Movie Magazine : Oct 04

Published On: 2012-04-30

Author: unknown

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Movie Magazine Interview : October 2004


Submitted By: Vanita


There is not denying that Hrithik Roshan is the most good-looking six-footer stalking Bollywood today.

He’s grown his hair (there’s a mop of curls all over his head), there’s a stubble on his chin, a hint of tan on his face (he’s just back from four luxurious days in Goa) and a pair of specs on his nose.

WOW! If all unemployed dudes looked like that, nobody would be working.

As the whole world knows by now Hrithik Roshan is the most celebrated unemployed actor known in town. Koi Mil Gaya (KMG) happened in 2003. Lakshya came and went in mid-2004. There were rumors that he was on the verge of signing Manish Malhotra’s dream musical but he isn’t doing it. His dad’s next film is still being scripted. He’s a heartbeat away from signing a surprisingly new project.

But the fact is, Hrithik Roshan is still on a luxury break he promised himself two years ago. 

Pretty extreme. At one time it was all work, no play. It seems to be all play, no work now!

“I almost need a break from my break,” he repartees. “I’m working on that now,” he promises.

There’s a buzz in Bollywood that every film being made today has a script that Hrithik Roshan knows by heart. He has scrutinized that many scripts this one-year and turned them all down, irrespective of banner, co-star or fee. His quest is simple: Any new film he does must have a script and role that take him forward as an actor from where he is today.

And yet he is willing to play blind to someone like Farhan Akhtar.

“Whatever Farhan will make, will be a film I’d want to do,” he states without complication, “because I just love the way he thinks.”

He says that despite the failure of Lakshya at the box office. Not disappointed with what happened the last time Farhan and he came together?

“No, because I knew the kind of film Farhan was making,” the thinking actor measures his words before dispensing them. “I knew the advantages and disadvantages and I had accepted it all much before the shooting had started. I did Lakshya cause I knew Farhan would help me come closer to being a better actor. And he has helped me come a few steps closer to finding myself as an actor. Before working with Farhan I was taking baby steps. Lakshya for me was a leap.”

Lets make this clear.

Does he mean, despite not delivering a blockbuster, he would still work with Farhan?

“I would do a Farhan Akhtar film without blinking an eyelid!” Hrithik confirms emphatically. “We’ve established an association where we’re used to each other. He knows the kind of actor I am and if he ever comes back to me, he will make sure that I suit the character to the hilt. I love the way he visualizes things and the way he expresses his thoughts, even thought it might not be very commercial. That’s his style, his language. Given that Lakshya was just his second film, I definitely think Farhan is going to grow into one of the biggest names of our industry. And hopefully, I’ll get to take a few more leaps with him!”

“Lakshya was the best thing to have happened to me after a successful film like Koi Mil Gaya. Lakshya gave me, if not more, almost an equal amount of feedback that Koi Mil Gaya gave me. The kind of compliments I got were shockingly right up there with KMG. I say shockingly cause I never expected anything to match up to KMG.

“So, disappointed? NO, I’m overjoyed with Lakshya. I could not have asked for a better film after KMG. It was definitely a step forward for me.”

Does this make it all more difficult to take the next step?

“It naturally does because there is a certain amount of expectation. And there is fear that I should not go through what I did 2 years ago, where I did films not because I was excited about them but because I thought it was work, it had a certain level of excitement and because I thought I should keep myself busy. I’m not saying that what I am doing now is going to guarantee success. But it will truly help me what I am truly about as a man. Because, for the first time, I’m being completely head strong about following my instincts. I’m not taking up work because it’s a big banner or because I need to or because it’s a relative making it!”

“I’m going purely by my instincts and I’ll probably end up doing four movies very soon! It could even be a cameo in a film it doesn’t really matter. And in due course I’ll know whether I should continue this way or whether I should go back to doing what I did 2 years ago!”

His instinct? A lot of people feel he is emulating Amir Khan?

“To emulate someone you need to know how that person functions. I do not know how Amir Khan functions. I do not know what his motives are, what his ambitions are. I do not know his fears, his strengths as a human being. So it would be wrong for people to say that I am emulating someone. I am only going by my own experiences, by what I feel is right or wrong for me. If on the outside it looks like I’m in the same space as Amir, I can only say it cannot possibly be. In any case, to compare me with Amir would be ridiculous. He has a far greater experience, his reasons to choose to work in a film are backed by far more intelligence and experience. It’s just my fourth year in the industry. Amir, Shahrukh and Salman have been here over a decade. So give me a break from comparison and all these stalwarts. I’m doing well at my level but it’s not compatible with what these guys are doing.”

Will Hrithik Roshan be working by the end of 2004?

“I’m hoping he does,” he laughs. “I need to hear that announcement much more than you do!”

One script that’s shaping just like Hrithik would like it to is his father, Rakesh Roshans next film. “Dad’s been sitting on the script regularly, for five hours everyday. It’s going to be on since January. There were a lot of problems and barriers but I think we’re finally through now. Dad will be ready to announce it very soon.”

The announcement will either come this year or by the time Hrithik turns 31 in January. 31 chronologically, but the actor looks astonishingly refreshed and younger by several years. “I think KMG pulled me back by a few years,” he jokes. “ For these 3 years of my life I have lived like a child. Maybe that’s settled itself on my face.”

