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Tuning into Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan has had a string of box-office hits, but little else. His first film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000) got the girls crazy.

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His Grecian features and muscular body earned him a liberal number of titles, but not the one he himself craved: actor. The movies that followed - Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish, Dhoom 2 and even Jodhaa Akbar - could not alter his reputation asa dashing hunk.

His new film Kites, directed by Anurag Basu and produced by Reliance Big Pictures, may well be yet another syrupy story that has Roshan in a spot.

His rumoured fondness for co-star and Mexican model Barbara Mori caused a marital storm in Roshan's home. Apparently, the tempest appears to have died down.

He also had to cope with another distressing situation. He had a serious knee injury that forced him to think about giving up acting and taking up directing. "I worked on Kites for seven months. Before that I was undergoing treatment for my knee. For six months there was no sign of recovering from my knee pain. Then, I thought I would turn to direction," Roshan says. "I knew if I wanted to continue as an actor I could never compromise on my work. If I couldn't dance, if I couldn't jump, then I didn't want to be an actor. I was going through all these thoughts at that time."

But then his knee healed after six months of treatment in Singapore, and the actor began trying to get Kites flying in fair weather.

Roshan also sings in the film. He says in an interview, with a touch of modesty, "I was forced to do it. My uncle had some melodies and Anurag had this ridiculous thought that I could sing. I obviously was not very gung-ho about it. But then he caught me very cleverly when he informed me that it would be a lip-synched song. He had me trapped."

Roshan says he was given two weeks to get into the mood and that it was very embarrassing. "Early in the morning, I would start practising with the classical notes - sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa. From when I'd wake up to when I'd take a shower, I was singing all the time, trying to reach the highest scale and the lowest note."

Eventually, Roshan and wife Susan, who also sings with him in the movie, were trained by a professional musician. The Bollywood actor says that although he does not consider himself a singer, the experiment helped make his role more authentic. "This is what Anurag and the rest of us have been trying to achieve."

After the initial fear and hesitation, Roshan now feels that he will be able to pull it off in the movie.

"I have got to a point where I have begunto enjoy singing. I am falling in love with the art of shutting my eyes and going into a meditative state where I just sing. It is a beautiful feeling," he says.

"I hope Kites will produce that effect on viewers when it opens on May 21."

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