He’s a phenomenon. And how did he do that? By just being the nice-guy-next-door. Chivvy over then to the b.o.’s blue-eyed boy. Everything he touches glows for gold. And with his six-pack abs, Hrithik Roshan has revolutionised the concept of body beautiful. Gymnasiums, health parlours have mushroomed right from the back-lanes of Dombivli to the up-market environs of Malabar Hill. Showbiz is shaping up too. Heroes and wannashines of all assortments are lining up at the portals of health clubs. If ever there was a star who’s made fitness into a mantra, it’s our Duggu. Film offers have been pouring like baggage off a conveyor belt at a packed airport. An army of topline film-makers are desperately hoping that he’ll greenlight their projects. His date diary won’t allow that until the end of 2002 though. Right now Hrithik Roshan’s just surfaced after a work-out. I’ve seen him propping himself between two chairs, doing a dozen dips. Followed by a couple of hundred sit-ups and push-ups (is that what they call them?) And then pulling a chest expander from his gym bag, he begins to flex it vigorously. A delicate network of blue veins soon surfaces on his neck and shoulders, which fairly course with testosterone, and a fierce concentration fixes his soft features. He works the gym bars until his shoulders swell to the size of small hams. Okay, okay, so he’s ODed on the media shindig. But I persist. And carrom in for a parley chez the Roshans:
Okay, play journo for the next five minutes and ask yourself a few questions.
Huh? Are you feeling okay?
Come on, go on.
(After a pause) Hmmm. I just keep asking myself if there’s something called destiny. Before January 14, I believed that you get what you deserve. I believed that fate was in your hands, you made your life.
Then what happened?
Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai happened. Nothing was the same again. Everyday after that has made me believe that there’s a greater force ruling us. Fate, destiny, it’s all pre-planned. How else can you explain what’s happening to me?
Hey, relax. It can’t be all that bad.
I’m sick and tired of screaming that I’m not that good. That I’ve received more than I deserve. And for god’s sake, please don’t compare me with Shah Rukh Khan. Anyway, everyone will know the truth once a few more films of mine are released. They’ll realise the difference between I’ve never hidden the fact that i’m in love… i believe in love unconditionally Shah Rukh Khan and a one-film-wonder like me. The media and everyone else involved in the speculation will realise that the comparisons were baseless.
And are you prepared for that?
When everyone understands what I’m all about, when a couple of my films don’t do well, you watch. Those involved in the speculation, in a bid to justify themselves, will blame me for my success. They’ll say, “He couldn’t handle his success. It’s gone to his head.”
So you believe the media manipulates praise and pan alternately.
I have a pretty good idea of how the media works. It survives on one hot headline after another. It’s not about providing people with information. It’s about moving from one scandal to another. It’s about interesting magazine covers.
Look what’s been done to me. How can anyone write that I’m here to dethrone Shah Rukh Khan, the king of Bollywood? Look at the tags which have been heaped on me, “Overnight craze”, “Sensation”. When my films don’t do well, these same tags will be sarcastically used against me. I know, it’s gonna happen. Sooner or later.
You really think the media has behaved irresponsibly?
Yes, a majority of the media has. If they have a bone to pick with a particular person, they’re firing from my shoulder. What’s sad is that even the most absurd piece of information becomes the truth when it’s flashed prominently as a newspaper headline. What’s even more sad is that people have complete faith in the written word.
You’ve obviously been affected by the backlash.
I’m not being modest when I say this, I’m being honest. I’m glad I have the intelligence to understand what’s happening to me. If I allow myself to get affected by all this hype, I’ll stunt my growth as an actor. I’ll be damned for life. I know that I still have a long, long way to go before I can even aspire to the achievements of any of the superstars. I know I’m good at my job. And I’m sure I’ll be damn good one day. But right now, I also know how bad I can be.
I don’t exercise to show off my muscles. I’m glad that I’ve started a health trend, if you say so. that’s better than boozing or opening beer bars
You have to learn to live with the inexo-rable pressures of being a celebrity.
That’s fine. All I’m saying is that please don’t turn my success into something ugly. Don’t give me more than I deserve. It spoils the whole thing and makes it scary. Please don’t write or say things like I’m here to overthrow Shah Rukh Khan. I’ve worked hard to make it. I don’t know where I’ll be four or five years down the line.
What about the Cola wars? Is that media made too?
Listen, someone told me that Pepsi was making a 10-second spoof on my father and me. I was upset. Why ridicule my father? If it was me, it would have been okay. But not dad. I wrote a letter to Pepsi, stating that I’d heard they were making an ad spoofing my father and requested them not to air it. Copies of the letter were sent to Shah Rukh, Prahlad Kakkar and all the involved parties. And they did not air the ad on my dad and me. They went ahead then with another ad just involving me.
I still have a long, long way to go… people will realise the difference between Shah Rukh Khan and a one-movie-wonder like me
This must have made things awkward between Shah Rukh and you.
Not at all. We have mutual friends, meet on and off. We are friends, there’s no problem between us.
