Star gazing

Published On: 2013-12-14

Author: Sudipta Basu

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Star gazing



Source: Mumbai Mirror 

Date: May 12, 2010 



Far from worrying about box-office collections, the dishy Hrithik Roshan is on a new trip these days, notes Sudipta Basu It's a story about a gymnast who wants to win the national championships but half way through his journey realises the futility of it all. It's one of the stories that Hrithik Roshan has read in recent times that he feels is in near-perfect synergy with his mind. The book is author Dan Millman's No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior's Guide to Daily Life. The 36-year-old actor, on the brink of a much-hyped release, and currently on a multicity tour in the USA, prefers not to crunch numbers, and instead chooses to dwell on the “magical life that the subconscious human mind propels you to travel towards”. It's a lingo that manages to stun you, given that film-wallahs are known to stick to the tried-and-tested a week before a major release. Then again, given the puffs of dust that Kites has thrown up in the course of its making, perhaps it is tactful of the star to dwell on ordinary life. 


The actor refuses to be photographed, given that he is not “suitably prepped up” for the act. We try to cajole him into submission, urging that the processed pictures sent out by the PR-machinery hardly do them any justice, and this one is achingly beautiful. He enters the sunny-spacious family room on the ninth floor of the Roshan residence in Pallazzo, Juhu, flops himself on a large dark blue couch, lights up a cigarette and manages to offer a welcome relief from the décor defined by an overdose of silver. Craft has been at the heart of his métier as an actor - from looks to skills. It's been a decade since Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai; Hrithik spent years preparing for the big break and subsequently spent most of his waking hours honing his craft as an actor, even at the danger of becoming self-obsessive: he watched himself closely and had himself filmed at friends' parties, farmhouses, in the privacy of his room etc to perfect himself as a performer. While all that paid off with the first big success and a string thereafter, he realised that it was also time to unlearn. “With the new film (Kites, popularised as a heart-rending love story, but clearly commensurate with speed and action), I knew that I had to let go completely, something I had only sporadically touched upon in the past. I understood whatever I went through was only a preparation to get me ready for a role like this; right through films like Koi Mil Gaya, Lakshya, Jodha Akbar, etc… somewhere I knew that there was more to the world of acting,” he says. “All the craft I had built in the last ten years had to be wished away. Dhoom, for example, was all craft. But with this one I had to come out of the safety zone of a small pool and dive into the ocean,” says Hrithik. “I had to get used to enjoy letting me make a fool of myself. You follow your instincts and do what you have to do without watching yourself. The craft is to have no mind; you just jump off and fly.” That is pretty much in sync with the time all those years ago when at his father Rakesh Roshan's behest he applied for a course in special effects in an American university and when selected, he decided that it was too much of a safety net to live within. His father wished a more secure life for him much before either of them thought about Hrithik coming into films. 


Eventually, he tore up the acceptance letter, he says, for it was “going to weaken my thrust; if I had no safety net I could take that jump”. He bears no angst, he says, against the films that came between “Kaho Naa… and Koi Mil Gaya as those were the films where I was experimenting with forms set by senior actors.” That realisation resonates in his life as well. There are no bad experiences, he says, in between many cigarette puffs. “Films have taught me that life is a glass with a bottomless pit. You tell yourself that once I get an award I will be happy and you start filling your ego with cars, etc, as much as you fill into that glass. So then you must come to a point where you become aware that it is not about filling it up, but enjoying the process of filling it up. And then if you fill it up with that much speed it will always give you an illusion of being full and you live content,” he observes. “I have been watching myself very closely, and have realised that we are all looking for love, so why all the angst and retaliation?” All that sounds very well; so what would happen if he were to wake up one morning and find out that he is not a superstar anymore? Nothing, he says. Not true. “Yeah, stardom is a nice way to avoid queues.” 


What if you lose brand Hrithik Roshan? “Nothing will change; except that I will have to find a new way of putting food on the table.” People around him will change. “Life will get more interesting then. It will then be a challenge and interesting to see how this dot would connect once I look back at it ten years hence. It will make my life a story book and I will be the hero.” That is until he ceases to be the hero. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish, where he plays a wheel chair-bound dying man, a film for which he allowed himself to put on an inordinate amount of weight (he shows a picture of his rotund middle lolling over his belt on his Blackberry) is nearly done after which the actor gets busy prepping himself up for Zoya Akhtar's next, a film where three friends - Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol - take a road trip in Spain. Road trips offer valuable time off, time to map the road ahead.