Date with destiny

Published On: 2012-01-02

Author: Soumik Sen

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Source: Hindustan Times

BY: Soumik Sen

Date: November 8, 2005


When Mangal Pandey failed to rise at the box office, did Hrithik Roshan smell trouble? Exclusive rights to a few directors and faith in papa dear’s skill on the megaphone implies that he, too, like Aamir, will be on-screen after a pretty long layoff.


His last release, Farhan Akhtar’s Lakshya, earned Hrithik praise for his performance and even got him nominated at most popular awards. But is the disappearing act for the sake of exclusivity going to work in these cut-throat times, where media blitz ensures that every star of every film is played up?


So does Hrithik and Roshan senior risk staying out of public memory for too long?


To start with, while the box office was in a slump, and trade wasn’t really going great guns during Hrithik’s flop phase, it has picked up now. 2005 seems to have been an exceptionally good year, and the likes of Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, who are yet to have a solo hit of their own, are walking away with endorsements and films.


Abhishek played second fiddle to Hrithik in Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon and wasn’t even in contention in pre-Bunty aur Babli days. But as of today, with two biggies behind him, and that retrosexual look being part of Junior B’s appeal, will Hrithik’s moves enthral audiences as much as they did earlier?


Close friends of Hrithik say he won’t fall into the same trap twice, although he has teamed up with the Barjatyas again after the disastrous Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon. But before that, he will be seen in his first bad guy role, opposite Aishwarya Rai in Sanjay Gadhvi’s Dhoom 2, and then as a young emperor in Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodha-Akbar.


Directors understand that Hrithik brings with him a whole load of expectations. “With every film, Hrithik raises the bar that is expected of him. If Krrish releases before Dhoom 2, it will be the joint responsibility of the directors and Hrithik to keep answering that challenge,” says Gadhvi.


And though his absence hasn’t been for as long as Aamir’s, it has seen the likes of Abhishek and Saif Ali Khan and John gain greater visibility, market share and plum roles under big banners while Hrithik has stayed home. Literally.


Saif, for instance has, in a matter of a few films, moved from being a cute sidekick to a saleable solo hero, who garners initials on the basis of his star power — something that John and to some extent Abhishek are yet to prove.


Of Abhishek, John and Hrithik, the latter, despite being around for the same number of years, has done the fewest films (11 as opposed to John’s 12, who came in much later, and Abhishek’s 20). But the question that arises now is, will he be back with a bang, and do audiences miss him as much as before?


Six different looks, the stunt choreographer of Matrix and Kill Bill, and a pairing opposite Priyanka Chopra, who plays a schoolgirl, may make Krrish the vehicle which could take his solo-starrer score not only above the slew of multistarrers featuring Saif, Abhishek and John, but also renew the SRK vs Hrithik argument.


And anyway, every Khan from Aamir to Salman endorses him with heart and soul. Aamir sees honesty in Hrithik’s eyes, and Salman would love to see the kid who he helped ‘shape up’ go all the way as the next big thing, especially when John, Shahid and Vivek have failed to bring to table, the ‘complete package’ profile that Hrithik showcased in his debut.


And distributors are sure, that had the multiplex market matured, and Hrithik not signed films like Vikram Bhatt’s Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage and Pantaloon’s Na Tum Jaano na Hum, the star would’ve gone places.


The insecurities that are inherent, after nosediving post a fabulous debut, creeped into him. And he moved fast from being a newcomer to a dancing star, who plays safe by staying exclusive.


But maybe, one hit and the confidence will be back to command prices, endorsements and roles that can take him further.


Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “Krrish will have a good opening. The public haven’t forgotten him. On the contrary they are eagerly awaiting the father-son combo to recreate the Koi Mil Gaya magic again.” Abhishek, John and Saif should make hay till the shine is on them. Next year, June, when Hrithik Roshan attempts a desi-superhero empowered by Jadoo’s ET skills, the number game in Bollywood may need to be re-written.