A Beautiful Life

Published On: 2014-03-16

Author: unknown

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A Beautiful Life



Source: Screen India 

Date: Jan 28, 2011 



After a very successful decade in the movies and a second shot at life, Hrithik Roshan details his journey through hits and misses. A few days ago, Hrithik Roshan had a star-studded birthday bash at his residence. It was significant in many ways. Last December, as he was about to complete a decade as an actor, Hrithik Roshan had a life-altering experience — a close shave with death. On his way home from the funeral of Ashutosh, one of the paraplaegics who helped the actor define Ethan in Guzaarish, the actor who had administered himself an antibiotic earlier in the day, lit a cigarette. And before he knew it, he was suffocating. Fortunately, for the actor, a state-of-the-art hospital and a chemist store were closeby.


 “The doctor told me if I was 11 minutes late I would come back in a body bag. I was that close to death. It was that episode that made me realise that something that magical happened throughout this journey. That perhaps was Ashutosh's way of coming back to remind me that I have to stop smoking — I had made him a promise that I would drop the habit but hadn't. Since that incident, I haven't smoked a cigarette. Life has come back full circle.” Indeed it has. Roshan Jr. has just had the honour of his wax replica installed in Madame Tussaud’s, joining the ranks of Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, counted among Bollywood’s global favourites. In fact, he is now friends with SRK, who he was accused of toppling. Roshan recalls the phase with a great deal of embarrassment. “It was completely wrong of the media to pit a rank newcomer against the reigning superstar. I have too much respect for him to say that we are friends, but Suzanne and Gauri are friends.” 


Over time though, he admits that he’s come to discern and deal with media attention a little better. He says that he chooses to ignore a significant amount of what is written of him. “When you are a star, you have to choose your battles, otherwise you will be left with no energy to focus on your work.” He cites articles of a purported affair with co-star Barbara Mori as an example. “With the Barbara story I did not want to react because that particular segment of the media was behaving like my son Hrehaan. If I don't listen to him, he will throw things. So the media started going ballistic in trying to get me to say something and that went on for a year. But thankfully, it did not affect me, my family or my relationship with Barbara. We are still very close to each other.” As it turns out, media indiscretion is just a small part of his learning. The last 10 years have been exciting with a fair share of hits and misses. And while 2010 did not unfold as per expectations in terms of the box-office success, it was not short on experiments. As he readies to stretch his Bollywood innings further, Hrithik Roshan promises that with his urge to explore and push boundaries, his story in time to come will only be bigger and better. 



Could you tell us about your first film within this year, Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? What drew you to sign up for it? 


This one is a slice-of–life film. You can identify your own life within the space of this film. It hits you emotionally when you least expect, otherwise it just carries on like normal life. What attracted me to it is Zoya's perspective, which is fairly out-of-the-box. 



Considering there are three friends, don’t you think there might be comparisons with Dil Chahta Hai? 


Dil Chahta Hai had a bit more of formula -- this film is sans any formula, something that you have never seen. Just the fact that there is no hero in the film sets it apart from DCH, which had a clear-cut hero in Aamir's character. 



So is the formula dead or alive and kicking? 


Well, there is a way to know the pulse of the audience. Whenever I work with my dad, it takes me back to that space where I know what he is catering to and it's become so simple to know what the demand is, what he will be supplying, giving the new with the old. The mix and balance just comes together in his films and that is why it is so exciting to work with him. Just sitting with him on the scripting of Krrish realigns my mind to what is! 



Are you then giving in to conventional wisdom over new beliefs? 


The idea is to play the game right… To strike a balance when exploring cinema. Cinema can never grow if you stick to one monotonous philosophy. Cinema is so many things. It's inexplicable. I am an adventurer by nature. I am an explorer in my heart and to be a true explorer you need the courage and will of iron because it's easy to find something to which you might get addicted. But you have to have the will to let go and swing to the other end of the spectrum to explore something else which is why my films range from a Dhoom:2 to a Krrish to Guzaarish and Fiza and that is what keeps me going, keeps me driven, keeps me enthusiastic about what I am doing. Also I feel it's so easy to keep doing things that you know work––Dhoom, Krrish—it's easy to keep doing that but where are you truly going? My personal quest is to find out what I am about. How far can I push myself? What is my true extreme potential? I want to evolve and grow and the only way to do that is by challenging myself, putting myself through those fires from which I come out a stronger man. I want my story to be the greatest. Chapters of strife and struggle in my life, even self-inflicted, will make me achieve what I am striving for. 



What's in the pipeline? 


The films coming up are Agneepath and Krrish 2. I am contemplating some alternative films but these two are confirmed so far. I am really excited. Sometimes things just fall into place. Actually, I never know why I have signed a particular film but that’s the usual graph that I go through. I sign a film and then feel, ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ I felt that way when I signed Jodhaa Akbar too but that fear gives you wings. For me, it’s like fluttering around in my room to find a starting-point. I find it eventually in something as simple as my hair or a feeling or my stance. And once that happens, I don't fear anything at all. 



There’s also Don 2 within this year with you in a negative role? 


I am a part of it but that's all that I can say. Let's just say that ever since I came back (from Berlin) I want to play each of my character in the same way. It was really a lot of fun. 



What’s the criteria for eliminating or picking up a script?


