Rakesh Roshan on Duggu

Published On: 2012-06-28

Author: Bhawana Somaaya

Media Link:

Rakesh Roshan : "The chemistry between the film and the audience has to be correct"


Source: Bhawana Somaaya 

Everyone knew that he’d grow up to become an actor but the moment would come so soon, nobody had anticipated. 
Now that one thinks of it, it all started with a photo-session. Hrithik Roshan had done an exhaustive session with an ace photographer and needed money from his dad to pay the bills. Naturally dad Roshan wanted to see what he was paying for and was in for a surprise. The following day, at a story session with his writers, he dropped a bomb. For his next project he was introducing a newcomer. ‘‘My son Hrithik,’’ he told his team. Hrithik Roshan wasn’t prepared for this announcement and left the room. Papa Roshan followed him out, wanting to know what the problem was. “Aren’t you ready?” he asked his son. After a long pause Hrithik hugged his dad and said, “I am and even if I wasn’t, I will be now...”
The rest, as we all know, is history. In the wake of Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hain celebrating its golden jubilee I met the director at his office to find out how he feels.


Did you expect Kaho Naa...Pyar Hai to be such a big success?

I thought it was a well-made film with good music and an interesting storyline. I thought if accepted, the film would be a moderate success, but no, I didn’t expect it to be such a huge hit. However, I was confident of Hrithik. I was confident of his talent and his screen presence. There’s something about him that pulls you to him.

Considering that the film came in the wake of Koyla, a non-success, were you at any stage diffident?

No, because I’ve never let the fate of my previous film get in the way of my current project. Koyla wasn’t as big a flop as was made out to be by the media. The film didn’t make a profit, but it didn’t run into losses either. Confidence, I think, comes from within. On principle I don’t start on a film unless I’m completely convinced of the content. I take a very long time to confirm the script, but once I do it I stick to the original. I feel second and third thoughts destroy the natural rhythm.

How different was the experience of directing your son? Did you find yourself ever being over-cautious?

To an extent yes. I was very clear that I wanted a hit. I wanted Hrithik to start on a winning streak. Specially since I hadn’t been that lucky in that respect. The pressure was definitely weighing on me.

Launching a newcomer is a huge responsibility because you can either make or mar his career. I was taking all the precautions possible to keep the risk factor down to as low as possible, but still, as a father I was nervous and all the time praying that I shouldn’t make a mistake.

How did you eventually conquer your anxiety?

It is very strange but as long as I was shooting I was thinking as a director. Once the shooting was over, however, the father would take over from the filmmaker. My worry was never that did I do it right but did he do it right. When Hrithik was giving a shot I was tense for him, not for myself. Gradually of course, these anxieties settled down.

When on sets how communicative was Hrithik about his own anxiety?

He’s not very demonstrative. He camouflaged his anxiety, but because I know him well I could sense it. Sometimes after a take, he’d watch himself on the monitor and brood for hours. Then, on the last day, when the set was being dismantled he’d mention a scene he was not happy with and request for a re-shoot. Depending on the circumstances, I’d agree or disagree with him.

How comfortable or awkward can it be interacting with a family member in a working relationship?

My brother Rajesh and I are used to it. Over the years we have had several outbursts and heated arguments over every song and tune. 

Yet, prior to every release, we are suffering labour pains together. As for Hrithik and me, well, for quite sometime now, he has been a part of our production team and creative meetings, so it wasn’t as if we weren’t used to interacting in a professional environment. When the time came for him to face the camera Hrithik was initially self-conscious, but he got over the awkwardness within three days.

How did he accomplish that?

I think once he realised that I wasn’t suffocating him with instructions and that I was letting him project the character his way, he loosened up. To be fair to him, he never misused this liberty. On my part, I treated both Hrithik and Amisha as equals, pampered them as I would have any established stars in their place.

What about the problems on the sets spilling over at home?

That never happened. Once we came home, we never discussed what happened on the sets. All through the shooting of the film, we travelled in separate cars and had lunch in separate rooms. Sometimes I’d come to know of Hrithik’s anxiety through passing comments made by my wife, usually narrated to me as her opinion. But he never spoke about it directly to me. He confided in his mother complaining that he didn’t have sufficient dramatic moments in the film. 

But those were fleeting moments... In my own way I explained to Hrithik that doing simple scenes effectively was more important than doing dramatic scenes. And as the film progressed, he understood and appreciated that.

As a filmmaker how would you define Hrithik’s plus and minus points as a performer?

His strength is his sincerity. He is open to criticism and makes an effort to rectify his flaws. He is quality conscious and aspires for perfection. His minus points to an extent are his plus points. He’s too simple. He cannot say ‘‘NO’’ and all the time is trying to understand the other person’s point of view and suffering in the bargain.

What is Hrithik like as a person?

He’s a good soul, well-behaved and well-meaning. He’s emotional, trusts easily, which puts him in danger of being exploited easily.

Do you think marriage will affect his popularity?

Amitabh Bachchan married after he became a superstar. Fans stay loyal to a star as long as he can deliver the goods.

Marriage involves change not just for the person but the entire family. Are you ready for the change?

Suzanne has been a regular visitor to our house for almost four years now. We are familiar with her temperament and habits. My wife and I are looking forward to the change.

Will your next film be starring Hrithik?

Talks are in progress. We have to finalise the project. At the moment we are checking out scripts.

Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai is your most successful film, but would you say it is also your best film?

I think so. It’s a well-crafted film, technically competent. So was Koyla except that the negative attributes overshadowed the positive ones. These things happen. Every film has its own destiny.

That’s showbiz.

Yes, the timing has to be perfect. The chemistry between the film and the audience has to be correct. And I think that’s what happened with Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai. The chemistry was magical.