Beyond numbers

Beyond numbers

His killer dance moves and his Greek god looks have made many swoon. But Hrithik Roshan professes to be much more than that. RAJIV VIJAYAKAR talks to the actor about his latest film ‘Bang Bang!’.

So Bang Bang!, despite the wallops from the media, has received dollops — of popularity and love — from the audience. The long weekend has made it a candidate for the 100-crore club within a week.

So when did the last Hrithik film flop? That was Guzaarish (2010), but the actor had put in a terrific performance in it. But of late, his personal life has been on a low with both his health and family life facing turbulent weather.

However, Providence does provide silver linings in all clouds and professionally, Hrithik is at his peak now with the consecutive successes of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Agneepath and Krrish 3 before Bang Bang!. But Hrithik would rather look at Bang Bang! as the beginning of a new chapter.

Considered next only to the three Khans, whose lead over him starts eight to 15 years earlier, Hrithik — with age on his side — is also seriously considering becoming more active than before — that is, doing more than one film at a time.

An instinctive choice

Five days after the film’s release, he communicates, “I am proud of the film, of the entire team led by my director Siddharth Anand and Katrina Kaif,” he tells us. “The opening of my film has beaten that of my last movie, Krrish 3’s first-day collections, which is a great achievement considering that my father’s film was part of a franchise of two big hits. So I am happy that I have succeeded in what I set out for — entertaining the audience!”
But even when we had met up ten days prior to the release of the film, the actor was in top fettle, energetic, warm as ever and decisive in his statements.

He briefly described a “manifestation happening” about how he came to do the film. “I had watched Knight And Day on a flight when Krrish 3 was being made, and had thought that it could be made into a nice Hindi film because its script was so much like ours. And then, just weeks later, Siddharth called me and offered its remake. So I knew that destiny had brought the film to me. I agreed to do the film instantly, but signed it only after the script was ready.”

He goes on, “After Dhoom 2, I had not had fun at work, doing serious or intense characters all along. I normally prep for my roles by locking myself up in a room, but this time there was nothing to do — as I found my character so much like me that it will give me extra satisfaction if people like me in the film — because he is what I am in real life.”
Having enjoyed the paid global vacation while shooting the film, Hrithik admits to have let his hair down and executed his fun character with great energy.

“The way Siddharth and his writers Sujoy Ghosh, Suresh Nair and Abbas had constructed the film made my hair stand on end. It was like a fresh Hindi film that had little of Knight And Day except the core and some sequences,” he smiled.

Films, for Hrithik, are not about images, popular or otherwise, but about exploring what he believes in, about adventure, about inspiring audiences by giving them hopes and aspirations and a chance to vent their emotions. “It is about entertaining them to the best of my ability, and not about business, but about contributing to the world of art with my creativity,” he sums up.

Pushing past problems

Terming Bang Bang! his easiest film as an actor, he also calls it his toughest because of his health scare hours before setting out for a major shooting schedule.

How much do all these unpleasant problems influence Hrithik’s interpretations of roles that may not be connected to them? Firmly, the actor tells us that “problems” is the wrong word. And he declares, “I would use the word “strengths” because I have turned them around, channeled them and made use of them in productive ways. I have created out of them. After that, even interpreting a single line will only happen according to the life I have lived.”

So, did that influence his doing roles made famous by Amitabh Bachchan (Agneepath) and Tom Cruise (Bang Bang!) too?

“Of course. We all lead different lives and I interpret what I do my way,” he explains. “My individuality must come in to make my character a real person. I never tried to ape either Bachchanji or Tom Cruise, and that’s what paid off. For example, there were sequences in Agneepath in which my intensity was different from his, maybe lesser or maybe more. I never felt the need to do it in his way just because he had done it in that movie.”

Is Hrithik open to offers from Hollywood? “Why not? I have read some scripts but nothing that excites me. Right now, I have been blown by Ashutosh Gowariker’s script in Mohenjo-Daro and I knew that this was the film I wanted to do next. Of course, there was another reason — he had stuck to me for this film when others were quitting on me,” he smiles.

So, does being a superstar have more pros or cons? “I think that in my position it is about having greater power to experiment and show versatility. If I had turned down Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, for instance, Zoya would not have got the budgets and would have had to shoot the film in Goa instead of abroad.”

“One more point,” he adds with a broad smile. “I am often called an effortless actor. But do you know how much effort goes into that? There was this one scene with a complicated foot movement in Bang Bang! that was physically demanding but not coming out right because of the shoes I was wearing? I changed five pairs of formal shoes, and finally decided that I should do it by wearing my trusted Adidas sports shoes and got them painted black.”

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