'I consider myself a labourer' : Hrithik

Published On: 2014-01-26

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'I consider myself a labourer' : Hrithik



Source: TOI 

Date: November 19, 2010 



The Greek God of Bollywood thinks he's a labourer, has no tantrums, has never had a fight with a co-star, and doesn't want to use his sex appeal to tell a story. 



Why does Hrithik have so few tantrums? 


I don't understand what causes the tantrums, actually. I consider myself a labourer. I work as much as the spotboy works or my assistant does. I don't have any false assumptions about my image; I know it's just a consequence of the work we do. Lekin kabhi kabhi kya hota ki, because of all the adulation and the success, some people are foolish enough to confuse their personality with their persona – they start to live like the image that's bestowed on them. I have a very clear thinking on that aspect, because I've seen my father work. He works like a labourer, he just toils, I see his blood and sweat in his work and somewhere, that keeps me grounded, I guess. It's just our job, yaar! We're actors. Some people are painters, some are construction workers... We're all working towards the same consequences – bread and butter. And service, service to my fans, to my kids, service to God. That's how I see it. So it's all pretty simple. 



Not for everyone! 


Maybe because I come from the background of working behind the camera, I think this way. Some actors feel that if something is required of them, or if the best car isn't available... They need to understand that no one is contriving against them. Usko diya, mujhe nahin diya... I have no qualms about travelling by autorickshaw, or chatting with the watchman outside my building. 



When you were interviewed by Simi Garewal in the year of your debut, and your dad said on the show that you always came in the first three in class, you actually cut him and said, 'No, I was not in the top three, I usually scored about 65%...'! 


(Laughs) Yeah, yeah, I remember that. 



Nobody would have tracked that minor point down unless you'd said that yourself. Is this a reflex you've had from the beginning? 


See, how can anyone... I mean it's the most foolish thing – to live in dishonesty about myself. I want to be loved for the person I am, not for the false impressions I manage to create about myself. What's the point? Otherwise, I'd have lived my whole life wondering whether I, as myself, was good enough or not. Whether it was about my two thumbs – you'll not be loved because you have two thumbs, they said – but this is me, I said, this is me. I want to know if I am good enough or not. Whatever I am, I am. I don't want to change that or falsify that or build any false impressions to gain love. I have to find out my true potential as a human being. That is my mission in life. To evolve as much as I can, to throw myself into the hottest fires. That is the only way I will realize my true potential. And the only way to grow in that journey is for me to take up the most challenging, most difficult situations. 



You had a 65% average in school. How would you rate yourself in cinema? 


In cinema? I'm getting by – very well. But it does take a lot. I have enough in my life to not complain about things, which is why I'm happy. I'm happy that there is a balance that's existed, that's existing right now, that I have to continue to give my 100% even if it tires me right now. If it bothers me that I still have to keep working, if you look at your story and build yourself as a victim, then every day will become harder and harder. As you grow, you're not going to get any younger, but that's when you have to look at each day as a new day. That's when you have to say, 'I'll wake up each day as the sun rises in all its glory, and put in the same amount of work that I put in at 21.' In some regards I will get faster, sharper, in some regards I will be confronted with new challenges... All this is the equation of life, you can't complain about it. 



I thought " Kites" was pretty good. I don't know what your analysis of its Box Office performance was, though. 


The analysis was very simple, really. There were two things. One is that I was wrong in my notion that it was time to make an attempt to break the language barrier. The other thing was that I chose to play a loser in the movie. He marries for money, he dumps the sweet girl, he finds his true love and runs away, he's not able to save her, the girl dies, and he's not the fighter to take proper revenge either – he kills himself also. He's no hero. But India is a land of heroes! 



So, "Kites" is as anti-"Dabangg" as it gets, right? 


Yes, it's a complete loser's story. But it is still a story, a beautiful story. Like I said, the two things that went against it were my choice of the hero, and my attempt to break the language barrier. It's obvious that it's not the right time for it yet, but one day, it will happen. 



You're recurrently taking on themes that are non-'hero' – whether it's playing a child with a mental age of 10, or playing a guy who is a loser through and through, or your current role in "Guzaarish". Wouldn't anyone else in your shoes, given the mega success of your debut and the way "Krrish" worked for you, stick to those genres? You can't really go wrong with the bulging biceps, and yet we recurrently find you not doing that. And it's dicey, isn't it, you can never tell if these experiments work? 


I'm a slave to my vision. I have a particular vision about where I want my life to head. I know I can continue doing "Dhooms", I can continue doing "Krrishes". I can build those stories and repeat them one after the other. But then, where am I going? Of course, those kinds of films are very, very important, and I love them, and I will do them – but I can't afford to just run after that adulation and that commercial Box Office success, without taking a look inside me and asking, as an actor, where are my instincts... I have to want to explore. I want to leave behind an example to the next generation of artistes that, you know, its ok to be wrong, but challenge yourself, test yourself, go where no one has gone before. Have enough faith in yourself that if you fail, you'll come back. Those chapters are very important in your life. How does a storybook get interesting if it doesn't have chapters that involve failure or pain or struggle? You have to have those chapters if you want a great story. And I want my story to be the greatest. 



So it's creativity over muscles? 


Biceps toh hain hi, I can go to the gym and build them up and show them off in my next film, I can do another "Dhoom". It's not easy, it's hard work too, but I have done it, I know I can do that. What next? Both types are difficult, but both are important, and I don't want to be greedy for just one, and destroy my instincts to evolve as an actor. If I did not have "Guzaarish" in my life, I would have really missed out on something. As an actor, the kind of flight it gave me was incredible. Any actor would yearn for it, and I have it in my life now, because I took a risk. 



