Master at Winning Hearts

Published On: 2012-03-21

Author: Ali Peter John

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By: Ali Peter John
September 22, 2000

Something like’s what happening to this young man happens just once in a way. There is no other way to describe the absolutely amazing success story of this dashing, dynamic and debonair actor, Hrithik Roshan. Hrithik the teenager who has always been madly in love with Hindi films (right from the time he was a handsome little boy), was sounding the clapper-board and pushing camera trolleys and looking after the welfare of the stares when his father, Rakesh Roshan’s film, is Hrithik Roshan, the heart-throb of the entire nation, even various parts of the world. He did it with his very first film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. He surprisingly and almost suddenly swept the millions off their feet. He set the millions of hearts on fire, made hearts beat at double their speed. He was the first to change his telephone and cell numbers from time to time. An unknown building call Kavita (just behind Amitabh Bachchan’s Prateeksha) became a place of pilgrimage for people from all over and even abroad. The girls and boys from the near by areas spend most of their time loitering around Kavita, waiting to catch a glimpse of him or even his room or his car or have a talk with his chauffeur, his other staff, trying their best to get the best information about their favourite. Some girls have succeeded in kissing his brand new black Mercedees Benz. A survey proved that most exercise books used by students in schools and colleges have Hrithik on their cover. Photographers and photo studios who have succeeded in clicking pictures of the phenomenon and have made copies are doing roaring business. Most girls, real-life stories say, that most girls used his photographs as talismans to be kept under their pillows. The postman on duty wonders what’s happening. He has never carried so many letter to Kavita in all this years, even when Rakesh Roshan was a star. Some of these letters are written by girls with their own blood, attesting them with certificates to prove that it is their own blood. He doesn’t like the idea of the four gun men protecting him all the twenty-four hours but he can’t help it. He has to follow the law. He was good in school, his friends and teachers say. He is good, well behaved well mannered even now when he was treated like a dazzling object from space. An object admired even by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee who invites him over to his house in New Delhi for breakfast. His second film, Fiza, which was awaited like very few events are, is running to packed houses all over. All running because of the magic worked by this young man who has spread light where there was darkness. He has till to pass a long list of tough tests but right now he is a craze of the times and this truth no one can deny. Excerpts from a talk with the phenomenon whose greatest enemy is time.

Do you believe that you are God’s choose one, that you are destiny’s favourite and success has adopted you? Do you think you could reach the peak without their blessings ?

Of course I believe the destiny has a soft corner for me in its great heart. I believe in God and I know God loves me. He would not have bless me with so much success with my very first film otherwise. He would not have saved my father from that dastardly attack on him. Success too has been very kind to me till now. I would certainly not be the Hrithik Roshan today. I am without them. I pray that I don’t make any mistakes that will make any of these powers change their minds about me.

How have you taken your unexpected success?

I must confess that it has taken me a long time to realise that I am so successful with my very first film. I know it is a great feeling to be the I am Hrithik today. But I also know that success brings with it a great deal of responsibility. The adulation and the expectations of so many millions, I have still not been able to understand. The advance booking for my second film, Fiza, which closed within hours from the first day proved that the people are expecting great things from me. I was both excited and scared at the same time. I have decided to take success very carefully. Hard work, sincerity are the guidelines which will guide me along my way, step by step. At this stage of my career when I should be somewhere in the seventh heaven, I am still thinking of the hard work and sincerity which I will have to double as I go growing from film to film.

How did you and your family feel when you were declared a major star beyond compare to day? At this point of time?

Elated, almost floating in the sky. What happened to my father ruined our mood for a while but with God with us we were able to take success as a priceless gift from him. It was a gift no one in the family had expected, not in a such a long way at least. The only man we all miss during this great moment in our family was my grandfather the late music director Roshan. He would be gloriously happy. He had a chance to see his sons, Rakesh and Rajesh succeed as an actor and music director. Can you imagine what he would have felt after seeing his grandsons success in such big way.

You are naturally flooded with offers now. How do you decide to say yes or no, both of which are difficult?

It all depends on the script. My first and foremost necessity is a perfect script and a good director. I am a product of the industry. I have so many relatives and friends and they all want to make films with me. It is difficult, believe me it is even painful some times. It is not humanly possible to take on every film that I am offered. I know it is very difficult to say yes or no. I have fortunately taken the right decision right from the beginning, the decision to do a limited number of films which means only films which appeal to me in every way. I have been a student of Hindi cinema and I have been a student only of good, wholesome Hindi cinema and I will try my best to do only those kinds of films. I have to hurt myself by saying no to some of my own friends, some of my father’s friends too but I have to do it. There is no other way if I have to make it as a good actor which is what people are expecting of me. I can feel it wherever I go.

How much does money mean to you? Producers come to you with crores. How do you deal with money?

Money, I know is very important, but it is not more important than the films and roles I am offered. I will think of money when money forces me to think of it.
What do you think about the competition, especially when people say you have made chhutti of all the other stars (left all the big stars behind)?
nRight now I am only worried about my growing up as an actor, trying to grow better with every film. I firmly believe that I have not even started on the route which leads to good acting, success in good acting. I am not a part of any competition with any of my seniors. I am not even competition with some of the very good juniors who have just come in. I don’t know who spreads these stories about my competing with any one. I don’t know what vicarious pleasure these people get out of them. 

