Straight from the heart

Published On: 2015-05-31

Author: unknown

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Hrithik Roshan goes Bang Bang- straight from the heart!

Source: Telegraph India
By: Priyanka Roy

There’s something different about Hrithik Roshan. The man walks different, talks different, pauses much, thinks a lot, smiles freely… but he’s no longer the Hrithik that danced into our hearts 14 years ago with Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai.

Over the last year, the 40-year-old superstar and father of two has been through trying times — a freak accident in July 2013 on the sets of Bang Bang forced a brain surgery and then there was the breakdown of his 14-year marriage with wife Sussanne. But Hrithik has taken all his downs and evolved into this insatiable ball of energy and positive thinking. His motto: Be responsible for your own life and happiness.

On Monday afternoon, Hrithik — cool and casual in blue denims, beige tee and a hat — walked into the JW Marriott Hotel in Mumbai’s Juhu to talk about his October 2 film Bang Bang, but ended up opening his heart to t2 about life and family, in a half-hour chat.

Let’s start with Bang Bang that’s being hailed as the film of the year. Did you expect the feedback to its teaser and songs to be so overwhelming?

At the cost of sounding pompous, I did! (Laughs) I loved the teaser when I first saw it. I knew it would make an impact. I also knew the songs would go down well. I have seen the film and I am confident that it will be loved as well. So, it’s turning out to be a happy story at the end of it all… it started off as a not-so-happy story… I have been faced with the biggest challenges of my life, both medically and… (pauses for a bit) emotionally. But the opening chapters of every successful story are difficult… there is struggle, there are impossibilities… hurdles. That is the only way you can make a successful story, actually. If your first chapter is beautiful, there are no struggles, sab aaraam se chal raha hai, then you won’t even read the book! (Smiles) I have overcome so many barriers and problems to make this film… but it’s turned out to be a happy story, finally.

It was on the sets of Bang Bang that you suffered that head injury. Would you call it your ‘born again’ film?

Well, let’s put it like this… if I ever write a book, Bang Bang and my personal ups and downs during this period will be the interval point of the book. The second half of my life will be the … (pauses for a while) the better part of my life (smiles).

This experience… this accident… has been the greatest lesson for my children (sons Hrehaan and Hridhaan). Whenever my kids go through a trying time in their lives and tell me: ‘This is the end… can’t go on… what’s the point?’ I will use this as the chapter that will teach them that life has something for you at every step… you just have to keep moving forward, no matter what.

There is this positive energy, this Zen-like aura that just radiates out of you now. Has that happened in reaction to what you have been through in the last one year?

Yes, for sure. Those experiences and my interpretation of them have made me the person I am today. How you interpret your life and what’s good and bad in it… do you blame others for the bad things that are happening in your life… forms the crux of your life. This year that I have spent going through the lowest phase of my life has taught me one thing… that I am responsible for whatever happens in my life, good or bad, and that it’s up to me to correct it. If you sit back and think your problems are created by someone else, then you are actually giving them the power to dictate your life. You have to take the power back… ‘I am responsible for whatever happens to my life’ should become your motto from today, as it has become mine. Once you do that, the steering wheel of your life comes back firmly into your hands. And then steer it, build it, create… life is about creating, it’s not about discovering.

I think I have always been a little spiritually inclined, but over the last one year, I have come to believe one thing: that it is only through suffering that you gain enlightenment. My suffering has taught me what the truth is... about everything in my life. My relationships, my equations, my career… everything. I have just asked the right questions and I have based everything on evidence. I have learnt not to ask the question ‘Why me?’ (Smiles wryly). My mindset has changed and with that my body language too. I am sure of myself now, more than ever. I no longer think: ‘I’m such a good person, mere saath aisa kyon hua?’ No matter what happens in my life now, I will be unfazed because my brain is only trained to think good things.

My advice to you and everyone who will read this is: ‘Always look up and you will see good things… look down and you will see only bad things’. Try it and trust me it works… I have studied this. You just have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: ‘What can I do with my life so that it becomes the greatest story ever told?’

