The criticism was cruel, but true

Published On: 2012-07-17

Author: Subhash K. Jha

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The criticism was cruel, but true: Hrithik


Source: IANS
By: Subhash K. Jha


Mumbai, Jan 5 (IANS) He was being dismissed as a one film wonder until "Koi...Mil Gaya" happened. Today Hrithik Roshan admits that he deserved the criticism. 

In an interview with IANS, the talented actor said the long struggle to deliver a second hit after his debut film "Kaho Na...Pyar Hai" has made him "a stronger human being". Excerpts:

Q: How do you look back on 2003?

A: It's been the most rewarding year of my life. To get to do a character like Rohit in "Koi...Mil Gaya" was a blessing. Usually such challenging characters are part of non-mainstream cinema. The biggest risk of my career paid off. 

Approaching this character and then waiting for the audiences' verdict has been the most tormenting time of my life. But I must say I was very comfortable playing Rohit. I had done so much homework that I was totally at home. 

I think this film has broken new ground. I feel other filmmakers would be encouraged to get away from conventions and not be so petrified by the acceptability factor. I feel if you've a story to tell and you tell it with conviction then films do work. "Koi...Mil Gaya" has given me the confidence to keep moving in the untried direction.

Q: Before "Koi...Mil Gaya" were you rattled when people called you a one-film wonder?

A: It never rattled me. It may have been cruel. But it was the truth. I was a one-film wonder before "Koi...Mil Gaya". However, even those who called me a one-film wonder always praised me for all my performances except in "Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon". I don't grudge the criticism. In fact it gave me an added reason to fight back.

Q: Do you think the struggle has made you a better actor?

A: It's made me a stronger human being. The criticism stopped me from getting complacent as an actor.

Q: How do you feel about being called both the best and the worst performer of the year for "Koi...Mil Gaya" and "Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon"?

A: It just proves my firm belief that cinema is the director's medium. A performance falls flat until it's an integral part of a film. Yes, some people didn't like it. In hindsight, I feel the audience at which "Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon" was targeted has moved on. It no longer exists. But I stand by the film and performance. My aim was to do what the director told me. Sooraj Barjatya had the character completely etched in his mind. I just followed what he wanted. 

In "Koi...Mil Gaya", I had a free hand to interpret the character. No one knew how I'd walk or talk until I came on the sets. 

Q: In 2004, we'll see you in only one film.

A: Yes "Lakshya". Looking back I feel I should've been more selective. I did so many films after "Kaho Na...Pyar Hai" only because I was an actor and I needed to work. 

Now I feel I'd have been better off if I hadn't done those films for the sake of doing them. Even if I only had "Kaho...Na Pyar Hai", "Fiza", "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" and "Koi...Mil Gaya", I think I'd be where I am. 

I've overcome that insecurity of wanting to have a film on the floors all the time. I need to do a film for the right reasons. I need to go with the level of excitement that I felt during "Kaho Na...Pyar Hai" and "Koi...Mil Gaya".

Q: Did "Lakshya" offer you the same excitement?

A: Yes, it portrays me in a totally different light. The character is totally new. The release of "Lakshya" will prove whether the new approach is right or not. If it doesn't work I'll go back to the old mode of working. If it works, I'll be adopting this style in all my roles. 

I've scrapped my entire working style and taken on a new approach. I can't tell you more about what I've done. Farhan Akhtar inspires experimentation. Every actor is completely at ease. I've played my character as though I'm not in a film.

Q: What's up with (father) Rakesh Roshan next?

A: Dad has already got some ideas for his next film. Some of these have been struck down. By August-September it should go on the floors. We'd like to go on a higher plane than "Koi...Mil Gaya". No point in doing something easier. But we're not doing a sequel to "Koi...Mil Gaya".

Q: What changes in your life in 2004?

A: I need to reinvent myself a bit. Maybe acquire a new skill. I think I'll learn some tap-dancing or something. For the past two years I have felt stagnant. I want to travel and broaden my horizons.

Q: What about fatherhood?

A: No, no, no! Maybe after a year I'll feel grown enough to be a father. Though I played a child in "Koi...Mil Gaya", I've grown since "Kaho Na...Pyar Hai". But as a person I'm still the same.