God Of All Things

Published On: 2013-12-18

Author: Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

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God Of All Things



Source: Verve Magazine 

Published: Volume 18, Issue 5, May, 2010 

By: Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena 



Ever since he blazed his way to stardom ten years ago, he has continued to fire the fantasies of his female fans with his various reel-life avatars – having turned a historical character into a pin-up hero, made stubble sexy, and dancing seem such an effortless art. On the eve of the release of his much-talked about offering Kites, Hrithik Roshan speaks to Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena about his sense of style, his ‘It’ quotient, and living life on his own terms May 2010:


It’s an important month for the actor, one that sees his much-talked about – for a variety of reasons – flick Kites hit the silver screen. And yet, despite a release after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, Hrithik Roshan is quietly working his way through his regular schedule. On a Saturday in April, he is in another zone, on another project completing his work for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s prestigious project Guzaarish, in Yashraj’s state-of-the-art studio. As he walks up the flight of steps to the first floor where the superstars’ make-up rooms are located, one first hears his voice break the silence as he hums the tune of the song that is being picturised on the floor below. His lean and lanky figure comes into sight, followed a few minutes later by his reel-life lady of the moment, Aishwarya Rai, who is crooning the same tune, almost in an echo-like fashion. Interestingly, all his moves are shadowed by a security guard, who vanishes, when we settle down in a small lounge that affords quiet and privacy. The freewheeling conversation veers over a decade spent in show business – for it was exactly ten years ago that the young son of Rakesh Roshan stormed the world of celluloid in Kaho Naa Pyar Hai – gaining glimpses into the man that makes the actor, the persona behind the landmark characters who have peopled his reel world. 



THE REAL.... Ten years: ‘At my own pace’ 


Flopping down on the sofa, Hrithik picks up the recorder, speaks in an unhurried thoughtful fashion, taking the conversation at his ‘own pace’, as he does all else. No wonder then he is not perturbed by the fact that he has not hit the marquee for over 24 months. He explains, “I do things the only way I know how. I attempt to give my best and be honest to myself. For that I have to concentrate on every single step which I take without any manipulations from the exterior or looking around at what other people are doing. If I could have my way, I would do ten films a year. But the films I choose gain such a mammoth scale, that they take a year and more to complete. I don’t chase money and I get very attached to my movies and I cannot get detached easily.” Lighting up (what turn out to be two or three cigarettes in the course of the chatathon and dropping the ash neatly into a small half-filled glass of water), Hrithik elaborates on his single-minded focus. His smoking is apparently also an extension of the role he is currently playing in Guzaarish – he is confident of stopping once his part is over. “When I started, I was doing three films a year in back-to-back schedules. But, it seemed as if I was doing 300 films, not three! With Koi Mil Gaya, I realised that I needed to concentrate on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking with films is absurd. It is not honest enough. I take up characters in films; I do not play myself. I am more experienced now, but I still have to be alert and attentive. The fear factor is always there and I want to be confident before I come on the sets that I have it.” His experience notwithstanding, at present, he is feeling almost as nervous as he was at his debut. Insisting that he is no different from all people, Hrithik says, “It is a blessing to be able to put a smile on a person’s face. It is something that I will never take for granted. I never use my fame to fill up my ego or make me feel more important. I am no better or lesser than the other guy. We are all the same. It is my work that gives me this larger-than-life image. I have learnt a lot. I have seen the highs and the lows. I feel as if Kites is my first film. It is like coming out of a pond and jumping into an ocean. The film has a completely different grammar from what I have done before. Anurag (Basu, the director) did not want me to do anything that I knew or was good at; he wanted to see my weaknesses. So when the character had to sing, it had to be my voice and I agreed to sing. It is not about how professional I could sound, it was how much honest to the moment.” 



