Farewell, Ethan

Published On: 2014-03-17

Author: unknown

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Farewell, Ethan



Source: The Film Street Journal 

Date: December 27, 2010 



Hrithik steps out to party again with fun and commerce piloting his new bunch of films Unlike my penchant for reaching late, I decide to meet him on time, even if it’s only because I loved his performance in Guzaarish.I reach early and, to my amazement, he’s on time. On the dot of 11 am, he walks in and asks, “Am I late?” I reply, “You’re on time, I was early.” We exchange polite smiles and he decides to take advantage of his being on time. “Can I send an email since I am not late? It won’t take time, please,” he says, with trademark politeness, and I agree to wait. Once a journalist, always a journalist (read Raju Reporter) and I peep at his laptop screen. I see a picture of a guy with a paunch and I can’t help but ask: “What a weird picture on your screen.” He laughs and says, “Arrey yaar, this is me. This is what Ethan (his character in Guzaarish) did to me.” He reads my face and adds that during Guzaarish, he had put on weight to look the part but it took him just three weeks to get back in shape. I’m not convinced, and he says, “Even you can shed your paunch in one month. What you need is to follow a strict diet and exercise.” Ouch. 


We exchange smiles and proceed with our interview. Though it’s my first one-on-one with Hrithik, I sense he’s not the same Hrithik I had heard of. Call me inquisitive but I just have to ask. He smiles again, sighs and replies, “Ethan changed me. I am not what I was. I guess I was destined to play this character and in the process, I found myself. I know I’ve changed.” He adds, “I thank God for sending me Mr Bhansali with this offer. I’m grateful to Bhansali for offering me this role. I feel I am blessed. Making Guzaarish was not just another assignment for me; it was much more. I’ve evolved. As a performer, I’ve been flooded with complimentary messages and calls but for me, the happiness or satisfaction lies in the fact that while playing Ethan, I found myself.” My next question is obvious. Is he disheartened by the fate of the film at the ticket counter? After spending a few minutes with him, I anticipate his answer. I know the role was not just any other role and, proving me right, he explains, “Today I wake up with so much gratitude to God and for all that I have in my life because in 10 years, I have not experienced what I am going through right now. This kind of success is beyond any other form of accomplishment.” He pauses and reaches into his memory: “I have seen people dancing while watching my movies, throwing coins and shouting. But to watch people standing up and applauding after watching the film, or coming up to me and holding me for 60 seconds without saying a word… I feel somewhere the film communicated at a spiritual level because that’s the kind of love and feedback I’m receiving for Ethan.” Unlike many other actors, he easily accepts that the movie hasn’t done well commercially. But he adds that sometimes, money has to bow to art. “Nothing beautiful or artistic would exist if it was all about selling price and profits. Things like poetry, painting, architecture, anything that is beautiful and artistic, needs to exist for the sheer fact that it should exist and Guzaarish is one such piece of art.” 


If he feels he discovered himself through Ethan, he’s also proud of his other film, Kites, even though it didn’t do well either. But he blames himself for its dismal performance, as he had assumed it was time to break the language barrier. And that was the film’s failing.He says he played a Hindustani guy in the film but he did not have the Hindustani touch. Unlike Hindustani heroes, he didn’t try to patao the girl or woo her with wit. He believes the Indian masses could not identify with his character.“India is a land of heroes. They need to see a hero. That’s what they did not get. Kites was the story of a loser. He married for money, he runs away, leaves that sweet girl behind, he can’t save the girl, the girl dies, he can’t take revenge and then he dies. Usne kiya kya picture mein?” he asks. Yet he insists Kites was, “One of my best memories for sure.” Remind him that next year, he will be back with not one but two commercial ventures – Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Karan Johar’s remake of Agneepath – and he laughs, “You know, I love bouncing off from one film to another. I am an extremist by nature. I’m often told, ‘Tum character ke andar ghus jaate ho.’ I’m not sure if he’s ghusao-ed into the character of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan but every cinema lover wants to know how he can do justice to a part played by Amitabh Bachchan years ago. Before answering, he remarks, “When I decided to play Emperor Akbar, people asked me how I would measure up to Prithviraj Kapoor.” His answer:“I will not try to be Prithviraj Sir but I will try to play Akbar. It would be foolish to compete with the original. Similarly, I would not do Agneepath if I was trying to compete with the Vijay Deenanath Chauhan of that film. There is no bass voice in my Agneepath and he has not got the swagger,” he adds. Then he lets you in on a secret. “I just react to a script and come back home and then wonder why I had signed the film as I don’t know how to do this. I go through this for a week. Then I feel abhi toh phas gaya hoon, I have to go ahead with it. This is an inevitable process I go through. So before I start a film, I crib about why I signed the film and then I slowly become okay.” A loud laugh, Ethan-style, follows. 


From Hrithik-centric films like Guzaarish, Kites, Krrish and Agneepath he will swing to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara where he is simply not the star of the show. “This film completely breaks the star image,” he happily discloses. “I am not the star of that film. I am just a boy.It’s completely different from whatever I have done. It’s not even like Dhoom which was also a multi-starrer. It’s completely opposite. Main hoon frame mein and you might not even see me. It’s not that I am the star of the film and Abhay and Farhan are also there. No. We all share equal weightage, footage and importance.” Time to wind up but how can any interview with Hrithik Roshan end without mentioning the sequel to Krrish? All you have to do is utter the word “Krrish” and he says, “The sitting is happening in the next room. Dad has just finished the first draft. This draft has gone through three to four years of servicing, surfacing and submerging.We get excited and it does not work, then we rework. In the last three to four years, it’s risen like the phoenix and shelved again, like, 20 times. But finally Dad got a vision which blew my mind.” Before I can ask any more, he announces – “Rohit or no Rohit, one Krishna or two, Jadoo making a comeback or I trying to reach Jadoo, I won’t reveal it now. You’ll have to wait for some more time but Krrishis definitely happening.” We’re waiting, HR.