The flyboarding sequence is the standout moment in the Bang Bang teaser, but that was the scene that landed you on the operating table. Today, when people appreciate that moment, how do you feel?

Joyous… victorious (smiles). When I was told about this sequence, it looked quite impossible to me. But given the mindset I was in, I knew that impossible is nothing (smiles). I kept trying, I kept training and at the end of it, I mastered it. At that time, I was told that I was the ninth person in the world to master that stunt. Then, I had to do it in the shot. Par kya hota hai ki jab camera on hota hai, aap character mein ho, aap Katrina Kaif ko bacha rahe ho (smiles), toh your safety, somehow, goes a little out of your control. In that aggression and thrust, I went up to about 40ft and when the shot got cut, I looked down and I got the fright of my life (laughs). I was alone, I had no support or safety and I was literally in the air! I just closed my eyes, steeled my mind and landed safely. I did this over 10 days and landed about 50-60 times in the water.

By the fourth day, I had an excruciating pain in my head. But no one really stops shooting because of a headache, you know (smiles). I was in terrible, terrible pain, but I kept shooting through it. I remember there was a fight sequence with Jaaved Jaaferi and he would ‘hit’ me in one shot and start massaging my head immediately after ‘Cut’ was called. Ten days later, I landed in Bombay and immediately went for a scan… it turned out to be clean, but the pain just kept getting worse. Can you believe it, I lived with that pain for two months? (Shakes his head)

Then, one day, I had to take a flight to Prague for the action schedule of Bang Bang and I am on the treadmill and I am thinking to myself, ‘I am not feeling good yaar, this pain is just not going away’. My hand-eye coordination was not right… my handwriting had changed. I couldn’t sign properly (smiles wryly). I went to get another scan done and they discovered that the region from the back of my eye to the back of my skull was full of blood… so much so that my brain had shifted to the right! I told the doctors: ‘I have a flight in eight hours, can you get the blood out before that?’ They looked at me as if I was mad (smiles). They told me, ‘If you fly, you die’ because the moment the plane would have taken off, there would have been pressure on my brain and I would have gone into a coma and died.

So if you hadn’t been on the treadmill that day…

…. I would have taken that flight and just gone into a coma and possibly died. I wouldn’t have been here speaking to you today and there would have been no Bang Bang (smiles wryly). I would have been gone at 40. But things happen… and that’s the strange screenplay of god. My operation lasted four hours. I was told I would get better within a month, but my pain lasted seven months! At that time, I threw up my hands and thought my life was over… I was going through the worst time emotionally, my life as I knew it was changing (pauses). I couldn’t cry because it would put pressure on my head, I couldn’t hear well, I couldn’t talk much because my own voice used to hurt my head… I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t watch a film… god had put me into a box and I kept asking myself: ‘Yeh kya ho raha hai mere life mein?’ I kept hoping, but I was also breaking down slowly. I had a hole in my head and I could drop dead any moment. I didn’t feel like going on and I felt life slowly slipping away.

Then Krrish (3) became a big hit and I suddenly felt that maybe there is a reason why god has kept me alive, despite staring death in the face. I decided to take a leap of faith, trust in the universe and break out of my box. And I completed Bang Bang… it’s the happiest film I have done, but in the saddest chapters of my life.

Who was your biggest support at that time?

My sons. They were the only source of some sort of happiness for me. I had to create a world for them that gave them the hope that their dad would be all right. I didn’t want them to see that their father had been beaten. My mission now is just to make them happy. And the best thing is that they are quite grown up (Hrehaan is 8, Hridhaan is 6) and have now become my friends. They give me feedback regarding my films. Last night, I was with them and I showed them the Bang Bang title track. They didn’t react much at first, but then they got hooked and they were like ‘Aaaaaah, oooooh’. So ya, they like it (smiles).

Have your priorities changed over the last year?

Not really, because my priorities have always been simple... to do my duty, contribute love and inspiration to the world, help people be better versions of themselves…. My family and my kids remain my priority as they always have been.

