Miracle maker

Published On: 2013-12-15

Author: unknown

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Miracle maker



Source: Screen India 

Date: May 13, 2010 



My earliest memory of Hrithik Roshan is of an exceptionally lean young man greeting scribes politely at the entrance of the high-wattage music launch of his debut film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. No one was paying him much attention. Not until the songs of the film were played on the gigantic screen. The film was a resounding success and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history. Some of that phenomenon of creating a buzz without much fuss continues. Regardless of the hits and the flops, and because he doesn’t bother to hammer home his achievements at every given opportunity, Roshan, almost deliberately, slips out of public memory after every memorable or forgettable film like the proverbial dew in daylight… And yet, the anticipation before every film he stars in is huge. Even with the advantage of being an industry kid, he is among the rare few blessed with histrionic abilities, good looks and happy, dance feet, all of which usually add up to impressive collections at the box-office. The fuss, therefore, is understandable. But even Mr Dreamboat has faced rough weather at the box-office despite the success of movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... and Mission Kashmir. In the span of a decade, Roshan came perilously close to be declared a one-film wonder. A film glossy in fact declared him “Finished” after movies like Mujhse Dosti Karoge! (for Yash Raj Films), Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon (Rajshri Productions), Fiza and Yaadein (Mukta Arts) fell like ninepins. However, he more than redeemed himself when Koi...Mil Gaya and Krrish made by his father Rakesh Roshan worked their magic, followed by his impressive outings in Lakshya, Dhoom:2, Jodhaa Akbar and Luck By Chance. Kites, a home production helmed by Anurag Basu, is unlikely to be an exception. If it works, it may just set the bar higher. In fact, Kites is an ambitious project aimed equally at an international audience and an Indian one. Brett Ratner of X-Men and Rush Hour fame is re-editing the English version titled Kites: The Remix (without the songs), which will release in United States a week after during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. A total of around 2300 prints with around 85 in US alone will be released. Director Anurag Basu says that such a scale would not have been possible with any other actor. “He’s the only actor with an international appeal. The reason I tweaked the concept given to me by Mr Rakesh Roshan and introduced a Spanish character was because Hrithik alone has the confidence to pull it off. People say that he prepares too much but he did not see the videoassist for the whole film. His biggest plus-point is that he sees the whole film in totality.” The promotions on air and constant news of Roshan and lead actress Barbara Mori have generated a lot of buzz about the film. That could be a matter of interest with the cinema-viewing public at large. For the industry insiders (among them filmmakers Imtiaz Ali, Sanjay Gupta and Vipul Shah), independent of the rumours, the film is set for an impressive turn at the box office. For a pre-release interview at a suburban hotel, the actor turned out in blue denims and white shirt. He takes questions about an international foray with Kites. Excerpts: 



How would you describe your forthcoming film Kites? 


Contrary to all speculations, Kites is a simple, sweet, straightforward and honest love story sans any commercial manipulative screenplay gymnastics. It is not trying to provoke audience to clap or laugh or cry. It is not trying to be a Krrish or a Dhoom:2. Everything that transpires in the film is a natural progression of love. The screenplay is such that there is a time lapse and there are two different looks in the film. I play someone who is streetsmart and has the gift of the gab. It is a slice-of-life story. I don’t want to do commercially manipulative films. There are a lot of English dialogues because the guy has been brought up in Las Vegas. There is a lot of music and dance in western musicals that is integral to telling a story. I hope Kites will bring that back. 



What was it like to shoot for a home production without your father in the director’s chair? 


My father was like a father to all of us on the sets. He wanted to allow a young mind to give shape to his vision. It was his way of stepping back and growing and learning by observing the younger generation make films. Dad and I have always tried to raise the bar. Dad’s, Anurag’s and my instincts often converged. When it comes to teamwork, you either convince the other person or get convinced. Anurag was watchful and I applied myself totally (to his vision). 



As far as Indian superhero movies are concerned, the two of you set the ball rolling (with Krrish)…and now many more are following suit. What would you say about that? 


We stumbled upon an idea and the film happened because of the strength of that idea. The thought of an Indian hero flying around in a cape was not digestible…I sort of imparted enough confidence in people to not be afraid to carry forward their vision. Every film has its own destiny. Like water, creative work finds its own level. 



What was it like to walk the red carpet at Cannes (last year) with your film being a major attraction at the Indian Pavilion? 


My visit 13-14 years ago with my grandfather was a lot more fun. Last year it was a little unnerving. I was far from relaxed, which I realised was because I was trying to impress people… 



A lot has been written about your chemistry with co-star Barbara Mori …How was it to work with an actor with completely different sensibilities? She is such a wonderful actor that I had to be as good. The way she expressed herself before the camera was so honest and beautiful that it required me to unlearn a lot. I truly enjoyed the flight as an actor. 



And did acting in a film that will also release in non-Indian territories entail a different work methodology? 


Apart from all the work you apply to the craft, the decision was to make an effort to not watch myself, not to say my lines perfectly and not to follow the earlier rules. I went back to beliefs I have held as a child. To not know where I am going or how I would come out looking in a shot was the challenge. I lived in the moment. 



You almost passed up the chance to be part of this film due to your knee injury. 


Yes. A lot has been written about that. I had seen about 35-40 doctors for my knee problems, tried Chinese therapy, went to Finland and met quacks. Almost miraculously, the first day when the shoot commenced, the pain was less and within a week it was gone. 



Do you believe in miracles? 


Miracles are manifestations of your search and perseverance. 



You are working in Shekhar Kapur’s Paani, yet another international movie from India. Comment. 


Paani is in a discussion stage. I am delighted and overjoyed about it as almost 13 years ago, Shekhar Kapur’s Tara Rum Pum was supposed to be my first film. Life has come a full circle.



There is also Zoya Akhtar’s film Running With The Bulls on the anvil. 


Zoya is very easy to work with and she, truly, thinks out-of-the-box. Besides my father, she is the only director with whom I will be working again. 



You have, besides putting yourself in an enviable position, even made friends with once-rival superstar Shah Rukh Khan which is quite rare in a fiercely competitive industry…How did you achieve that? 


I don’t analyse the past and I don’t look too far ahead. I just follow my heart. The only way to find out your true potential is to go with your instinct. In this quest, I am trying to enjoy my journey as an actor. I don’t waste time comparing myself to others. I don’t agree with that. I would rather do honest films than those that are manipulated into being hits. True success is to follow your heart and be unafraid. Before Koi... Mil Gaya, all my acting was reference acting—with reference to some or the other actor. I enjoy the mystery of not knowing where my heart is going to lead me next. Finally, you come to terms with what you are about. Work is a reflection of what you are inside. We construct these little walls afraid of being judged. From God’s point of view it’s pretty stupid. I am no longer afraid of being judged. That (the fear of being judged) is something that has lost control over me.