You've spoken a lot about how this changed the way you look at things.. 


Anything that's beautiful in life, invariably, is a result of some struggle, some darkness, some intensity. Poetry, a beautiful painting – an artist's work comes out through a great understanding of the human world, human experiences. You have to have those experiences to express yourself. And that is the kind of journey I have had. The first time I met a quadriplegic, he made me smile and laugh for six hours! And I came out of the room and said, 'My God, look at that power. He can only do that because he has a greater understanding of life now. His experiences, his tragedy, have pushed him to evolve, while the rest of us, the laymen, are suffering with our daily tedious, irritating, bickering, complaining routines. We are suffering, and he is at peace – why is that?' It raised this question, this very big question for me. Through them, I went through the dark path, the tragedy, vicariously of course, but I put myself in their shoes, I understood what a person like that would go through. And that journey changed my perspective, brought me into the brightest, happiest, most joyful place in the world. I don't bicker any more, I don't complain anymore, it's just gone out of my life. 



You've played a superhero and now you're playing a quadriplegic. Can't help but think of Christopher Reeve on a wheelchair – and we knew him as Superman! It's almost frightening. People think confinement in jail is bad... 


This is infinitely worse. 



To face that and stay sorted is close to a spiritual experience, is it not? 


Absolutely, absolutely. It's spiritual for sure. When someone asks me to describe the journey, I am at a loss of words. I can only say, trying to describe the beauty of this journey is like trying to describe the beauty of nature – there's something inexplicable, you can't sit down and explain it to somebody. For me, "Guzaarish" is beyond judgment; it is beyond good or bad. It's been a gift from God to me. Spirituality is very, very important in this day and age. It is the only thing that can cut through all sorts of differentiations and distinctions and religion – it is the one thing that can unite all of us as human beings. 



How much of a believer in destiny are you? 


I believe in Karma. I believe that you get what you deserve. I believe that if you don't yet have what you want, then you've not built yourself up to deserve it. So, destiny – not so much... 



In your particular case, the question's more relevant since firstly, there's all the talk about the thumb, and then you came from absolutely nowhere to become the national heartthrob overnight. It did seem you were destiny's favourite child at that point of time. Then, the failures also came. 


I am a very, very since believer in you getting what you deserve. So if, for example, my film doesn't do well, I think it is foolish to say, 'arrey, in logon ko samajh nahi aayi.' Your fame, your success, your impression on the world is just a reflection of how you are inside. If you want to be a hero in the eyes of the world, how much of a hero have you been in your personal life? How have you lived through your experiences? Have you risen above? Or are you at the low mental, moral level where you get affected by all the small things? Are you living a hero's screenplay in your personal life? If you are, then that's going to reflect in your impression on the world. Whatever you want to be outside, you have to be inside first – I believe in that. When it was my first film, I said, 'I have to be a hero. Who are heroes? Heroes are those who people applaud, look up to. Right now, around me, how many people look up to me? What's around me to merit that?' And the answer was – nothing. So, I started to build myself. Every situation, every opportunity I got, I used to build myself. I lived a hero's life in my head. Meri screenplay mein, my audience is watching me. I had my fictitious audience and I wanted that at every juncture, they should clap for me, that he did the right thing, he did the dignified thing, he did the courageous thing. So I started to live like that (laughs). It's a naïve thought, maybe, but somewhere it helped me become like that. And it helped me become a better human being. 



This thinking precedes your cinematic life? 


Yes, this is all when I was preparing for "Kaho Na Pyaar Hai". And I still believe in it. I believe that to keep rising higher, you have to keep evolving. I believe that if a Shah Rukh Khan is loved so much all over the world, there's a reason why is he loved. He has become that person who deserves that love. It's not just his films, it's not just dialogues and action. 



Do you mean he is beyond the Box Office, his personal charisma is irrespective of that? 


No, what I'm trying to say is that the Box Office is there because he has evolved to that state, and his success there is just a reflection of his success in his personal life 



That picture from the couture week in Mumbai – you, Amitabh Bachchan and SRK – was talked about for a while. The interesting point here is that you have a comfort level with a very large number of stars, and a discomfort level with hardly anyone. We know that star X will never talk about star Y in a positive manner, but I can't think of anyone you are hostile to. Your hostility quotient is very low, to put it this way. 


Because I believe it is foolish, because I believe we are all the same. You, me, Mr Bachchan – we are in our little boxes, hiding from each other. But we all have the same passions, the same struggles, the same emotions, the same pains, the same desires, the same fantasies. Yet, we all hide them from each other. I have a very clear perspective, that I am no better or worse than the other guy next to me. We all have our moments of madness, we all make mistakes, we all can get angry sometimes – and you don't hold on to that, you need to let it go. I have never got into a fight with anyone in my life. It seems so simple and obvious to me, and so complex to others whom I try and propagate this thought to – that why should you get affected? If somebody tells me, your film was a dabba film, that's his problem, that's how he sees it, that's how he found the film – why should it affect me? That's his opinion. Call him and ask him why he has that opinion, you may get something useful. After all, there's no "truth", is there? Everything is a point of view. Once you understand that, you're ok with things. 



So you're Bollywood's supreme pacifist? 


I am a pacifist when I don't need to be an activist. But I will be up in arms if it is the only way I can get my point across. If there is a just cause and there is an unreasonable fight with words, I will take up the sword. But you have to be intelligent enough to know that getting into a fight should be the last possible choice. An intelligent man will never get into a fight. So if you're getting into a fight everyday, you're the most unintelligent and the most foolish person in the world. Because the best way to win, even your enemy, is through being very calm. Let the person win the first round; you'll win the second.