So will the media-mongering make things awkward when the two of you work together in Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham? Or for that matter Farah Khan’s film?
I don’t see why there should be any problem working on Karan’s film. As for Farah’s film, it’s in the pipeline.
Will there be a joint narration on Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham?
I will not sign any film when I don’t trust the director. And I trust Karan completely, so I’m definitely doing his Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.
Tell me, given a chance would you have signed all the films you did before Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai?
That’s a hypothetical question.
Okay, give me a hypothetical answer.
Ummm, maybe I wouldn’t have signed all the films then. I’d have taken it easy.
What about your father’s next film? When will you start that?
We bounce ideas whenever we talk to each other. Sometimes over the phone as well. We’ll probably start sometime next year.
Trade talk is that you’ve signed up the next RK film as well as Rajkumar Santoshi’s next.
I’d be very excited to do both the projects. Let’s hope they happen.
What’s this talk about most of the scripts of your under-production films being rewritten to accommodate your new-found status?
Actually, the thought did cross the minds of some of my directors. But they mercifully gave it up. The purpose of all my directors is to make good films, not promote me. All the shooting dates are the same, no one’s asked for even one extra day, there has been no reshooting.
Do you wonder what Abhishek Bachchan and Fardeen Khan must be going through at this point?
I think Abhishek has a great future, good films lined up. I always knew that Fardeen would be a huge star. He looks sensational in the Jungle promos. It’s just that he’s taken longer to get there. I got lucky early.
I feel I have 20 different people trapped inside me. And the different people keep popping up at different times.
I read somewhere that you said you had a multiple personality.
I feel I have 20 different people trapped inside me. And the different people keep popping up at different times. Which suits my career as an actor, doesn’t it?
You’ve had a crash course in handling stardom?
Stardom is the crash course. Because it’s so short-lived.
You sound trapped, as if you’re suffocating.
Oh god, I’m suffocated because I have to please everyone I meet. The struggle is to maintain a balance between being nice to everyone and trying to act well. I mean after signing 50,000 autographs, I don’t have the strength to sign the remaining 20 autographs. I know 20 will go back disappointed. I can only apologise to them sincerely and continue with my work.
Does stardom become like a power trip? You can settle scores with those who’ve been nasty to you.
As it happens, no one’s been nasty to me. Even those who felt I’d never make it are offering me films. Actually even the paanwallah down the road wants to make a film with me. So who am I to complain?
So you’ve been plotting since the age of five to join the movies?
Of course. I knew dad wouldn’t launch me if I wasn’t good enough. I’ve really tried to work hard for it. I didn’t want to leave with any excuse. I didn’t want to have a flop film behind me and have to say, “I should have done this or done that.” I tried to do everything that would indirectly enhance my performance. I even learnt to sing so that my voice would have a certain edge.
Those who felt I’d never make it are offering me films. Even the paanwallah down the road wants to make a film with me
J.P. Dutta made a very pertinent observation. He said that your launch pad was designed for you, unlike that for his newcomers who’re a part of his story.
See, Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai was told from the point of view of the heroine. Amisha Patel was doing all the acting. I hate to say this, but I feel that I did make my moments in the film special. Because, to be honest, I had the fear that I wasn’t doing much in the film on the script level. I remember telling Farah (Khan) that I didn’t want to do anything that had already been done in the dance numbers. I knew there were a few things that would make the dances special. And luckily, they did. As Rohit, look at my body in the first sequence when I emerge from the bathroom. That was my first day of shooting. I looked pathetic, I even had a paunch. Compare it with my action sequences in the climax. I knew I had to make a mark in the dance and action sequences. So, I worked hard towards that.
Know something? Besides being the heartthrob for the girls, you’re a gay icon as well.
Well, I take that as a compliment.
Have men made passes as well?
Yes, they have. But I’m a straight guy.
Ever since you’ve come on the scene, body worship has become a religion. Everyone’s into body-building these days.
What’s wrong with that? It’s a healthy way of life. Even an extra-busy businessman can find time to pump iron and feel good about himself. I don’t exercise to show off my muscles. I’m glad that I’ve started a health trend, if you say so. It’s better than boozing or opening beer bars.
Are you engaged? Rumours insist that you are unofficially engaged?
When I do get engaged, I’ll let everyone know. I don’t believe in hiding such things. I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m in love. Why should I? I believe in love unconditionally.
You once said that you’d marry the day you could afford it.
I can afford it now.
So are you getting married soon?
Hopefully, I’ll get married sometime next year.
What do you long for today?
A 25-hour day. Out of which, I’d like one hour to myself.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Day After Tomorrow by Allan Folson
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard BachMUSICNights in white satin—Moody Blues
Hungry eyes—from the soundtrack of Dirty Dancing
The Love Story soundtrack
Queenstown (New Zealand)
Source: Filmfare July 2000Tags: Abhishek Bachchan Amisha Patel Blast from the Past Fardeen Khan Filmfare Hrithik Roshan Interviews Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai Karan Johar Retro Shah Rukh Khan