A Star is Born

Published On: 2012-03-20

Author: Patrick Biswas

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A Star Is Born : Hrithik Roshan


Source: Patrick Biswas

Q. Can you pick the point in your life when you decided to be an actor?

A. “I can’t remember a point. The only point I remember, I think… if there had to be a point, it must have been 10th January 1974. Because after that, I don’t remember ever a point when it dawned on me that 'let’s try this'. As far back as I can remember I always knew that I had to do this, one way or the other.”

Q. Okay, so you always knew that you wanted to be an actor, but did you ever imagine that you would ever be this super successful superstar?

A. “You are mad or what? I don’t think anybody could ever imagine this.”


Q. But did you ever dream of it?

A. “Dream of it? No, I don’t think I remember dreaming of being a superstar. I had this amazing passion for acting, this I knew. I had to do something in front of the camera. I love the idea of getting into another person and being another person and saying these lines and you know, being larger than life. All this had to do with the screen. The after-effects or the consequences of being a successful actor were never in my mind. I never thought that I should have a horde of cars or fans. I was always in love with the idea of being an actor. I never dreamt of these things. In fact, by the time I got close enough for taking the final plunge into it, I was so scared that I just wanted to get by. I hoped that I could earn my bread and butter with this because I had given so much of my life into it that it was too late to do something else. So eventually I was thinking ‘O s***t! What if this doesn’t work?’ So eventually, I was very scared. And, it was the fear only that gave me the drive to be good at what I was doing because I realised that if I am not good now I am dead, I mean I have not learnt anything else.”


Q. There were no two options?

A. “Yes, there were no two options. It was a hundred percent plunge, straight from the heart.”


Q. Did you imagine doing anything else if you wouldn’t have made it as an actor? Or let me put it this way: subconsciously you had decided to be an actor but consciously were you trying other things as well?

A. “Yes, yes, subconsciously I was sure, but consciously I was telling myself if this does not work out then I didn’t want a dead end. I would have done something in films only. I would have either directed a film or produced a film or done special effects. I would have specialised in some area of filmmaking. In fact, I had applied for a film course in UCLA and NYU. I actually wanted to go and learn special effects, especially miniature work and all that. I got the applications. I got the replies. But it is just then that I realised that if I do this and I come back, the fire that I had it in me at that time would subside. And when I come back and if I know that I have something to fall back upon I know that my plunge will never be hundred percent. I would jump but I would not be that motivated. To give your best it has to be a do or die situation.”


Q. Which characters have excited you of the ones that you have done and are there any particular roles that you would like to do in future? 

A. “Amongst the roles that I have done one has been that of Raj, the character that I played in the second half of ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hai’. And the other one was Amaan in ‘Fiza’. Both were very satisfying characters because they were not like me at all. And playing a character that is not you is taxing as well as satisfying. I enjoyed doing both of them.”

Q. Of the films that you have watched, which film left a mark on you and why?

A. “Most of Raj Kapoor’s films. Actually two people who have influenced me are Raj Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. Mr. Bachchan for the kind of persona that he had and the kind of films that he did.”

Q. What about Raj Kapoor?

A. “The goodness that he portrayed in all his films. The honesty the goodness, it always was so appealing. ‘Anaari’ is one of the most touching films that I have seen.”

Q. Were you a big film buff as a child?

A. “Not really. I haven’t seen so many of theses old Hindi films that are considered classics. Imagine I still haven’t seen ‘Sangam’. In fact, I have hardly seen films. It’s weird, because now there is a major backlog and I want to see these films and I have no time.”

Q. What kind of films do you watch now?

A. “I see a lot of these current films and English films.”

Q. Your favourite films?

A. “‘Pretty Woman’, ‘Life is Beautiful’ and ‘When Harry met Sally’”.

Q. What kind of music do you like?

A. “All kind of music. It depends on the mood.”

Q. Something that you can listen to anytime?

A. “Old Hindi film music. I think it is classy and timeless”.

Q. Coming back to acting in films, were there any special preparations that you did to get into films?

A. “Everything. First I got my photo session done without telling my dad. I knew Dabboo from school, I got it done from him. I waited for the pictures for I wanted to see for myself if had it in me what it takes. If I had the potential. But when I saw the pictures I was quite satisfied with them. I blew them up and showed them to my father and asked him that if you like these then I need seventeen thousand rupees to pay Daboo Ratnani. He gave me the money. Then I enrolled into Kishore Namit Kapoor acting classes again without informing dad. Once I started enjoying myself there I went to dad almost after three weeks and told him that I had enrolled in these classes and it is going to cost so much and whatever. And then I did everything that I knew would directly or indirectly help me in my work. That meant doing something for my voice. I picked up singing because I knew everyone says that the voice has to be good and what better way to train voice then music. I also went to these speech classes to improve my diction. There was this music teacher of mine who taught me music because he actually thought that he would get a break. I did things like horse riding and meditation and action classes and all the other usual stuff. I actually used to live with a video camera all the time. I used to carry it along with me whenever I used to go to say my grandfather’s farm in Panvel. My friends thought it was fun but I knew what I was doing. I wanted to observe how I walk, how I talk so as to improve and rectify some faults that were there.”

Q. You did a short course in Bombay in film acting. Do you think a course like that can teach you the art of acting or acting is an inborn talent?

