Man's World Interview

Published On: 2012-04-26

Author: unknown

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Hrithik Shining


Source: Mans World Magazine

Submitted By: Vanita


His role in Koi Mil Gaya made him the darling of both critics and viewers all over again last year, would he do the same with Farhan Akhtar’s much awaited film Lakshya, which hits the theaters this month?

Fame is a funny thing. At the moment you conquer, it enslaves you. Hrithik Roshan knows that only too well. This is why his future gazing has to do with Hrithik, the man. The actor and the star appear almost afterthoughts. 

With every accolade he takes a step on the side of caution. Every triumph means some soul-searching. An award is “exhilarating, satisfying, exhausting”, but the feeling lasts for five minutes.

“I am trying to see what it actually means to me,” he says referring to the Best Actor trophy at the International Indian Film Academy in Singapore. “Every success brings new things to prove.”

He should know although he debuted with a blockbuster in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (KNPH), directed by his father Rakesh Roshan, his next few releases had a m8ized reception. Even though the notices were favorable in sloppy duds like Mujhse Dosti Karoge or Aap Mujhe Ache Lagne Lage, and he managed to hold his own against veterans Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan in K3g, but the media pundits looked solemn about the loose-limbed poster-boy. Till Koi…Mil Gaya (KMG) hit the screens and the jadoo of the Roshan pair worked again. Hrithik swept top acting honors. 

His home is unobtrusively elegant. And the living room talk has a clever nonchalance that passes off as homely. Family photographs are placed in two corners but the superstar portraits are not in evidence. A polite house-help is. It could be the home of any well-off Mumbaiwallah. 

Hrithik conveys a lack of artifice that seems genuine. Till this point, he has handled his own phone calls, dispensed with the usual clutter of secretaries and PROs have not made an appearance- and he even calls back promptly to signal short delay in the appointment.

“I am just glad I had the first hit and then flops. There are a lot of actors who have never had the first hit after being introduced. I was riding a wave of success for a long time with KNPH,” he says as he settles into the sofa. “I became a huge star with the release. Then Fiza made me an actor. Even when my films did not do well, I was always appreciated.”

But the moment the films failed to seduce the box-office, the knives were out. Did he ever think it was the end of the road for him? “It was a section of the media that kept saying I was finished. Magazines like Showtime and Stardust put me on the cover with the headline ‘FINISHED’.Yet I was selling their magazine. The paradox made me smile.”

It also goaded him on. “I operate best when I am told that I can’t do this or that, it infuriates me.” Did he ever think of quitting? “The only time I felt like quitting was when Dad was shot, after my success,” he claims, “I kept getting a huge feedback for my work. If they had said I had done a bad job, it would have broken my confidence but my performance was always praised.”

Of course considering the impeccable filmi lineage, he had probably very little choice. His paternal grandfather was music composer Roshan, his maternal grandfather hit-film producer J Om Prakash. Even as a struggling actor, Rakesh Roshan, would find people rising to greet him out of sheer respect that his father commanded. It’s a lesson that has stayed with Rakesh’s son. His inspiration is his parents. “My grandfather chose my father as his son-in-law over actors who were superstars because he saw in him a man of mettle.”

With that gene in him, and while everyone was plucking petals of his budding career, the light-eyed actor kept his head low as he worked on his father’s second film with him in the lead, the extraterrestrial inspired Koi…Mil Gaya. “I was so deep into something I loved so much, I was living my dream. Those two years after my films flopped were the best years of my life. KMG brought me closer to finding myself as an actor. Even when I’d brush my teeth, my hands would go faster because I was going to the sets to be Rohit. Strange how things work here. At your lowest lever, you might look your best and do your best work. But people thought I could not handle it, for I had lost 7 kg, had braces on my teeth and my hair was awkward. I was of course preparing for KMG. I ended up with both critics and popular awards. Now I have come full circle.”

Someone else, who was not paying attention to the gossip about Hrithik’s ailed films, was another young man whose destiny had wedded him to films. Fresh from the success of Dil Chahta Hai, Farhan Akhtar decided that the actor’s physique and the ability to convey an emotional vulnerability were best suited for the character of Karan Shergill, a rich Delhi boy who joins the army in his new film Lakshya. “ When Farhan came to me with the script, I was most excited because it would be his second film after DCH, which is one of my all-time-favorites.” The story is set against the backdrop of Kargil War, and Hrithik spent his preparatory days reading as much as possible on the war. “Working with Farhan was a great experience. Farhan would never ask for a particular way of doing a scene. He respects your interpretation even if he disregards it.”

Lakshya’s promos, particularly the songs featuring Hrithik has already created a lot of buzz. Dancing to Prabhu Deva’c choreography however was tough. “But I seem to have managed well, going by the feedback the promos have received particularly the song Main aisa kyun hoon,” he says, he does not consider himself a good dancer. “Dancing is a touchy topic and I know I sound like some boy who got 99 percent and is cribbling about missing the 1 per cent. But I’d be embarrassed if the country were to be represented by Hrithik Roshan in dancing. It would be disastrous. Say Michael Jackson or Prabhu Deva and I am no where in the picture!” 

So what do you think you are really good at, I cannot resist asking. He thinks. “Damn. There must be something I am really good at. (Pauses) Thanks a lot, you made my self-esteem nose-dive. Hang on. I am great at forgetting faces and names. I am good at dreaming. And I am good at judging people and situations. Finally, I am good at something!” he says, exuding the now typical Hrithik Roshan self-deprecating charm.

He was always a shy kid, kind who loved spending time with himself. “I still do that. Ineedto do that, need time to think.” But a lot of that time alone was spent with the camera. The pictures he thought were revealing. “I say this as humbly as possible but I thought I had something that I could show the world and I had something that the world had got to see.” So when did he think of becoming an actor. “I was the last person to know I wanted to be an actor. Others knew before I did, it just got projected that way. I had begun to get offers. I was 16v when Rahul Rawail offered me a film. But since my father had once been ac actor, it was there in the back of my mind that I would some day too,” he says.

He says he is still trying to prove his worth to the world. “There are two ways to do things,” he says, expounding on his personal philosophy on life and work, “for love of out of fear. I am not at a stage where my hard work is not driven by fear anymore. I want to do something for the love of it. I am developing my talent for myself. And in this process both my mind and body are completely involved. I have always believed the hero in his personal life has to be equivalent of what he portrays.” 

Is there anything he does out of fear? “Yes”, he says, “reading.” He is taken to reading a lot these days.” I got and ask people who actually read, like Shah Rukh or Abhishek or Kajol what to look for. Then I buy a whole bunch of books and every time I finish one it sits proudly on the mantle. Right now I am reading Homer’s Iliad. If not anything else, that should make him a rare entity in Bollywood, a well-read actor.