi Kapoor got his clothes stitched, to get the exact same set of clothes as his dream star. It didn't matter if Shammi Kapoor's fit was vastly different from Dad's. 


My grandfather... was as strict as Dad was naughty. One day he threw up his hands and declared, "Yeh ladka mere bas ka nahin" (this boy is impossible to handle)... He'd bunk classes, run away — pretending to have been kidnapped — smoke cigarettes and frequent clubs. Dinner would be served at 9pm sharp in the Roshan household. My grandfather was very strict about punctuality, one of his strongest virtues. If Dad reached the table at 9.05, he'd be on the mat for disciplinary action. To avoid censure, Dad would often be seen huffing home, his shirt soaked in sweat as evidence of his efforts to be on time. 


My grandfather's insistence on punctuality instilled in Dad a respect for time, a trait he has passed on to Duggu [the author's brother, the actor Hrithik Roshan] and me. Dad himself remains the most time-conscious person in the house and on set. But burying his nose in a textbook and actually studying was beyond him. Dad failed in Grade 8 and went missing. The day his results were announced, he did not go home... Naturally, his disappearance caused consternation in the family and the police were called in to trace the missing schoolboy. It was assumed that he had been kidnapped and neighbours rallied around to share his parents' anxiety. 


When Dad was finally found, it was in faraway Dahisar. He had simply run away. After the "kidnapping" episode, his father decided that he required a more regimented vigil and packed him off to a military boarding school. Back at Sainik School, there was also a House Master who instilled a sense of responsibility in Dad, leading simply by example... One day, a bunch of students ran away from school. The principal was anxious but Mr Kirtikar was adamant that the police be kept out of it. "My logic was that the boys wouldn't go to station and return home because that would mean trouble with their parents," remembers Mr Kirtikar... Sure enough, the dedicated House Master found two of the runaway students 12 miles away at Satara Road Station. 


One of them was Dad. Soon, the other students were rounded up. Mr Kirtikar then proved that he could be like an exemplary parent: he did not squeal to the principal and studiously avoided involving either the police or any of the parents.... Invaluable lessons learnt from this adventure included protecting juniors, letting them figure out that they'd erred and providing security to those who leaned on you. Watching the way he has led his life, I can say that my father sure learnt those lessons by heart. 


Additionally, his own innate determination to succeed helped put together the man that he later grew into... when his father challenged him during an argument, Dad picked up the gauntlet and announced that he would get a first class in his SSC exams. For two months thereafter, Dad slogged, put in 20 hours of dedicated study every day, and scored an impressive 68 per cent which proved to my grandfather that his son could move the world if he put his mind to it. "My father couldn't believe it when I told him that I had got 68 per cent. I got it without cheating, without copying a single word from anybody," Dad beams as he underscores the point. It was the shape of things to come.