Hrithik: sellout in USA

Published On: 2012-06-02

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Hrithik: sellout in USA

Subhash K Jha

Unprecedented response for the actor's live shows

Hrithik Roshan is halfway through his first international concert tour [Heartthrobs Live In Concert]. "I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming," he said, on landing in Los Angeles with wife Susanne after a sellout concert in Calgary, Canada. 

Major American newspapers, including the Washington Post and The New York Times have carried front page mentions of the actor. "Not even Hollywood actors get to be on the front page of these newspapers. The media [coverage] in the US has been astonishing," Hrithik's father Rakesh Roshan states. 

The concerts so far have taken Roshan and his entourage --- including Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Aftab Shivdasani --- to Atlanta, Washington, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Detroit, Orlando, Houston and Calgary. Says Rakesh Roshan, "It is a great feeling to have 18,000 people roaring with approval. In New York and New Jersey, we had an unheard of 39,000 people. Usually Bollywood concerts draw about 5,000-6,000." 

The actor confesses, "I am getting homesick now," before moving on to say, "It has been a rollercoaster ride here. I never expected it to be hectic. I finished a show on Friday, slept at 2 am, woke up at 6 am to catch a flight to the next venue, reached at 3 pm to be on stage at 5 pm. I would look at the stage each time, wondering how I would manage." 

"Yesterday in Calgary was my --- how many shows did we complete?" he asks his wife Susanne, "...my tenth show in the US. For the first time, I enjoyed performing. It took me nine shows to get into the groove and accept that the tour would be a whirlwind, and that I might as well accept it. In spite of my reservations, they turned out fine, except the one in Washington, where I did not have the time to check the stage beforehand. I wore the wrong shoes. It was like dancing on ice. I was trying to strike a balance, just like my career," Roshan chuckles. 

"I have got over my inhibitions about live shows. I still maintain that I am essentially an actor. But this tour has changed my attitude towards live performances. I now know why my colleagues enjoy being on stage so much. It is our chance to connect directly with fans. This is the closest an actor gets to his audience. I no longer compare live appearances with a Michael Jackson or a Britney Spears concert. For them, it is their job. For me, the stage is an opportunity to interact with my audience and to be close to as many of them as possible." 

Speaking of the many memorable experiences during the tours, Roshan talks about the old Indian security guard he met at the airport at Calgary before flying to LA. "He bought two bottles of juice for me and Suzanne. He compared me to all the greats of Indian cinema and said I was his favourite after Dilip Kumar. When we were leaving, he had tears in his eyes. I will never forget that encounter." 

Roshan returns to India on June 23.