'The toughest film of my career' : Hrithik

Published On: 2013-05-22

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‘The toughest film of my career’ : Hrithik Roshan


Source: HB



He's an iconic figure and his fan following extends across continents and age groups. He's ridden the crest of unparalleled success with his debut film Kaho Na Pyaar Hai and has gone through tough times when successive films failed to live up to box-office expectations. Critics had been quick to write him off as a `one-film wonder'. But Hrithik Roshan is not someone who gives up easily. Playing the role of an autistic boy in Koi... Mil Gaya, he proved that he can perform and keep the cash registers ringing at the same time!


This June, the much hyped and much anticipated Javed Akhtar film Lakshya, in which Hrithik plays the role of a young man who discovers himself against the backdrop of the Kargil War, was released. And critics have been at their job once again... proving that wether you love him or hate him, you just can't ignore him! Audience reaction to the film has been mixed. While some appreciate the message of the film that certainly engages attention, even if it is slow to excite, others view it as a let down after the neatly executed Dil Chahta Hai, also directed by Akhtar.


So what does Hrithik have to say about the Lakshya experience and what does he feel about his own role and performance in the film? Taking time off from a hectic post-release schedule, which is taking him to several parts of the country, Hrithik agreed to Life a telephonic interview and answered each question with care. "I am very happy with the reactions I have received for my performance in the film. It's way beyond my expectations! The reviews I've got have been the best of my career so far," he says. "I am very thankful to the critics, fans and everyone who called me up to tell me how much they appreciated my efforts. I feel grateful to Farhan for tapping a part of me that I thought was non-existent. I think he has somehow helped me to grow from my earlier approach to acting."


For an actor who has worked with a galaxy of Bollywood big-time directors from Subhash Ghai and Karan Johar to Tanuja Chandra and of course his own father Rakesh Roshan, what drew him to Akhtar's second project? "When I saw his Dil Chahta Hai, it instantly became my all-time favourite Hindi film. Reading the script was just a formality. I knew I just had to do this film because it was being made by a director for whom I have a lot of respect. And, he was also a friend. Things worked out perfect and we began work on Lakshya right after Dil Chahta Hai," he says.


How does he compare his performances in Koi... Mil Gaya and Lakshya? "Koi... Mil Gaya was easier. The day I went over to Farhan's place to discuss reference points for my character, the meeting lasted three minutes! He just looked at me and said, `I want you to play it like you. I see you in the character... Karan is you.' Preparing to play myself was the toughest role of my career. The hardest thing to do is to lose your inhibitions and just play yourself in front of the camera. Most actors hide behind a character and that is a lot more easier than exposing yourself, not knowing if it's right or wrong," he says.


The film is a journey of self-discovery of the hero Lt Karan Shergill. Apparently it's been a journey of sorts for Hrithik too. "The film has taught me all about courage, commitment, responsibility, strength of character and loyalty. I was quite embarrassed when I was first introduced to the army way of life through this film. I had never realised until then how ignorant we are, living a life of luxury and taking things for granted. I felt quite ashamed and I hope this film creates an awareness about how much our armed forces do and how little they do it for," says the actor who trained extensively at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun for the role.


Recalling those days he says, "I had a great time at the IMA and we bonded a lot with the cadets. The protocol and discipline there is unbelievable! Shooting the passing out parade with the cadets, we were amazed to see them go without food and water from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., standing at attention throughout! It has made me more aware of my physical and mental shortcomings and has given me a chance to better myself in many ways." Recounting the physical challenges the film put him through, Hrithik says that at certain times, "scaling those cliffs when no one could even harness me for safety, I thought I was experiencing the last few moments of my life and even asked myself whether I had lived a good life! And I consoled myself that at least I would die with my boots on if anything happened to me," he laughs. Even the chart-topper Main Aisa Kyon Hoon, choreographed by Prabhu Deva, was a tough act to follow. Recalls Hrithik, "I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do his steps! But he made me feel completely at ease and gave a lot of leeway for changes. He had no airs and kept us in splits on the sets!"


Ask the actor what success means to him and it's clear from his response that he has learnt to take the brickbats together with the bouquets early on in life. "I don't take success very seriously. I am happy I am considered successful, but I don't know what true success is," he replies pensively. "Kaho Na Pyaar Hai was a success I didn't really enjoy very much. With Koi... Mil Gaya I'm enjoying myself and I trust this success more than the former, which was more like a craze. Success is just one aspect of a circle. You keep going in a loop. You go up, come down, and then have to fight again to reach the top! And I think true heroes are those who rise after a fall. I am thankful for having an opportunity to rise again. I wouldn't have enjoyed my victory after Koi... Mil Gaya so much if I hadn't gone through a low phase after Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. More than success, I am looking forward to the opportunity to prove myself again. Basically this means I'm looking forward to the low phase again which is inevitable."


He adds that when one is "on top of the world, you lose focus. It's only in your lowest moments that you recognise the truth in life. All the unimportant things filter out and you recognise your true priorities. The thoughts you carry with you then make you a better person." So what's his next lakshya? "My next step should be my best one. That's the way I live my life. I don't plan 10 years ahead," he says. Would a negative role interest him? "I am certainly excited by the idea of doing a good role which is negative," he shoots back. About his next venture he says, "Dad and some others are working on some ideas but it's not official as yet. However, there maybe a new film on the floor in a month."