There’s no doubt that picky Hrithik just has to enter a place to have the crowds gawking at him. it is, as he once causally described it, as if the conveyer belt has stopped- there’s a STOP BLOCK and only he’s walking through gaping crowds, self-consciously in slow motion.

Still, the complete hysteria that followed his debut, Kaho Naa..Pyaar Hai has given way to a more handle-able adulation. Does his miss that crazy hysteria? 

“No, I can’t say I do,” he frowns to explain. “I still get constantly surprised by the reactions I see around me. The reactions still don’t cease to surprise me. I still get surprised when I enter an airport and people start to recognize me and have any level of reaction to me. For me, it’s not something I’ve got used to at all. Like just before KMG, I had been away from the press for quite a bit of time. I hadn’t been attending any functions or public events. And we had to go to Delhi, Ahemdabad and other places for the promotion of the film. I was a little apprehensive. I didn’t know what was in store for me. I’d just had four flops in a row. I was skeptical over whether I’d be making a fool of myself, whether there’d even people be there to see me. That fear did crop up at that time. But what I saw there was more than I’d experienced in my entire life. I just wanted to jump into the crowd and give all of them a real big hug! That’s what I always feel like doing whenever I’m touched by this show of affection. In Lucknow or Kanpur in the terrace of the theater, there was an ocean of heads below us. It was phenomenal. I was seeing it after two years and it was like nothing had changed at all. It gave me so much confidence, it nullified my fears. They wanted something, so I took off my glasses and threw it. Then I started throwing cassettes of the music. Whenever something fell, the entire crowd converged on that spot. It was just like it had been after Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai. In Ahemdabad, we couldn’t enter the theater so we had to fly back without going in! This happened to me after four flops, I was really kicked! So, basically, all’s well.”

The fame ingredient is strong. But strangely co-existent is also the constant feeling of insecurity. “I like the feeling of insecurity,” he makes the surprising disclosure. There are new insecurities that come with ever phase of his career. And Hrithik basks in the challenge of meeting them head-on.

“The beauty of success is that the moment you conquer a peak and hoist a flag you suddenly realize that you are at the bottom of another mountain. So you have to start the climb all over again,” the actor describes the cycle of love.

In this need to peak and slide and climb again, Hrithik has gone from one end of the spectrum to another. From breathless workaholism to laid back abstinence. 

“Its not surprising,” he analyses, “considering I’m an extremist kind of person myself, so I think it goes with the character. I was desperately trying to find a space in between but I’ve sprung right across the spectrum to the extreme end. Which unfortunately is very me. What I wanted to do was to find a right balance. Since I have probed both ends of the spectrum, hopefully I will be better equipped to find the balance.”

While he looks for the balance, he has also gone home after every award function with a trophy for his impeccable performance. But did he feel a twinge of disappointment when he didn’t win the National Award for KMG?

“Yes, I did”, he’s startlingly human. “It started off as a joke that I would wave off saying, ‘Are you crazy, how can I get the National Award?’ but when you hear so much around you, people used to invariably come up to me after KMG and say, it deserves the National Award. But the end of its run, it had almost become a given that I should get the National Award. So yes, I thought there was a good chance, though I was still saying things like, its impossible! But when somebody else (from south) got it, I realized that I had actually hoped to get it because I did experience a sinking feeling inside me. It lasted for about a minute but for that minute I did feel it. I was quite surprised to feel that way because I’d never consciously hoped for it.”

It’s a feeling that’s long evaporated but Hrithik still cribs, “Even right now I am hoping that whoever got the Best Actor Award was really good. If I see his film and I don’t like it, then it’s going to bring out a really bad side of me!”

It’s the ultimate Best Actor trophy that he missed for a minute. But not for a second did he grudge fellow Mumbaikar Manoj Bajpai the special jury award.

“Well-deserved, I’d say,” he promptly comments.

What raised the hope temperature for him was the reaction of other people to his flawless KMG turn. “People said things like, for someone who is young and a big star to take such a drastic step and to pull it off were all points in favor of me getting the award. So I in turn use to think the same way, that there was a good chance that they’d first of all appreciate the effort. Considering that I did do well, I thought there was a chance for me to get it. And I was getting all the other awards. Maybe the National Award committee thought I was getting so many, I’d had my fill of awards!”

But the award did ultimately come to Hrithik this year wrapped up vastly differently. From the reaction of people like Shatrughan Sinha, Farhan Akhtar (“Who almost got angry saying how could they not give it to u?”), everywhere that Hrithik went he was asked how come they didn’t give it to u? “So I enjoyed that reaction as well!” he grins.

“But what was really sweet was the night that the National Awards were announced Shah Rukh called up. He spoke to Sussanne and asked how I was doing. He being an actor, whom I presume, must’ve gone through the same thing of being sidelined for the National Awards, spoke to me and told me that in his view I deserved the National Award more than anyone else! It bought back the smile to my face. Here was a man whom I really respect as an actor. And coming from him, that by itself was sort of like a National Award for me!”

So hurry back to work- and try for the coveted trophy once more. Dogged determination has always wrought its magic, hasn’t it?