In a new territory

In a new territory

Superstar

He is often referred to as the ‘Greek God’ of Hindi films. It is only when you meet him in person that you realise the reason for this reference.

forthcoming Hrithik Roshan with Priyanka Chopra, in a scene from ‘Agneepath’.

He fits the bill perfectly, what with the characterisitc long locks he now sports for his part in Krrish 3. For now, however, his entire world revolves around Agneepath, releasing January 26; a movie where he plays Vijay Deenanath Chauhan, a role once immortalised by Amitabh Bachchan.

“When I got to know that Karan Johar wanted to cast me as Vijay Chauhan, I was a bit hesitant. I even told Karan that I don’t want to do this film because I don’t believe in remakes. But he was very persistent and literally forced me to listen to the script. He flew all the way to Spain, where I was shooting for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, to narrate the script to me. It was strange because he was trying to convince me to do the film, while I had already made up my mind to say no,” says Hrithik.

Original remake
However, Karan’s narration changed everything. “At the end of that session, not only was I convinced that I needed to do the film, but also pretty charged up and looking forward to playing Vijay Chauhan,” he says with a smile. And before I can even ask, the actor clarifies, “The Vijay Chauhan in this movie is in no way similar to the legendary character Mr Bachchan portrayed. Apart from the name, nothing is similar. My portrayal of Vijay has no style. He is a simple man.” One can be sure, however, that irrespective of the disclaimers, comparisons are bound to happen.

“Frankly speaking, there is no scope for comparisons at all. We are not trying to touch the heights of the original film… so there is no question of whether we have been able to make it like the original version,” he clarifies.

The remake of Agneepath, its makers say, has the same storyline, and yet differs from the original. But hasn’t this statement been done to death? Hrithik explains that Sanjay Dutt’s character in the movie is definitely going to make a big impact. The actor, who has been known recently for his Munnabhai roles, plays the deadly Kancha in this movie. In the original movie, Danny had played the cold-blooded villain.

The trailers of this remake portray Sanjay Dutt as unbelievably scary, making him the talk of the town. Does it worry Hrithik that Sanjay Dutt will overshadow him in the film? Hrithik does not deny the larger-than-life presence of Dutt in the film. “Have you seen his size? So, whoever stands with him, be it me or you, will definitely get overshadowed. This is my second film with him after Mission Kashmir. I have immense respect for him and am privileged to work with him. In fact, when I reached Diu to start shooting for
Agneepath, I was in pretty bad shape in terms of health. Sanjay sir took complete charge of me and arranged for a makeshift gym so that we could start working out
together."

Sanjay Dutt shaved his head to play Kancha Cheena in the film. What did Hrithik do? “Well, I grew my beard and went to the sets and everything went right,” he says in a lighter vein.
When asked about his back pain that had also delayed the shooting of Krrish, he says, “You know, it happens to all of us at some point of our lives. This body that we are using needs to be respected and taken care of. I had abused my body so much that it retaliated. But now, I am back on track.”

Agneepath is all about revenge and rivalry. In reel life, Vijay Chauhan rests only after he gets his revenge. What about Hrithik? Does he identify with the role? “Not really. To be very frank, I find the concept of revenge and rivalry pretty childish. I have crossed that phase in college,” he reveals.

However, is Agneepath a risk worth taking? Pose this query to Hrithik and he has this to say, “Films are about entertainment. And I think there is nothing more entertaining than platforming an impossibility; it’s more entertaining to see how the kid turns Goliath in the film… is it possible? ...it’s not… now go watch the film. It ends there.”

Out of the ordinary
The discussion then takes a sharp turn to superhero films. Since Hrithik has been involved in the Krrish series, I ask him for his two-cents worth on Ra One and its rather unsuccesful run. To this, he gives an expected reply, stating, “It is difficult for me to comment on this. But all I can say is that for an Indian film to succeed, the script is very important.” Perhaps sensing that he was on risky ground, Hrithik swiftly changes the topic to Krrish 3, saying, “The script of Krrish 3 is really good.
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Dad has truly done a fantastic job with it. In fact, when I heard the script for the first time, I wanted to play both the roles — that of the hero and the villain! But Dad stopped me from doing it. Finally, he selected Viveik Oberoi. Now, when I see him on the sets, acting it out, I realise that this was the right decision.” Interestingly, the actor shares, when the initial work on Krrish 3 had begun, his waist size was 36. It was Hrithik’s father who insisted that he slim down to acquire the desired ‘superhero’ physique.

Does the actor have any regrets? His reaction isn’t so much a regret as it is a disappointment — “Something that made a bit upset was the reaction to Guzaarish. It was a fantastic film, but I feel it should have been portrayed more as a happy film rather than the tragedy it was promoted to be. We already have so many problems in our lives that we wouldn’t want to add to it by watching a sad film.

Had Guzaarish been promoted as a happy film, I feel the response would have been better. But I don’t have any regrets because, even to this day, when I meet people at the airport or any public place, they come up to me and talk about Ethen (his character in Guzaarish) and the fact that they liked it a lot.”

Hopefully, the reactions to Agneepath and Krrish 3 will not give him reasons to complain.
(With inputs from TWF)

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