A. “See, nobody can teach you acting but they can train actors. You have to already be an actor and going to these classes can help you develop your skills better. It also helps you to find out your potential. It can help you find out how far you can go with certain emotions. This is especially true of improvisation. Improvisations are the best things for an actor. It is so much fun to have the freedom to take the scene anywhere. And we have done that and it was so much fun. If you are with a good actor and if you are imaginative you can freak out. I never knew that I could cry before I did this improvisation with Mr. Feroz khan the theatre director. We had gone for these Anupam Kher acting classes and Feroz Khan had come to take this special class. All of us were there including Abhishek(Bacchan), Uday (Chopra) , Sikandar for this class on the last day. Feroze Khan was taking a class on improvisation so he set the atmosphere and gave us the whole story about what had happened before that moment and all that we had in front of us was a body and we had to imagine the body to be of a character who was a part of our lives. This body was supposed to be hacked into pieces and there was a ‘chadar’ on it. There were around eight of us and each one had to go one by one and go and stand or sit next to that body and just be there for as long as it takes for you to emote what you need to emote and then you come back and sit and watch the other one. All of them went before me and I was the last one but I was very relaxed because the whole atmosphere was so real. Feroze Khan had done such an amazing job of putting us there in that situation that I just went over my memories that are very close to me. And I went to the body and absolute magic happened. I have never experienced that kind of vent and exhilaration after a piece of act. I stood there first, and I was there for the next fifteen minutes. I was howling and I was so much into it that everybody thought that I was going to do the impossible thing of lifting the cover of the face and I was going to do it but I was so much into it that I could not do it. My hands were shaking and I was going mad, and Feroze Khan had to actually come into the scene as one my relatives to console me so as to get me out of that stage slow and steady. It was so true because had they started clapping or something it would have completely disoriented me because I was so much into it. It was awesome. After the act I got the best compliment of my life when Feroze said I wish I had a video camera to show the world what we have all experienced today because I have never seen anything like this. The hangover of the act stayed with me for almost two days. I had done the act with such conviction that for days I got up with this feeling of emptiness and I would think what is it about.”

Q. Once you made up your mind to be an actor did you approach any other directors?

A. “After I got my first portfolio done I made a list of the people that I wanted to work with and I want to go and approach them to tell them that I am here starting my life so if you have anything please let me know. At that time ‘Koyla’ was ready for release. For some reason he stopped me and I did not question him for I thought that he knows best maybe I am not enough prepared. So I waited and he picked up a script that got aborted. Maybe he had me at the back of his mind but I knew that he will not make a film especially for me. That’s when he thought of the story for ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hai’ and the writers told him that he needed a new face for that. They started working on the script and I was also involved but I did not know that I was the hero of the film. In fact I was sitting over there and I was imagining Shah Rukh or Salman and after every two scenes I was telling dad that it was not working. These people have done all these things in their first films they will look immature. He would look at me and say relax. Finally he told me, ‘son you are doing the film’. I could not believe; I was dazed. I walked out of the room and into my room and I knew that he would follow me and he did and he asked me if I was prepared to do the film. I said give me five months which he gave me and that’s how it happened.”

Q. How was it working with your Dad? Did your relation with him change due to the experience?

A Oh yes! I took a lot of time to prepare and be comfortable with him. In the beginning there was so much respect and awe that I was not comfortable enough to converse with him as a friend. If he would enter the room my sitting posture would automatically change. If he would enter my bedroom I would feel uncomfortable. Now that to me was a barrier because I had to act in front of him. I had to be myself like I was with my friends. So those five months I not only prepared myself as an n actor but a new relationship developed between my father and me. But for this I had to make a conscious effort and so did he. Though even now it is not like I would go and slap on his back and say Hi dad! But it is great now.

Q. On a personal note, you got married just when you had tasted success. Don’t you think it was a bit too early?

A. Actually if you look at it, none of the big stars got married late. Most of the people like Shah Rukh and Aamir were married even before they made it as stars. In fact, most of the stars were married at the peak of their stardom.

Q. But how do you explain this phenomenon?

A. Maybe it is right that behind every successful man there is a successful woman. Actually you can’t generalise. For me it was different. First of all you never know when cupid strikes. It struck me when I was 21 for the first time and the last time. In my heart and head I was married to her this was just a formality for us so that we could live under the same roof. 

Q. Has it also got to do with the stress of work?

A. Of course, there is always the need to spend more and more time with her. The one you love you want to be more and more with the person. Before marriage we used to meet in the gym for almost a whole year, as there was no time. She used to come and watch me work out. That was our fixed date every night. When I would be tired she used to give me a hug and then I used to go back home and sleep. Even now we meet in the gym but it feels great to take her home.

Q. How do all kind of rumor and gossip affect you?

A. It does not give me any stress as long as it does not hurt people who are close to me. In the Nepal controversy I had done no wrong so there was no reason for me to feel guilty. It would not have affected me one bit had nobody got hurt in it. But the fact that six people died in the episode makes me feel very bad. This is a fact that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Similarly in the case of my wife I would be very hurt if she is hurt. Especially with Suzanne I have a perfect understanding there is no way anything like this can have an impact on her. I am lucky and thankful to god. It is very difficult to be the other side of the star in the dark. What makes it easier maybe is the fact that on my part I am very honest with her. I think it is the best thing to do. I know there will be temptations but there is no choice. Her and my bond is like my father and mother. It is there and is there to stay. Nothing affects her love for me and my love for her. The key is not to suppress our feelings and then first of all our relationship of friendship. In the relationship between a man and women for a relationship to last it is important to have friendship. Lust is important but it does not last. Suzanne and me are the best of friends. I guess I am the luckiest person on the Earth.”