Our own Superman

Published On: 2012-10-03

Author: unknown

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Our own Superman

Source: Screen Date: March 3, 2006 By: Roshmila Bhattacharya He’s been out of sight for over a year-and-a-half but come June and Hrithik Roshan will swing into the spotlight as a desi superhero, the likes of which, he promises, we haven’t seen before. Chatting up the hero with a heart who’s all set to make our hearts beat faster... Koi...Mil Gaya tapped the child in you while Lakshya was the boy standing at the crossroads of life. What hereto unseen facet of Hrithik will Krrish reveal? (After a reflective pause with a smile) Krrish will probably bring out the superhero in me. The first film I watched in my life from as far back as I can remember was Superman. Since then I’ve been an avid buff of such films and it’s always irked that even though our Indian culture and mythology has had its share of superheroes, our cinema has failed to project them as successfully. The urge to fill this vacuum is what drew dad and me towards experimenting with a film like Krrish. Like KMG Krrish too is another first for Hindi cinema and we’re hoping it will do as well and open the doors to many such unimaginable concepts. Krrish is our big dream but we’re well aware that it can easily turn into a nightmare because if I flop as a superhero I’ll never get another chance. Ten years from now, when you look back, what would make Krrish memorable for you? Training for the film is an experience that will stay with me forever. Tony Ching, the action director of innumerable Hollywood and Hong Kong projects, took me through the paces and I have to confess that I couldn’t have done the film without him. Krrish is a great combination of Chinese talent merging with the Indian soul. A nice balance of two cultures... You’ve worked very hard for it. I had to. Unlike other actors like Akshay (Kumar) for instance who is naturally agile and trained in the martial arts, I had to start from scratch and what’s more, had to compress 4-5 months of training into 25 days. And short of butchering me, my Chinese instructors did everything possible to make sure I learnt all that there was to learn before we went on the floors. Once we started shooting it was even more thrilling because it’s one thing to imagine a daredevil sequence and then execute it with precision and every safety precaution. Yet, despite every safety measure taken, something obviously escaped scrutiny when you were shooting in Singapore and put your life at risk. It was a freak accident. I’ve felt more at risk jumping off a stool than swinging across buildings at a height of 70-80 feet. (Shrugs) It was just one of those things. The rope I was swinging from, propelled by the wind, veered off in a completely different direction, grazed a sharp surface that looked as smooth as sandpaper to the naked eye but was actually polished iron, and snapped. There was one-in-a-million chance of something like this happening. The accident has made me like canopies more. I know today that if I believe in my work enough, there’ll always be a canopy waiting to catch me What was your first thought when you realised how close the call had been? It all happened so quickly. I must have been out for about 10 seconds. My first act when I came to was to do a quick check on myself. No bones seemed to be broken and I knew I was fine. I couldn’t turn because the canopy of the food court I was lying on was broken almost half by the impact of my fall, and dangling precariously. My thoughts then turned to dad who I knew had watched everything in dizzying slow motion and must be in shock. To reassure him I put my hand up and shouted, “Okay”, then waited for the crane to come and lower me to safety. Dad looked concerned when he faced me but all he said was “Okay?” I nodded. And that was it. Despite what had happened my confidence in my action director and his safety measures wasn’t shaken even an inch and soon after I went right back and gave the same shot again, without any fear. You’re never been a religious person but may be now, your near-fatal accident has reinforced your belief in a superpower? (With a twinkle) The accident has made me like canopies more. (Turning serious) I know today that if I’m passionate about my work and believe in it enough, there’ll always be a canopy waiting to catch me. You have to go on with life and not let thoughts of what might have happened but did not mess up something you can be good at. If reports are to be believed you’re playing six roles in the film that range from that of an old man, a young boy and a villager to a trendy Singapore-based professional, Rohit from KMG and of course, the superhero. (Shortly) That’s not true. Yes, there is a lot of association with Rohit and I’ve had to go back into his world for some scenes. That’s all I can reveal at the moment. You were actively involved behind-the-scenes during KMG to the extent of designing the space ship with the SFX team. Were you as involved with the production of Krrish? Krrish is dad’s film. He’s the director and captain of the ship. But being his son and the film’s lead actor, I was there to make his life tougher with demands like “Let’s do it this way” and “Can we do it this, pleaaase...” (Laughs) From the first shot of Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai to the last shot of Krrish, my relationship with dad hasn’t changed one bit. I wouldn’t want it to, ever. Working