The killer combination

Published On: 2018-02-08

Author: Sneha May Francis

Media Link:

The killer combination


Source: Gulf News 

Date: November 24, 2010 


They are touted the most phenomenal on-screen couple. Their sizzling act lights up the screen instantly. The laughter. The comradeship. The chemistry. It's a connection that has to be seen to be believed. Sneha May Francis gives you a taste of the real thing by scripting her exclusive tete-a-tete with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. 


The plush suite in Park Hyatt is dressed in shades of white. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, unintentionally, play up the colour monotony in their white attire. The cream couch on which they are seated accentuates the colour scheme, almost giving it a dreamy Bollywood feel. My colourful top sticks out, almost drilling home the point that I am, in fact, the outsider! As I seat myself, the door is shut, blocking out the bustle of the media chatter outside, leaving only the three of us to chat. A tad intimidating, but a task that had to be completed. 


After a brief, initial introduction, we start our tête-à-tête. 


Wasn't the Coke ad the first time you both ever teamed up on-screen? 

Aishwarya Oh yeah! (laughs) 

Hrithik Wow! I just got a flash. 

Aishwarya Remember (looking at Hrithik) that I was working half-shift and had to rush to the sets of Devdas (for Sanjay Leela Bhansali). How bizarre! 

Hrithik I think the reason why we don't recollect it as our first on-screen effort is because we actually connected while doing Dhoom2. 

Aishwarya Also, it was a laugh. It was like getting the job done quickly. But even then, we got on. It was an ad that involved a lot of changes. It was a lot of work. We both are about work. We both are obsessive like that. 

Hrithik But thank you for reminding us. 


As artists how important is it to stay creatively different? 

Aishwarya The most important thing. You'd like versatility to be your middle name! Hrithik If you are an artist then monotony is death. It's also great fun to bounce off from one end of the spectrum and go explore the other. As an artist, that's the mission you are on. 

Aishwarya It's what you seek and you are blessed if you actually get to experience that. Which is what we are absolutely thankful for in our own careers. 


If you look at your collective body of work, you've done something as racy and fun as Dhoom2 and something regal and elegant like Jodhaa Akbar. Which would you say was the most difficult?

Hrithik Both had their own challenges. I probably may choose Jodhaa Akbar. Just in terms of the kind of responsibility that it warranted. Dhoom2 was fiction so we had a lot more freedom. 

Aishwarya There was a lot of effort that went into Dhoom2 because we were trying to do a lot visually in terms of content. It was much easier, for both of us, in terms of the characters we are enacting. I think we came from that space. We work similarly as actors. And there itself we found our equation. We would naturally end up being quite the bouncing board for each other on a daily basis on the sets. Immediately after Dhoom2, there was such strong talk about us. Normally, we go with a clean slate to a new film. But just all that talk and hype was so much and added to that we had to explore a historical. 

Hrithik I think it was the responsibility. Since it is a historical there are certain lines that can't be crossed. Also, it was a challenge to make the subject identifiable with the youth. 

Aishwarya But I think it's every film. We are as maverick about it (looks at Hrithik and smiles) with every film. I think that's just us. Just the way we are! 


And where would you place Guzaarish? 

Aishwarya Yet another memorable, fabulous creative journey. Sanjay would describe it as cathartic. We both haven't found a suitable word to express this beautiful experience. 

Hrithik It's unexplainable. Just the process of working in this film. The kind of freedom we got as actors. Aishwarya A lot of connection with life. And we actually came away feeling life is beautiful, what a gift. It sounds all very spiritual but you'll experience it as a viewer. And you'll know where I'm coming from. 

Hrithik Trying to describe the beauty of this journey is like describing the beauty in nature, of life and death, of day and night. There's something magical about it. You can't break it down into words. For me, Guzaarish, just like nature, is beyond judgement. It's not good or bad. It's just a life-changing experience. 


There's no denying there's a lot of buzz about your on-screen chemistry. Does that stem from being good friends. Abhishek Bachchan says "you (Ash) are one of the guys". 

Aishwarya (Laughs) 

Hrithik (Quickly corrects) She became one of the guys during Dhoom2. 

Aishwarya Joining them in their scoring! (both end up laughing). 


It's strange, even your pet names (Gullu and Duggu) rhyme! 

Aishwarya That's so weird. And the light eyes! We would joke about that during Dhoom2. 

Hrithik (mocks the tone of a presenter) Presenting on stage superstars of India - Gullu and Duggu. Mind blowing! 


So, there is an obvious connection here! 

Hrithik That we have more in common than just pet names? Well, of course it does. If you don't like the people you are working with, then you can never create anything worthwhile. 

Aishwarya Like you saw, silly things crack us up. Then, we go on to do really intense work so all in all in a day's work it's a great atmosphere. 