Sometimes when I hear a script I actually stand up or jump around (laughs) saying ‘This is it!’ I have to do it. If I react like that my decision is already made. I have no choice. My mind doesn’t really do any mental gymnastics or anything, but if I have to calculate then eventually I don't do the film. All films I have done have been instinctive choices. 



Would you agree that you prefer to act in the movies produced by family and friends? 


I didn't know Ashutosh Gowariker or Mr Bhansali or Anurag Basu, Khalid Mohammed when I did Fiza or Arjun Sablok of Na Tum Jaano Na Hum, so I don't think that's true, but I need to look up to the director. It's true of all those I have worked with or will be working with. The moment the actor thinks he knows more than the filmmaker, the film ends up as something that is commercially manipulative and a moneymaking project, but as a work of art, it will have no worth. So I really need to look up to directors with whom I work. 



You are also supposed to play your characters in a too-perfect pitch, if there be such a thing. Comment. 


Maybe I have so many faults that people who watch me spend time rectifying them think that I am perfecting my shots. I have deep passion for my work and a lot of broken tools that I can employ. I need to spend more time, which is why I can't do 10 films a year. Life is not about holding the best cards but about how you play the cards you have been dealt with. Perhaps I have to struggle with 10 things in my life that other actors don't have to but I am doing my best as service to myself, my children, God and society. 



A whole lot of different kinds of movies got attention recently. Do you think they might be game-changers? 


I hope that films that win critical appreciation can find a resonance with the core audience that only likes a certain kind of formula. There are some great films that come and go but which don't get the audience. My dream is that hopefully cinema-viewing masses will evolve, and appreciate small films and not just the big films like 3 Idiots with obvious mass-appeal. These films, if they work at the box-office, could be game-changers. 



Do you see yourself as a part of such films? 


For me, films are not business. It should be…I guess I should strike a balance somewhere. It didn't matter to me that after my first film which was so successful I did a film called Fiza that was about a girl and I was playing her brother. People said that I should not do that but I still went ahead with it. And that I think is a very good example of my mindset. Now if I get a small film, it would be great to finish it in 50 days and not a year. 



How would you describe your first decade as an actor? 


I could not have asked for a better run—it started off with Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai and I start my second decade with Guzaarish. I can't be more thankful. I have seen some great successes and some failures, both of which have added to my life. In the successes I saw people dance, throw coins, scream, shout, clap but I never felt what I felt after Guzaarish. It has got me so much love from the industry, my seniors, contemporaries… I mean, it's so overwhelming that I need to keep a check on myself. I need to take just as much as I need to motivate myself for the next one. The rest I need to pass on. This kind of appreciation can murder the artistic sanity of the person, but yes, I think it's a great balance between box-office and great appreciation that I have received. If I would have got everything, I probably would have gone mad. 



Guzaarish did not have a successful box-office run. Comment. 


It's had the same kind of effect as an LSD or Peepli [Live]. It's too early to judge the box- office. Kites, yes, because it was made on that commercial note. For Guzaarish, that entire spectrum of global market has yet to be explored. In a year from now, things will be different. Yes, it did not connect with the core mass audience because people have stressful lives, and they need a film that makes them forget their misery. They want heroes—Krrish, Dhoom:2; movies that do not stimulate too much thinking, so maybe we have to live with that. However, it does not mean that films like Guzaarish should not be made. Sometimes money has to bow to art. If cost price, profit and loss were the sole reason for making films then films such as Udaan, LSD and Guzaarish would not exist. I want to leave behind an example for the next generation of actors that they should not be afraid to experiment. See how much I have gained for it. If you are determined enough, you will come out clean and happy. 



Kites was an attempt to go global. What went wrong? 


Kites was a very naïve effort on my part to try and break the language barrier. It's been my dream to make films that should be in one language for the entire world. Besides, India is a land of heroes, in Kites, J was a loser. A loser’s story is very interesting to an actor. After all, he is grey, marries for money, the girl dies and he can't save her. Maybe if he cracked smart jokes in a language the audience could understand, it would have been more acceptable. 



Globally, how were the two films Kites and Guzaarish received? 


In Guzaarish, there is a flair to the romance, a depth. It was my most subtle work, so much so that people didn't get it but the kind of praise I have got from Hollywood is amazing. All in all, I have broken through a lot of barriers and reached out to people across. When Koi...Mil Gaya happened, Hollywood did not react at all but with Kites, I had a four-star rating across the world. With the offers that I am getting, it is just a question of whether I should go there now or later Brett Rattner saw the film as did others from Hollywood. Chris Columbus, director of Harry Potter, was very appreciative. The kind of compliments I got from there was just a consequence of the film. People in the west were appreciating it in the west, so we pushed it a bit. 



Do you have a favorite genre of films? 


I don't have a particular genre that I stick to because I am restless by nature. Jodhaa Akbar, Kites, Guzaarish and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara are all different kinds of movies, so I have done experimenting. Now I will be back to doing films that people want to see me in. This will last a couple of films before I get back to my exploring ways. 



You dance like a dream, so how is it difficult to do a film that does not require you to dance? Is it a tool that you use as an actor? 


If that was so essential I would not have done Jodhaa Akbar in which even a swirl had people clap. For me, dance is just an expression. I don’t regard myself as one of the best dancers at all. This is advice for people who think they can't dance. Dancing is just moving hands and legs and reacting to music. Don't worry about people watching you if your hands are not moving according to the rule some people have made. Make your own rules. Look stupid, look foolish.