with him has always been a rewarding process...And we’ve shared the rewards. You once said that Lakshya was a far more difficult film than KMG. How would you explain that statement? KMG was a performance-oriented film. It had a definite, defined character and the entire film and there were so many crutches I could use to play Rohit...Childhood memories I could tap and children around me I could watch to fill memory breaks... This kind of a projected, in-your-face act looks difficult but actually is far easily because the odd one always stands out. You notice the solitary rose in a tulip garden and against a white background a touch of a black, even if it’s just a dot, will catch the eye. Since Rohit was different from all those normal people around him, I was always convinced of grabbing the viewer’s attention in KMG though I knew I couldn’t goof up. Lakshya was different? Lakshya was just the opposite. Farhan’s (Akhtar) first and last brief to me was that he wanted me to be myself. There was no preparation, no preconceived ideas, no pre-set goals...In short, no crutches whatsoever I could fall back on. Till Lakshya I had been protecting myself, afraid to let go in front of the camera without a character to hide behind. It was my faith in my director and my growing confidence in myself as an actor that lead me to reveal myself to the camera and expose Hrithik for the first time. If KMG was an outward projection, Lakshya was an internalized expression. I was “acting” all the time in KMG but I don’t recall a single shot in Lakshya as being a “great shot”. In fact, while shooting the film I never once went home with a sense of accomplishment of having “done something”. Whatever happened on the sets of Lakshya happened naturally...spontaneously. It was only when I saw the film that I discovered that without having set out to do it or even realising that it was happening, I had crossed the line as an actor. Today, if I’m more confident of being myself in front of the camera, I have to thank Farhan for it. How does Krrish compare with both these films? Krrish is not so much about one particular character as the film as a whole. No one actor stands out in it, rather everyone compliments the other and the film looks great in its entirety. (With a grin) It’s lifted by performances by some great actors and that doesn’t include me. You’ve started shooting for the Dhoom sequel. How does it feel for the good guy to turn bad? (Grinning) I’ve finally got the chance to tap my “other side” that not many have seen but, let me warn you, it definitely exists. It’s nice to know that people believe I’m a good guy but goodness can also be a clever tactic of an intelligent villain. You hated history in school so how did you agree to do Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodha-Akbar? It’s true I didn’t much like history when I was in school but now that I have a purpose, am acting out a part, I don’t find it so boring. There’s a craving for more information on Akbar. Did your brother-in-law Zayed’s wedding bring back memories of your own shaadi? Yeah, there were times when Suzanne and I would look at each other and be reminded of our own beautiful wedding. Often I couldn’t stop myself smiling at the memories because they were the best six days of my life. However, I have to be thankful that there was no skit at my shaadi though I played a small part in the one we performed for Zayed. This was the first time I was performing in a skit and it was a new experience. The star of the evening though was Kunal Kapoor and for once I didn’t mind being completely overshadowed. We were standing together. People were coming up to him and saying, “Wow, you were fab!” leaving me gaping. I told him to enjoy it while it lasted because this was the only time he was going to pull one over me (Laughs). Has the relationship changed since you discovered that she was carrying your child? The relationship changes everyday. You think this is love but a year later when you look back you realise that no, that wasn’t it, may be this is. We’ve never been this close... Are you wishing for a son or a daughter? Son or daughter I hope our child has more of Suzanne than me. (With a smile) For the sake of my son I hope I have a daughter because if it’s a boy I know I’ll make life hell for him by making him do all that I couldn’t do right. I’ll feed him tasteless, healthy food, put dumbells in his hands as soon as he is able to grab them and yes, he’ll have to be a star. If it’s a daughter I’ll let her be because I’m sure she’ll rock! Let’s wrap up with some slightly unpleasant business from the past. Abu Salem’s arrest must have brought back memories of your father’s shoot-out. Soon after the attack you’d been quoted as saying you would like to meet the man who had assigned it. You still plan to do that? I don’t remember what I said then. It’s been a long time and some of what I said was misconstrued. In the interim I’ve seen and heard so much that I know it’s impossible to point fingers at any one person and say with certainty he was responsible for that attack. Today, instead of looking back in anger it’s far more important for me to understand what makes a man pick up a gun and pull the trigger for a couple of thousand bucks. Today, I want to understand his motives because may be this knowledge will empower me. If I can understand the psyche of a criminal may be I can make some sense of a crime that even today I find completely senseless!