Hrithik It doesn't dilute the performance. We are both very serious about what we do. Nothing enters that space. 

Aishwarya There's no question about looking for excuses or reasons for that. We both love what we do. What's nice is we don't have to go looking for that space or equation. 

Hrithik It helps when she has a suggestion about how I should essay my character. There's freedom of communication and that only happens when you are friends. Otherwise, egos come into play. 

Aishwarya Absolutely. There's no baggage to worry about. 


Do you ever compete with one another? 

Aishwarya No question about it. 

Hrithik I don't think any honest actor would compete with another. 

Aishwarya It is about the moment. I think we've been like this in every film. It's not been about whether it's your moment or mine, because if it gets into that, it's already dead. 

Hrithik There's a very good give and take attitude which is very important. The support system is important especially since we work as a team. 

Aishwarya If that's what you define as on-screen chemistry, then that's what it is. 


When you do emotional dramas like Guzaarish, how emotionally-challenging is it? 

Hrithik With every film that I've done, I've imbibed the good of the characters and evolved myself as a person. So there are a lot of lessons and perspective that you can actually adopt in your own life. But you do realise that it's a job that you are doing. 

Aishwarya What was wonderful about working on this film was that there was a calm on the sets. It wasn't very bookish. Of course, we'd rehearse. 

Hrithik There was music playing all the time. Bhansali used to keep his guitar on the sets and make the tunes. And the moment we all got excited with one, he'd jump on to another. 

Aishwarya I think what was more specific and exciting about this movie experience was that it was unique. At the end of the day there'd be that kind of sweet exhaustion. I think if you felt nothing it would be weird. 


While playing the maverick magician Mascarenhas who possesses magical powers, did you find the experience physically challenging? 

Hrithik Not really. Through all my films, I'm used to being swung around. But it was mentally draining. There's so much you build through the day and vent it out for a shot that when you get home, there's a certain strange kind of peace. So, I'm glad that we did this entire film at one go. You get into it, go through and come out of it. 

Aishwarya Once we entered the set, we'd be lost to the world. But let me add to what he's saying. While we were referring to the wonderful pace we got into while working, when the cameras rolled there was such intense discipline on all our parts. It's like unknowingly you are completely switched on. Every fibre in you is switched on and due to this a day would be draining. 

Hrithik Everybody was so passionate when the cameras rolled. And most often, Bhansali never said "cut". So, we ended up going through the entire scene. 

Aishwarya I know that about Sanjay. He never says "cut". And we'd go on. And then he'd realise that he had forgotten to say "cut". Sometimes it's great because he finds that unwritten moment. 

Hrithik And it works for actors as it keeps the spontaneity intact. To know that you can enjoy the freedom of the flight of an actor. To go into certain spaces that are not pre-decided. 


The shot of you flying does look tough to recreate. Was it? 

Hrithik Well, I was born with the unique power to fly! (laughs) No, seriously, you need to have the aesthetics about how you want a certain shot to look. And then you need to ensure that your body pays heed to your demand. It is difficult but if you can imagine it, then it can happen. 


After Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas, this is Aishwarya's third film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali but Hrithik's first time. How was the experience with a film-maker known for his mad working ways? 

Hrithik Wonderful. I don't think I have ever or will ever enjoy the kind of freedom that was given to me as an actor. There were days when I'd come to the sets and we'd just block the scene, but Bhansali wouldn't know how I was going to play it out. And I used to just take off. So, that kind of freedom was essential to play a character like this. And his passion is, in fact, infectious. 

Aishwarya In fact, I was telling him the other day that he was going to cherish this experience. That it's going to be different from our other two films. 


Aishwarya, your character Sophia has been referred to as the "impossibly beautiful nurse". So, how involved are you in styling your character? 

Aishwarya We are involved in all our films. And that's where we say we are similar. We are involved in every aspect of our character. 

Hrithik For me, it was complete freedom. I didn't care about how I looked. 

Aishwarya What rubbish! That's about being carefully callous. (laughs!) And even in that, there's a lot of effort. 

Hrithik Well, a lot of effort to make yourself look shabby! 

Aishwarya It's very important for us because we are creating a character. We end up becoming that person and visual detailing is important for us. 


Talking about design and costumes, any film you've kept with you? 

Hrithik Not really. I've only kept my glasses from Koi Mil Gaya. 

Aishwarya I have little bits and pieces from all my films. But I wish I had kept some more. 


Our conversation is interrupted, abruptly, with requests for other media interviews. I oblige, reluctantly. The stars smile and bid adieu, and instantly shift focus towards perfecting their make-up and hair-do while I walk out, stepping away from the glaring spotlights and prying journalists. It's a circus out there, one that only they know how to play!