Face to Face : BBC 2000

Published On: 2012-03-17

Author: Karan Thapar

Media Link:

Hrithik Roshan



Courtesy: BBC World


"I have got more than I deserved." 

Karan Thapar speaks to the heartthrob of the nation Hrithik Roshan on BBC's talk show Face To Face 

Q: A year ago Hrithik Roshan was unheard of. Then Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai happened and the whole world changed. Was it upsetting? 

A: Well I shouldn't complain. I have got all that I strived for. Of course it is tough. I didn't expect it to be this way. I have got more than I deserved. I am getting used to it . 

Q: Tell us the beginning of the Hrithik Roshan story. Apparently you were stubborn as a child and hated milk and school? 

A: Yes. I used to run from milk. I was skinny as hell. I used to sometimes throw milk into the basin. 

Q: Were your parents strict? 

A: I wouldn't say strict. I wasn't stopped from doing anything I wanted to do. There was a certain amount of discipline. I had to be back home by a certain time. There were things I could do and things I could not do. 

Q: Your first film was Aap Ke Deewane but your real first role was in Bhagwan Dada? Do you remember it? 

A: Ya. I was 11 at the time, I think. My grandfather was directing the film and he was looking for a boy. I got the role as the boy selected fell ill and as I was sitting in the hall then, he asked me. I was thrilled. I thought it was fun - the cameras. Then it was just fun. It wasn't serious. I was just fascinated by the whole thing. 


Q: Your father wanted you to study. Have a profession outside acting. 

A: He never would have stopped me from doing what he wanted me to do. But as a father he was protective. He had seen the struggles in the industry for 20 years, been through phases of having no money. So he didn't want me to go through that. He wanted me to have something to fall back upon. 

Q: How did you convince him? You had a scholarship to US. 

A: At first I agreed to go, thinking when I come back, I could what I wanted to do. Then I realised I was running away. If I have to do something, I have to give it my 100 per cent. So I told my dad that I could not go. You've struggled for 20 years. I am ready for it too. I am your son, trust me. That's when he let me. 

Q: That's when you began assisting the director? 

A: I was already doing that. I was assistant director for five years. I still feel I am assisting. All through KNPH, I hardly felt like the hero. Those days were tough. 

Now they look like fun, at that time it was hell. There was no special treatment at all. 

Q: You also joined a couple of acting schools quietly. 

A: It was during the end of my assisting phase. My dad was shooting for Koyla and I thought to myself that it's time. I have to find out. I want to do it but can I do it. At first I got a photo session done with Daboo Ratnani, a friend. I showed the prints to dad, who just loved the pictures. I wanted to make a portfolio so that I could show 

the people I wanted to work with. 

Q: Not your father? 

A: My father? No. No. Not at all. Because I knew he would not compromise.

Q: What was your reaction when he told you about KNPH? 

A: My heart just skipped a beat. It was completely unexpected. I thought I heard it wrong. I had to leave the room. I was very confused and nervous as hell. But when my dad asked me whether I was ready, I said I am ready. Because I knew 

this was my opportunity. 

Q: What did you do to prepare?

A: Everything I could think of that could directly or indirectly help me in acting. I did crazy things. I took up meditation - though not related to acting, I thought it would help me focus more, help me train my mind, relax. I took singing classes, not that I can sing now. I trained my voice in every which way I could. 

Q: The famous Hrithik physique was born at that time? 

A: Ya. I don't know about the famous part. It's nothing much, as you can see. I knew that physicality was very very important. In the film that I was being considered for, 

there was a double role - Rohit in the first half and Raj in the second half. So I thought it would be nice if I could physically show a difference in the two characters. I was training myself for about a year. As I said I did everything I could think of. I had to do everything, whether it was to call up Salman, who was Salman Khan, who was a star then and did not know me though I had worked with him as his assistant. I started by asking who's the best in the business. Salman. I have to try this. 

Q: How nervous were you when the camera started to roll and you had to give your first shot? 

A: I was very anxious, and yes I think I was nervous. I did not talk at all to anybody. I had a walkman on. I could do my first shot in one take and that's what got me 

going. Believe me, if that first shot had not gone right, things would have been different.

Q: Halfway through the film, you thought the Rohit-Raj role was dramatically lacking. You wanted more out of it? 

A: Ya. I thought the girl's role was better. I had got nothing to do. I was laughing or looking good or wearing good clothes or dancing. How do I show the people I can 

do this. Dad of course said I am not making the film to launch you. I am doing what best suits the role. I have an idea. You just happen to my son who's acting in the film. That's how it is. He never let me deviate from the fact that he was making his next movie. 