Now, tell, me, how can I be competition for an actor the of calibre of Shah Rukh Khan. I consider him my guru. I have learned so many things as an actor from films when I was an assistant in my father’s film. I had the privilege of being the chaiwala of Shah Rukh and all the other stars. How can I even think of or dream that I have reach the status of Shah Rukh Khan. It will take me years to be any one like the chameleon and champion among actors like Shah Rukh Khan. It is the media and some jealous people who playing there dirty games, I think. They seem to have some thing against Shah Rukh and they unfortunately are use me as a medium to whip Shah Rukh for reasons I can never fathom. I respect Shah Rukh as a one of the greatest actor of our times and I am saying this straight from my heart and I hope Shah Rukh sir understands. I have taken to acting to act and not to create hassles for anyone any time. I hope this story ends as soon as possible. I have got better things to do.

Did your father pamper you while directing your first film Kaho Naa......?

On the contrary he was a very strict and disciplinarian. He treated me like any other artist in the film. The only difference was that he could whack me on my back in front of the whole unit whenever I make a mistake.

Now you are working with some of the biggest directors in the field like the showman Subhash Ghai and Vidhu Chopra and some others, what is the difference that you find in their work and you father’s work?

They are all different in their own ways. They have their own vision of cinema. And above all they have great respect for Hindi cinema and anyone who has respect for cinema I am sure will be the best in the world within a matter of years. I hope I am given the opportunity to make my contribution to that great Indian cinema to come. That time it will be a great time for all of us. But for that to happen we need a lot of good talent, lot of good directors, a lot of good music directors, a lot of good writers, a lot of good technicians, a lot people who love good cinema.

Is being selective the way you are not very dicey? Anyone else would have grabbed every offer that came your way?

It is, it certainly is. At this stage I will say that I am doing just a few films because I know I am the kind of actor who needs intense concentration to make my role come alive. I could have signed films by the dozens after Kaho Naa...... but I didn’t do it and I will not do it because I know my priorities. Yes, the experts say it is dicey, what I am doing is quite risky but I know what I am doing is right and that is what matters to be. Supposing you are not accepted by the audience in the couple of films you are doing of your own choice. What then? I have the ability and the courage and the talent to start all over again. I am made like that. I can’t help it. I will keep fighting to win to the end If its necessary for an actor to have a strong physique and be a good dancer and forget all about the basics of good acting, which is what, I am sorry to say most actors are resorting to these days?

Dancing and having a good physique are essential parts of the life of an actor. They are even considered as assets by certain actors but they can certainly not be considered as the only assets of a good actor. The complete actor has to be good in acting first. That’s why he is called as an actor. Dancing, fighting and all those acrobatics can come by the way. They sometimes even brand an actor as a he man for the superman, forgetting the actor completely. These actors, I am sorry to say, I feel don’t last long. 

What kind of roles do you prefer, roles where you can put your whole heart in?

I am professional actor. I am also a trained actor and I think a born actor too. If I have the guts as an actor. I must be prepared to play any sensible role under any circumstances. What’s the use of calling yourself an actor if you can perform limited roles only? 

What about the father and son combination will they come together again?

Yes, of course they will, they have to. My father who is loaded with so much responsibility now is looking for the perfect script in which we can both work together. His film whenever he is ready to start it, will be my first priority.

You have been trained as a director. Is it too early to expect Hrithik as a director?

No direction for me now, not so soon atleast. I have a long way to go as an actor. I have time on my side. I don’t think I will let my talent rust. It is too early to talk about the Hrithik as a director.

Your are fighting a tough battle with time. How do you manage time which some of the greatest in your profession have tried and lost?

I believe in paying all my attention to time. Time is the most important factor in the field of acting. I believe doing the right thing in the right time. I know it is very difficult to keep up with time in an unpredictable profession like acting but I will try because I know no one who has disrespected time has ever prospered in any way.

Is it too early to expect you and Suzanne (Sanjay Khan’s daughter) to tie the knot?

The whole world by .... knows that we are madly in love. Marriage will have to wait for some more time but marriage it will be between Suzanne and me, come what may. Will let you know when the time comes. If there is a thing, I am scared of, I am very scared about time. So, I believe every thing will happen at right time.

PS.: The day I meet Hrithik he is running berserk, trying his best to make the best of the time that is given to him by time. He is dubbing, he has a series of meetings, he has his packing to do, he is all set to fly to Mauritius the same day.

Time I know is going to have a very big say in his life and career. Time, as you know, respects no man, no emperor no mill-worker, no one who has no respect for time, Hrithik should know this great truth about life if he has ambitions which can not be fulfilled without the cooperation of almighty Time. I humbly suggest that Hrithik consults a man called Amitabh Bachchan who knows time, who knows just what to do with time and when, who respects time with all his heart, a man who has never hurt time and that’s why has never been hurt by time and never will.