Sussanne Roshan: ‘She knows what suits me’


The hot bod has never hidden his married status – from the outset he has acknowledged the existence of Sussanne in his life. Raising an eyebrow at the mention of girlfriends, Hrithik retorts with a smile, “Sussanne was my first girlfriend. We have lived with the label of marriage for ten years but I see it as 15 because that is how long we have known each other.” It is to her – by his own confession – that he owes his status of being a cool dude who carries off his threads well. “Fashion,” he says emphatically, “I don’t claim to understand it. I can’t take any credit for being stylish. Sussanne is an artist and understands colours and style. I have been trying to learn but I have finally given up. At most, I know what looks good on me and what looks wrong on me. I can’t conceive what looks best on me. She has a knack for doing that.” 



Sexy stubbles: ‘I don’t think about style’ 


He has a red cap on with an almost imperceptibly frayed edge (to keep his locks in place), is attired in figure-hugging jeans, a shirt and a jacket. No over-the-top effects and yet, his ‘It’ quotient is undeniable. Tell him that his traffic-stopping, ‘Greek god-like’ looks make him a pin-up boy for girls of all ages, and he says, “It’s a compliment when people say that I look good. I think it is here today and gone tomorrow.” Surely, Hrithik is not immune to the impact of the face he sees day in and day out in his mirror. “I don’t believe in looks. To be an actor, you have to be the character, unless you are doing a movie like Dhoom 2 where it is all about the looks. The realisation that I am good-looking has not yet dawned upon me,” he asserts. “My creativity as an actor is a reflection of who I am inside. If you live life with dignity, all that comes together to make you look good. Being aesthetically beautiful is something you can work on in the gym. But if you are ugly inside, it all does not matter.” 



Magical moves: ‘Steps look good on my body’ 


From It’s magic, Main aisa kyon hoon to Dhoom again, he has made choreography his middle name, almost as if he has no bones in his supple body. His laughter bursts out and, sipping on cool coffee, he continues, “I have had a passion for dancing since I was young but I am probably just lucky. I dance well because of my body shape. Steps look good on my body. There are many dancers who are better than me but I have a very high centre of gravity in my body, really narrow feet, so it is easy for me to tip over. I can look unbalanced and still have control.” Characteristically, he underplays his impact on his fan following who watch his every move on screen – and off it too – with deep interest. Hrithik takes his iconic status in his stride, brushing it off casually, “I’m just an actor, a human being. What people applaud in me is a reflection of the potential that lies within themselves. The fact that I am where I am is nothing less than a miracle. My vision manifested because I kept going. My journey makes me want to tell everyone that dreams come true.” Point noted. For Hrithik underwent a lot of ridicule in his childhood for his stutter and his physical abnormality of having a sixth finger on his right hand. Today, the former seems to have disappeared and can hardly be noticed and the latter is an accepted part of his persona. The star confesses, “I have had to look very deep into myself from a very young age. In school I was laughed at every day. I still have this stutter. It does not look like a big deal. But it’s like living in hell.” 



Gyms and body-building: ‘I have not much time left’ 


Hrithik can be found working out in his gym with a vengeance on any given day. It is a rebound from Guzaarish where he slipped into character and put on a lot of weight. “My waist went up to 36 from 29.5,” he says of what was a challenge. “I have to lose it all to get back to normal for my next film. I jumped from one extent of being completely healthy to unhealthy, just to put on weight. I binged on batata wadas and samosas. Now, I am going a little easy so my body does not take another thrashing. Guzaarish was probably the toughest film I have done mentally. I only had my head and mouth as an actor; I had no other crutches to make it easier.” 



On going on a ramp-age: ‘I am very shy’ 


The style icon has often been witnessed in the front row of fashion week shows and recently he even walked the ramp with wife, Sussanne. It’s not something that he would be willing to repeat alone. For, as he says, “I am very nervous. I am not a model. I have to practise on a daily basis to be comfortable doing that. I cannot be myself and walk the ramp. If I am left to myself without a character and dialogues, I am uncomfortable. I would do it only if Sussanne were with me. She is a natural at it and I get my strength from her.” What comes as easily to him as films are the many brand endorsements that he is seen doing. Whether he is playing a sexy Pied Piper of Hamelin or being the moving force of bikes, the Hrithik-factor is impactful. To him, it is no great deal for he believes, “Branding is a great way of making money. It is very easy to get enticed because of the money fact. All I look for is brands that I trust. You have to be extra careful to associate the brands that reflect the person you are.



