In today's issue

Hrithik Roshan: The real superhero

Bolywood star refuses to let a physical blow stand in the way of his career

  • By Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 July 7, 2013
  • Gulf News

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan
  • Image Credit: Rado
  • Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan.

To pour yourself into a latex suit and save the world by leaping from buildings isn’t an easy role to pull off. Just ask Bollywood’s mega star Shah Rukh Khan. He tried his hand at it in Ra.One. But the billion-plus box office debacle might make him wary of taking on roles with magical powers again.

But there’s one actor in Bollywood who isn’t worried about playing a bloke with magical powers. Say hello to Hrithik Roshan, arguably one of India’s finest looking men.

In 2006, the 39-year-old hero gave movie-mad Indians their first taste of a Superman-style hero with Krrish, a sequel to the 2003 blockbuster Koi … Mil Gaya. This divine-looking hero could swoop down from skyscrapers in a black shiny suit with a dainty Priyanka Chopra tucked under his arm, and take gigantic jumps from trees, and still make it look believable.

Now he’s all set to re-create that magic with Krrish 3, scheduled to release during Diwali in November. He will also need some of that superhuman strength to bounce back from his brain surgery. Roshan took to his Facebook page yesterday to announce his impending blood clot removal surgery at Mumbai’s Hinduja hospital on Sunday.

The hero suffered a head injury while shooting action scenes for Bang Bang two months ago in Phuket, Thailand.

“We all know that we create a life of joy using the power of our mind. I’ve had the privilege of creating wonders with this amazing gift given to us called the brain. Occasionally one must look within and realise its value... My thanks to all of you for using the power of your mind to contribute to my life. Love you all,” said Roshan on his page.

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Following the reaction from his concerned fans, the actor posted another follow-up message, “Should be rock n rolling by evening! U guys have a great day too! Supersonic!!”

If this is any indication, this Bollywood hero, who considers Superman as his all-time idol, is not going to let a physical blow stand in the way of promoting his much-anticipated superhero movie Krrish 3. Like the previous instalments, Krrish 3 will be led primarily by the Roshan clan. Directed by his father Rakesh, the latest one promises to be bigger and better than the first two blockbusters.

“I do hope Superman is proud of our Krrish,” said Roshan in a recent email interview before news of his surgery was announced, who credits his long-enduring appeal to his devoted fans who have never given up on him. The actor, who gained instant stardom with the romantic drama Kaho Na Pyaar Hai (2000), has indeed enjoyed a phenomenal run at the box office with the majority of his films including Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Agneepath experiencing glorious ticket sales. 

Excerpts from the interview... 

Q: How does it feel to pour yourself into a latex suit all over again?

A: I am in for a fun ride with this Q&A. I’m kidding. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t the easiest of attires to wear. But nobody said that it was easy being a superhero. 

Q: After Krrish, you were billed as Bollywood’s answer to the Western idol Superman. How do you perceive this title?

A: I am flattered because Superman is an icon. If Krrish were to achieve even an iota of that status I would literally be over the moon. Superman has been one of my favourite childhood heroes and for Krrish to be compared to the legend is an absolute honour. I do hope Superman is proud of our Krrish. 

Q: Your much-anticipated Guzaarish with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan celebrated your performance but it didn’t necessarily translate to robust ticket sales. Did that reaction set you back?

A: Every film or project I work on is extremely different to the norm. As professional actors, we set a certain benchmark for ourselves. But the idea is to entertain our audiences as well. Guzaarish didn’t necessarily set me back as it was a unique film and I guess sometimes audiences may either love or dislike our attempts. Even if the film pushed and shaped me as a performer, the audience is the ultimate jury. It’s for them we perform. 

Q: You are considered one of the finest looking men in Bollywood. On a scale of one to ten, how vain can actors get?

A: I am just an ordinary guy. But since I am in this profession, there is pressure to behave and present oneself in a certain way. Some may call that being vain and another may perceive it as being true to their profession since presentation matters in our field. My take? Each to their own. I am all about staying down to earth and being humble at all times. 

Q: These days, audiences are moving away from traditional Bollywood musicals with heroes that can dance, sing and emote. Are you also scouting for roles that don’t necessarily have ‘masala entertainer’ written all over it?

A: Masala Entertainers are the core of Bollywood. Over a period of time, directors and producers have tried various ways to create and recreate our cinematic experience. I love experimenting with new things as it helps me to set new boundaries for myself. Such experiments also help me widen my creative scope as an artist. I have always felt that it is important to re-invent oneself for your audiences as we are always communicating to new individuals across continents and generations. 

Q: Was there any Bollywood film in the recent past that you wished you were a part of?

A: I have always been grateful and happy with all the movie offers I receive. Every film I have been a part of has translated into an amazing experience. 

Q: You made your big-screen debut in 2000, what have been your defining moments in the last three years?

A: Wow! It’s 13 years and counting. I believe it’s the continuous support I receive from my fans the world over that has helped me do what I do for a living. I am proud of all the films I have worked on in the last three years. Each of them, whether it was Agneepath, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara or Guzaarish, has defined me in their own distinct ways. 

Q: When was the last time you did something for the first time?

A: I like to challenge myself and push myself to my outer limit. Everything I do, is a new experience that I can learn from.

QUIRKY FACTS ABOUT HRITHIK ROSHAN:

1. Hrithik made an appearance as a child actor in films such as Asha and Aap Ke Deewane. He even played the role of Rajnikanth’s adopted son in Bhagwan Dada, co-starring Sridevi.

2. His first pocket money came in the form Rs100. His maternal grandfather J Om Prakash gave him some after he danced with Jeetendra for the film Asha. His indulgence: went to a toystore and purchased ten toy guns.

3. His friends and family call him Duggu.

4: During childhood, Roshan had a stammering problem. In an interview on a reality show, Hrithik spoke about his stammering problem saying: “For oral tests at school, I used to bunk school, I used to fall sick, I used to break my hand, I used to get a sprain.” The actor has now started a speech therapy institution to help people with similar issues.

5. He was contemplating quitting Bollywood after his father Rakesh Roshan was shot at and wounded by gangsters allegedly demanding money.

6. His fitness mantra: “You are what you eat. So eat the right food and make healhty food choices.” said Roshan in an interview.

7. Superstar Salman Khan took him under his wings and gave him fitness tips to bulk up before his spectacular debut in Kaho Na Pyaar Hai in 2000.

8. Need proof about his popularity with women? Film folklore has it that in the year 2000 he received more than 30,000 marriage proposals from his fans on Valentine’s Day.

9. He wasn’t always a big star. Roshan Jr assisted his dad in his films such as Karan Arjun (1995) and Koyla (1997). Serving tea to the stars was a part of his brief.

10. Hrithik has been documenting his daily life for many years by taking pictures and putting them in scrapbooks. He loves photography.

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