To Hell and Back

Published On: 2012-04-14

Author: unknown

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Ashwin Varde (Stardust -Dec 2003)


When you are a phenomenon, sometimes, it becomes rather strenuous to stay afloat. The euphoria surrounding your divine halo devours almost every discerning part of your being. And perhaps, that’s a malady every superstar in this industry suffers from.

But Hrithik Roshan is not just any other superstar. And maybe that’s why, his priorities are somewhat different from the others. In the last three years, Hrithik has been to hell and back. One fine day, he was the country’s favorite heartthrob and then just as swiftly as it came, the popularity declined with as much alacrity. Then to prove himself all over again, and with such fierce and focused tenacity, is probably exemplary to say the least.

Hrithik Roshan’s could easily be one of the greatest comeback stories of our times. But the purpose behind this article is not to highlight that – we’ve read and heard too much of it already. The idea is to capture those moments of his life that made it all happen. The people who believed in him and stood behind him to help him reestablish his position as one of the nation’s finest actors.

The industry has witnessed the rise and fall of innumerable movie stars. There are some stories that humor you, some sadden you and some even surprise you. In Hrithik’s case, despite being the son of a successful filmmaker, he was never considered a star son. Before his first release, he wasn’t even considered to be in the reckoning. But the Roshan name commanded a certain amount of dignity and that mattered. “When my father was struggling, he would often visit the offices of producers. He was a newcomer but just because of the respect that people had towards my grandfather, people stood up when he entered their office,” says Hrithik. It was that legacy that became Hrithik’s biggest support in his initial phase.

For the young actor, that was enough but for the outside world, maybe not. In an industry dominated by the flash of success, approval only came with a fair degree of stardom. One remembers the time this magazine approached another high-profile star son (who was being launched around the same time) to do a cover shoot with Hrithik. And he declined stating that he would do it if Hrithik were pulled out of it. The irony is that just a few weeks later, Hrithik went on to become the country’s sensational new star while the other one even failed to take off. The Roshan boy shrugs it off. “I don’t like to doubt anyone. If somebody does something to me, I try to analyze why he or she has behaved in that manner. I don’t keep grudges; I don’t hate anyone. For that manner, I don’t even hate the people who tried to kill my father. If I ever meet them, I would want to sit with them and talk to them about why they did what they did. I am like that.”

Yes, Hrithik is like that. There’s always one thing that he does on each birthday of his. He makes up with someone he’s upset with – without fail. That’s his commitment to himself. “I believe that there are so many negative vibes around,” he justifies.

It’s this attitude exactly that has pulled him out of every mess he’s been stuck into. Most importantly, his career status that was on the decline and a subject of severe criticism. Overnight, a rank new actor was pitted against the much-experienced Shah Rukh Khan and when people failed in their own expectations they had of him, he was made the scapegoat. There were critics who ridiculed his performances and magazines that proclaimed that he was finished. Hrithik still held on to his dignified silence. “They were individual opinions and I have nothing against them. At that point of time, they believed that and I respect their judgment though I may not agree with it,” he says.

And then ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ happened. Almost like a second coming for the actor. It wasn’t just about silencing his detractors – here was a benchmark performance. Like Akshay Kumar remarked, “With ‘Kaho Naa..Pyaar Hai’, Hrithik proved that he was a star to reckon with. With ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, he established that nobody else could have carried off that role as effortlessly.” Probably, for the first time, in the wake of performers like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, there was an actor who got a standing ovation from the industry, towering above all competition.

But the secret behind Hrithik’s big-screen histrionics is his modesty. The actor is honest enough to confess that he’s not such a fine actor after all. “I’m more hardworking than talented,” he argues. That’s why he works on his roles with so much passion. He rehearses every scene before he faces the camera. And every time he isn’t satisfies with a shot, he spends a sleepless night over it. Like father Rakesh Roshan says, “When he was dubbing for ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, he was so disturbed because he wasn’t getting the tone right. He struggled with it for over two days. He kept trying hard until he got it right.”

Throughout this roller-coaster ride of his, the actor’s only pillar of strength has been his family. Most of all, wife Suzanne, who’s been there for him at all times. The nation was at a loss of words when Hrithik, at the peak of his career, decided to marry the woman he loved. In retaliation, allegations were hurled – some of them going to the extent of saying that he was being pressurized into getting married by Suzanne’s family. Coping with such difficult times was perhaps one of Hrithik’s toughest moments. But their togetherness has seen and overcome all of this. “It always hurt because it concerned my family and I hate to see my family disturbed over things that are not true at all,” he adds.

And then, the constant linkages with his co-star Kareena Kapoor. Not just film magazines but also newspapers, tabloids and news magazines added fuel to the fire – when they wrote with staunch conviction about the ‘affair’. But the Hrithik-Suzanne marriage withstood all the gossip. Two years after marriage, Hrithik is still madly, hopelessly and completely in love with his wife. “A lot of trouble could have been caused because of the lies that were written. But Suzanne had the maturity to see through it all. My family has always been my biggest strength,” he says proudly.

This came to the fore recently when Hrithik was away in Ladakh, shooting for Farhan Akhtar’s ‘Lakshya’ for over two months at a stretch. For the first time in his life, the actor was away from his family for so long, with phone connections also being sort of a luxury. If he had to make a call, he would have to walk a sizeable distance, which in return could jeopardize his health. But when he missed home far too much, Hrithik would take that risk. When they shot during the days, the temperature was as low as minus 15degrees centigrade. And to think that most of the shooting was done in the nights. “Physically, it’s been the toughest film I’ve shot for,” claims the actor.

It’s obviously a new beginning now – both on the career and the home front. Post ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, the actor hasn’t signed any new film. The only film that he’s shooting right now is ‘Lakshya’, which will release sometime early next year. The latest news is that Rakesh Roshan will soon be announcing his new film with Hrithik in the lead role once again. Maybe that will be second release after ‘Lakshya’. The actor is not in a hurry to sign films anymore. Now is the time when you’ll get to see the best of him.

But before all that, it’s time for a short break. That includes a much-needed vacation for Hrithik and Suzanne that may be on the cards soon. Probably that will take place once he finishes work on ‘Lakshya’. For Hrithik, work and play go hand-in-hand. And with wife Suzanne in tow, it’s always a win-win situation. Love conquers, after all.