I’m not a born actor : Hrithik Roshan

Published On: 2012-07-21

Author: unknown

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I’m not a born actor : Hrithik Roshan perfects the art


Source: Filmfare, June 04 Issue
Submitted By: Sana Mirza


Koi… Mil Gaya weighs heavily on Hrithik Roshan. He knows he can’t afford to slip up now. And the will to excel is insatiable. So he’s cautious. No rushing into anything that comes his way. In fact, with no films on hand right now, he’s jobless. 

Though he’s not shooting, Hrithik’s pace hasn’t slackened. His time is taken up by rehearsals for his world tour, meetings and narrations with film-makers. 
And, of course, his next move. 

So where does Hrithik Roshan go after Koi… Mil Gaya? 

Oh, I’m not in the habit of fixing long-term goals. I’m not sure when I’ll be back in front of the camera. But hopefully I’ll be a little surer about my art and as motivated, driven and excited as I was by KMG. I’m sure there will be an equal amount of stress and I’ll have to endure an equal number of sleepless nights to emerge as triumphant as I did in KMG. 

The film is now a benchmark for me. I will not be able to tolerate doing anything mediocre now. I have to rise above the average and find something special for me to do. Because I truly believe that I’m not a born actor, nor am I super-talented. It’s just my motivation and perseverance that lead me to excel. 

And which is that project that’s going to get you equally charged? 

There’s none right now. 

What about your father’s next film? 

I guess I’ll figure in it but there’s nothing concrete yet. He has an idea. After going through several other ideas, he’s focused on one thought that is the most exciting. Hopefully that will be the one to take shape and the one we’ll bring to life on the screen. But it’s still at the planning stage, so we don’t know for sure. 

Do both of you go through brainstorming sessions for your projects or does your father finalise everything and tell you what you have to do? 

Well, if I had to give it a ratio, I would say he is 95 per cent of what goes into his films. But I’m equally involved on my part. The great thing about Dad is that he knows his actor is the final link to his audience. Obviously, the actor is not as confident or convinced about his subject, as the director is. But he never forces something on me. He narrates each idea to me and waits to find out if I’m excited enough to do it. 

I rejected eight subjects before KMG, for instance. I just said, ‘Dad, I don’t like them’ and he simply threw them out of the window. So there’s no ego at play, neither a father’s nor a director’s. It’s only about work. 

I don’t see any other director-father doing what he does or matching his attitude. Any other father would just tell his son, you’re doing the film. But Dad takes my advice and it’s my excitement that drives him. He knows we can make a great film only if both of us are equally charged. That’s what teamwork is all about and that’s how our last two films were made. 


Does he allow you to improvise or experiment on the sets? 

Always. As an actor, I never have any fear on his set. He never imposes anything on his artistes. 

Does he guide you as a director? 

Of course. His guidance is essential. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I can let myself go when I’m working with him. If I cross the boundary of the character even for a second, he will point it out instantly to me. But he will never tell me to laugh in a particular way, smile, walk or talk in a specific manner. He allows me to give 100 per cent shape to the character. 

That must be very exciting for you as an actor. 

Absolutely. I think that’s what acting is all about. It’s the actor who gives the character a heart and soul. If he’s just imitating the director, it’ll come across as hamming or at best he’ll resemble a mime artiste. And I’m not a very good mimic. So it works for me when the character is left to my interpretation. 

Has he spoilt you for other directors who may want you to do exactly what they want? 

No, in fact I think he’s taught me what acting is all about, he’s taught me the right way to go about portraying a character. If I had got used to miming, I would never have found out what it is to put your heart into a character or pull off a scene by being the character you’ve consciously become. I’m thankful to him for that. 

Do you end up giving other directors exactly what they want? 

Outside my home productions, I am just a hired actor. I will do exactly what a director requires because I believe it’s more important to satisfy him rather than seek self-satisfaction. I’ll try to convince myself about what he wants in a million and one ways and go ahead and do it. 

Do you work as hard on all your roles as you did on Rohit in KMG? 

I try to but it doesn’t always work out that way. For me it’s purely the initial excitement that translates into the eventual triumph or disaster. KMG or even Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai excited me because they offered me the most challenging roles you can do in films. It’s the challenge of doing something drastically different and risky that goads me to excel. 