Q: Could you have ever imagined that KNPH would be such a runaway hit? 

A: No. 

Q: When did you suddenly realise that you have probably produced the biggest hit for 10 years? 

A: It still has to sort of sink in. It was so unexpected. I knew the film was good and I prayed to god that dad and I get what exactly what we deserve and nothing more than that. 

Q: There was a lot of family money on the film? 

A: Yes. The house and the cars were mortgaged. But I didn't know about it. When dad had produced his first film, Khudgarz, he had mortgaged the house and he had to do it all over again to launch his son. 

Q: The next roles were so completely different. Was that deliberately so? 

A: It was not deliberate. It was the scripts. I am an actor. I just want to enjoy my act. It doesn't matter if I am not playing the hero. It just has to be interesting. So much energy goes into playing a role; everything has got to be right. 

Q: There was the tragic assassination attempt on your father. That must have been hard on you?
A: Yes. It was totally unexpected. I had not even started enjoying the success of the film and this happens. I was waiting for the film papers to say it was a hit, all set to have a par ty on the first Friday after the release. I was ready to let my hair down and have a good time. When he was shot he called to find out whether I was okay because he wondered whether there was a simultaneous attack on the family. So he called me up and I was training at a gym. He sounded very scared. He told me to stay where I was. He told me he was shot and that he was going to the cops. It took me a second to realise that he should not be going to the cops; he should be going to the hospital. I told him to go the hospital, but he was so angry, he didn't want to let those guys get away. So he went to the police station and they took him to the hospital, where he collapsed. 

Q: He was seriously injured, wasn't he? 

A: A bullet just grazed his heart, stopping just next to the bone. It was very close. 

Q: You withdrew from acting for a while. What made you change your mind?

A: At that time I was shooting for a song for Mission Kashmir, Bhumro. I was dancing, rehearsing when I caught my reflection in the mirror. Suddenly I stopped and said, what am I doing. My father's in the hospital. Why do I need to do this. I'm dancing? I just felt very dirty. I said to myself I don't want to do this. What happened was because of the movie business. It was the fame, the success of the film that probably made somebody jealous. It was somehow related to the film. I didn't want to do films anymore. I just walked out. I didn't go for about for days. But I realised it would be the easier thing to do to quit. I would be harder to go on. I just said to myself, somehow they want me to stop and I don't want to do that. 

Q: It is said you are shy, introverted. Is that really so? Are you comfortable with the fame that surrounds you?

A: I was very very shy, still am. I've got over a lot of my inhibitions. Before I entered this career, I could not even go out to get a haircut. I would make my mom do it. I love being by myself. 

Q: Is this fame disconcerting, frightening? 

A: It is, but as I said, you just have to find a way out. I don't blame anybody. This is what I hard for. I just have to find a balance. 

Q: The speech you made at last year's Filmfare Awards was a touching one. Are you an emotional person? 

A: I guess. At that time, what my family was going through, anybody in my position would have touched as many chords. 

Q: How do you explain the popularity to yourself?

A: I don't waste time doing that. I take life one shot at a time. If I start doing this, I would just waste time as there is no answer. I don't worry about losing all this. I know how good or bad I am. I know what my worth is. I know I have got more than I deserve. I know people are going to want some of what they have given me back. 

Q: It is also said that Hrithik Roshan doesn't like the way he looks. Is that just modesty or do you seriously believe that? 

A: It's late to talk about that now. It's really irritating. It takes a lot of effort to look good. I am not worried about looks where my acting, my career is concerned. The 

only things that worried me were photo sessions, where there were no emotions to go by. Like a glamour shot in a film, where the hero turning to the camera and walking into the frame or something. I hate it. It makes me nervous. There are no emotions, no dialogues, nothing to go by. You just have to look good and that's the toughest thing in the world. 

Q: You are going to get married. Is that true? 

A: Yes. I can afford it now; I had to know where I was going. I have three days off in December and three in January. It will be then. It depends on which of my producers gives me a little time so that I can get away from here for some time. 

Q: The lucky girl is Suzanne Khan. What is she like? 

A: She's the part of my life that I like to keep to myself. 

Q: Where did you meet? 

A: We always knew of each other. Lived in the same locality and had mutual friends, but were not childhood sweethearts. I just knew of her. First time I spoke to her was I think around 21, when I actually saw her at a traffic light and I pulled up beside her car. I just mentioned it to a friend, and the friend said she mentioned the same thing to me. 

Q: Sounds a bit like KNPH? 

A: Ya. I freaked when dad conceived the first meeting of Sonia and Rohit. I thought, has someone told him. He didn't know at that time that I was seeing Suzanne and I was afraid. It had just been three weeks. It was weird.