You rejected quite a few films during that period. What is it about Bang Bang that made you want to do it?

Bang Bang has fulfilled all the things that I want to do in a film. When I was offered it, I wanted to do a romantic film. I haven’t really done a pure romance, you know. I hadn’t done a cool action-hero role since Dhoom:2 and Bang Bang turned out to be that. I knew that Sid’s (director Siddharth Anand) ear for music is great and I was assured that Bang Bang would have great music. Then came the desire to do a family-oriented film… there is a father-son bond in this film that’s very beautiful. I wanted to do stunts and I got to do the best stunts of my life in Bang Bang. I also wanted to travel the world through a film and with Bang Bang, I have travelled from Thailand to Shimla to Prague… especially after Krrish (3) where I was stuck in that one studio in Hyderabad, ‘flying’ from one end of the studio to the other (laughs).

The film has also allowed me to pay tribute to my greatest inspiration, Michael Jackson. I feared the sequence (in the title track) at first, but I realised that I shouldn’t be scared because I have loved and been inspired by Michael Jackson all my life. If you see the video, you will realise that I haven’t really copied him… I have done it in my style. I enjoyed it. I have grown up watching Michael Jackson… he’s made me the dancer I am today.

Katrina Kaif and you had great chemistry in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Did the familiarity help in Bang Bang or impede you from creating fresh chemistry?

I feel chemistry is always on paper. If the chemistry is there in the script, I get inspired by it enough to bring it on screen. It’s like reading a love story… you feel what the guy says, you feel the reaction of the girl, when she smiles at him your heart soars, you want to know what the guy will do to woo her. Once the chemistry is there in the script, then any two honest actors can bring it out and that happened with Katrina and me both in Zindagi... and Bang Bang.

You are a really good actor and an amazing dancer and yet there is also so much focus on your physicality, with the Bang Bang teaser being a virtual gape fest for your female fans. Do you revel in it or do you want people to see beyond your good looks?

It’s a lot of hard work, for sure. Good looks is not really about eyes, ears, nose, mouth, construction… it’s about expression. There are lots of faces that are very beautiful, but if you don’t express right, then it’s of no use. But it doesn’t hurt that people find me nice looking (smiles). But yes, I don’t want that to be the only thing that people see me as and fortunately, I am seen as a lot more than that. But yes, I am careful about my health and the way I look. I make sure I eat the proper things, though sometimes I cheat a little bit (smiles). You just saw me eat rice, but when it’s rice with an Indian curry, I can rarely resist. Give me anything Indian and I will eat it (smiles).

People talk about my body…six-pack, eight-pack. But everyone has the same muscles in their bodies… what you choose to do with them separates the flab from the ab (smiles). Because I am an actor and am in the visual medium, I should try and look the best that I can, but that doesn’t mean that someone who isn’t an actor, shouldn’t. Having a six-pack or eight-pack is not important… it’s sometimes not even healthy. Being fit is the key. Walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes everyday and you will add 15 years to your life. That’s all it takes.

I am doing something through my health brand HRX and through it, I want to educate people and create a movement that’s about health… not six-pack abs, but about health. I want to empower the youth, the mother, the grandmother, the grandfather… so that they can make a change in the way they look at health. HRX is not just about fitness of the body, it’s about the fitness of the mind too. I have used certain tools and rules in my life through which I have created patterns of behaviour that have got me through the most difficult times of my life. I want to make HRX my greatest contribution to the world.


iPhone or Android?

iPhone. Can’t really do without mine.

Twitter or Instagram?

I am not yet on Instagram. I enjoy being on Twitter off and on. Whenever I feel like saying anything, I tweet. It’s a great way to get feedback and I also get a lot of news from social media.

Dark or white chocolate?

Ooh, dark, any day!

Issey Miyake or Hugo Boss?

Neither. I use Creed.

One superpower you want?

I already have it… my spirit.

The title of your autobiography?

Title of my autobiography… wow! (Thinks for a while) That’s what it would be… ‘Wow!’