THE REEL.... ‘I live my characters’ Jay, Kites: ‘He is so passionate...’ 


“Jay is good looking,” Hrithik points out. “He has a style about him that makes him a loner. Perhaps the clothes he wears are what I would wear in my regular life. He has got a bit of the gift of the gab, which I don’t identify with at all. I am not a smooth talker. He is a manipulator and is after money. However, I appreciate the fact that he is so passionate that he could die for his love.” 



Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, Jodhaa Akbar: ‘We manipulated his exterior’ 


No film buff will ever forget the scene in Jodhaa Akbar where a bare-chested muscular Hrithik practised his martial arts! And the moustache that he sported as the emperor – almost became a trendsetter of sorts. Akbar, the historical figure, was turned overnight into an haute hero. Hrithik recalls, “We were apprehensive because it was a historical and the aim was to have the college-going youth identify with it. That is when we came up with the idea of trying to make him real. We manipulated his exterior, gave him a certain walk and a strength to the movements of his head.” And, he admits, “It was a lesson for me in confidence. It was a challenge to me, coming from my experience of my life, to stand in front of thousands of people and command them. I wanted to explore that. But, I absolutely don’t identify with the clothes I wore for the film. I won’t be caught dead in so much jewellery. My respect for women has gone sky high when I see how they carry off all those accessories.” 



Aryan Singh, Dhoom 2: ‘He does because he can’ 


“Aryan is unforgettable,” Hrithik remembers. “He was a character who does because he can. He steals only because he is good at it. He does not covet things but just enjoys the journey. That was beautiful about Aryan. I was very much like that. I am very inspired by his example of learning how to let go. This popcorn flick was all about the exterior – I did a lot of workouts, worked on my style, my walk, and my appearances a lot. I had a ball playing all the characters with different looks – the old lady, old man and statue.” 



Krrish, Krissh: ‘I had to find my way’ 


A true superhero, the kind that kids look up to and idolise. “I may be a hero in their heads,” the actor says. “But you have to remember that Krissh has all the weaknesses but finds that one strength that he holds on to. It is a contagious strength.” At the point that this film was being made, Hrithik almost turned his back on celluloid. Flashbacking to those defining years, he points out, “Life is not about holding the best cards but how well you play the cards that you have been dealt with. I had to find my way too. When Krissh was being conceived I did not want to continue with films. In fact, in 2004, I had not faced the camera for a single day. I had just completed Lakshya and my handicaps got the best of me. I was like a fish allergic to water. It was making me sick. They were things that I will probably be able to speak about at length only when my story is over.” 



Karan Shergill, Lakshya: ‘It was all about finding strength in fear’ 


Young Karan Shergill came pretty close to what the actor was then. It reflected Hrithik’s real life search for his identity. The star rewinds, “It was a representation of my own journey when I had come to the crossroads of my own life. I was confused as a teenager and did not know which way to go. It was a question of fear and finding strength within that fear. Karan became a representation of the courage I had mustered to become an actor.” 



Rohit Mehra, Koi Mil Gaya: ‘I played out my life’ 


“Rohit Mehra was just me,” Hrithik laughs. “I just played out my entire life. It is the work of a very lucky child who got to express himself to millions of people. It ended up being magic.” Never mind that the loud shirt and trousers of It's magic is something the actor may never be seen in, off screen! 



Rohit/Raj Chopra, Kaho Naa Pyar Hai: ‘The script filled me with fear’ 


On his debut offering, Hrithik says, “Dad had a couple of ideas. I picked this one because it scared me the most. It filled me up with so much fear that I would have hated myself if I had succumbed to the feeling. Rohit was absolutely me at that point of time. I played that out as myself. Raj was this stud, this hunk who I was not. So there was a lot of craft involved in the second half. Post its success, I remember walking on to the stage in Crosswords in town, with my cap on, in a simple shirt and chappals. Everyone started screaming that I was the fake Hrithik, where were my biceps, where was the hunk? I said this is me, the character.

I don’t confuse myself with the persona I play on screen. I am not insecure about that.”