There was no need to work too much on films like Yaadein, Mission Kashmir, Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage or Naa Tum Jaano Na Hum. They were just drawn on the lines of the star I had become after KNPH. They were using Hrithik Roshan in the tried-and-tested mould that had already worked. I was just reiterating what I was good at. So the excitement level was lower, it wasn’t scary and I wasn’t afraid about doing any of those films because I knew I could pull them off. I didn’t know how to put in more because they didn’t require anything more. 

But if you throw a KMG in my face, it sends shock waves down my spine. Whenever I used to think about Rohit, I would stand up; I could never sit and think about him. That’s how charged he got me. It was a very active thought process whenever I thought about him; I had to get up and pace my room a million times while I figured out his hair, the way he’d walk and talk. Even when I was brushing my teeth, my hands would move faster because I would be so excited about playing Rohit. 

You set very high standards for yourself. Does it irritate you when those you work with don’t match those standards? 

Yes, that is something I’ve experienced and have often found very frustrating. But in a passive sort of way because there’s nothing you can do except feel the frustration. Every cell in my body starts to burn when I realise that I’m the only person in the unit who’s trying hard to take the film to a different level. 

And which film was this? 

I’m obviously not going to name any film. But this is quite common without it being the fault of any film-maker. It’s something I’ve been through on and off on different sets. Sometimes it so happens that the film-maker knows the pace and rhythm of the film better than I do. So at the end of it all, I could be proved entirely wrong. 

I also know I have no right to feel that way because I’m unaware of the stress of film-making. I don’t even know where to start when you make a film. So I have no reason to judge them. 

Are you afraid of failure? 


How then do you cope with the fickle nature of this business? 

The only time I might realise whether I’m up or down is when I read about it somewhere. So it doesn’t really change how I wake up in the morning, the way I live my life or my relationship with my family. 

While we were shooting KMG, there were reports that I was finished. They would actually put a smile on my face. I work best when I’m told I can’t do something, that I’m not the best. It gives me reason to fight and I’m actually thankful to all my critics as well as those who wrote me off because without their help I wouldn’t have reached where I have today. 

Which is at the top? 

I don’t know about that but it’s a nice place to be. 

Can you tell us what Lakshya is all about? 

It’s the journey of a boy who has an aimless attitude towards life. He doesn’t know where he’s going and he doesn’t care. Until life shows him a mirror and he realises that every man has to lead a meaningful life, has to stand up for something, has to be driven, and prove a point to himself. How he finds motivation and purpose in his life and finally becomes a war hero is what the film is about. 

What was it like working with director Farhan Akhtar? 

Absolutely wonderful. 

Is he a strict disciplinarian? 

Well, there are two sides to that. He is a strict disciplinarian but then, I haven’t had more freedom on any other set besides Dad’s. Farhan gives his actors complete freedom to just be in front of the camera. And that is one of the reasons why you have such good performances in his films. He would rather direct with thoughts and make sure your interpretation is what he’s okay with than direct you externally and change your hand or head movements superficially. He’s a very mature man and he makes a film without any excuses. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s achieved the kind of success he has. I think he revolutionised Hindi cinema with his first film. 

Apparently, you had problems on his set and he ticked you off in front of the entire unit for being 20 minutes late. 

No, these are stories that have been blown out of proportion. Farhan is a very intelligent director and he wouldn’t do anything drastically stupid like ticking off his actors. 

Lakshya is over and you have no films on hand. So you’re currently jobless. 

In a way. Even though I’m not working as an actor, I have no time at all. I’m rehearsing five hours a day for my stage shows, then there’s the prep work for them. There are narrations, meetings and all this practically takes up my entire day. 

Do you manage to get more time with Sussanne these days? 

It’s not very different from when I’m shooting but I do get to see her a lot more. She’s happy that all the time I spent away from her during KMG has paid off. Now we’re both looking forward to our world tour. She’s my teammate and handles 50 per cent of my workload. All I have to do is go on the stage and dance. When I’m off the stage I’m a zombie. I’m totally dependent on her. I can’t do without her. 

In between shows, we hope to get a few days off for a short holiday and three days in Los Angeles after the shows are over. 

Have you two thought of starting a family? 

I am thinking of it but we haven’t planned anything. I’ve been working non-stop for the last five years and I haven’t had a day off to be alone with Sussanne. We’ve had some time together only recently so we’ve just begun living a married life. The first holiday we had in the past five years was when we spent a week together on our private island at the Four Seasons Resort in the Maldives recently. It was beautiful… if there’s a paradise on earth, I’ve been there. 

Did she feel the same way? 

It doesn’t work otherwise.