In this special four part feature, Joginder Tuteja would be taking readers through the 10 years journey of Hrithik Roshan which has been nothing but a roller coaster ride. Seeing early success, Hrithik saw himself staring at the bottom of the barrel before a great resurgence brought a turnaround in fortunes.
Part I of this feature touches upon the phenomenon called Hrithik Roshan and how it came into existence a decade back.
In the current decade, if there is one superstar actor who has followed Aamir Khan model of working to the T, it is Hrithik Roshan. Agenda of both the actors is simple. Well, on second thoughts not really simple! They both believe in less films, big risks and bigger gains. If the adage of living on the edge was to be coined for any of the current superstars, that would have to be for Aamir Khan and then Hrithik Roshan.
While other men from the top bracket, whether Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan, have believed in working on multiple projects in a single year, Shah Rukh Khan has always ensured that he is visible on the big screen right through the year. He may be acting as a lead in one single biggie every year but then he also adds on at least a couple of guest/special/cameo appearances every year. Of course that’s his way of expressing gratitude for his friends but when it comes to someone like an Aamir or a Hrithik, even an act like this is a big no-no.
This is the reason why a Hrithik Roshan film is always an event. Underexposed on all fronts, whether it is the world of endorsements (he is seen in far lesser commercials when compared to his counterparts), television (he rarely makes an appearance on reality shows, especially between the release of his two films), stage appearances (he is not known for hosting any award ceremonies) or movies (his last release Jodhaa Akbar had arrived more than two years back), Hrithik has ensured that his fans and followers are
hungry and thirsty enough by the time promos of his next film come on air.
However, even Hrithik would agree that this hasn’t quite been a planned approach for him. It wasn’t that one fine day when he began working on Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, he promised himself to work in only one film a year (in worst case scenario, perhaps one film every two years). He had his share of mishaps; he had a flurry of mistimed released, poorly sketched roles and some sheer bad products. And worst of it all, he has faced the ignominy of being bestowed with a title which is feared by every promising newcomer who begins his career with a bang – ‘A one-film wonder on the lines of Kumar Gaurav’.
In the 90s, we have seen that happening to Rahul Roy (Aashiqui) and Ronit Roy (Jaan Tere Naam). Naturally, Hrithik didn’t want to face the same embarrassment of being totally written off, especially after spearheading a film which had created new box office records when released in 2000. He sat down, he didn’t quite relax, he formulated a strategy, he cut down on his social outings, he steered himself clear of all the wrong influences, he got himself rid of flattering accomplices and he started building it all again brick by brick.
Result? Today in the year when he completes 10 years of being a part of Bollywood as a lead actor, his Kites is being looked at as the saviour of the industry. In the times when the industry has seen only one major money spinner My Name Is Khan, it is Hrithik Roshan who is expected to bring it out of the slump by coming up with a huge success that could possibly set the cash registers ringing across the globe.
How did he manage to reach this position? What is it that made this man, who came with at least a couple of physical handicaps, to become one of the most reliable actors in Bollywood today? What is it about him that despite alleged scandals, he stays on to be the darling of the masses as well as media and comes out unscathed? Let’s explore!
When announced, Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai seemed like just another romantic film which came at the time when comedies featuring Salman Khan and Govinda were in vogue. Yes, the name Roshan counted because Rakesh Roshan was making a film after Karan Arjun and Koyla and this meant that a quality feel of the entire enterprise was pretty much on the cards. Hit music by Rajesh Roshan further helped the cause. However, expectations were still limited and the industry was just curious to know that what exactly this young boy had in store to offer to Bollywood.
Meanwhile, audience had already made up its mind. While there were still speculations amongst the industry folks, junta-janardhan put them all to rest by driving in hordes to watch Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Those were the days when multiplexes were yet to make their presence felt while single screens ruled the roost. The film opened to 100% occupancy and as is the saying, a star was born. Audience were pleasantly shocked to find that Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai came with just about everything including high octane drama, a chilling suspense and loads of action. A double role debut only satiated their appetite further and it was declared loud and clear that after enjoying a decade of monopoly in Bollywood, there was finally a strong enough competition for Shah Rukh Khan. Though the film was Hrithik’s success, there was death kneel already announced for Shah Rukh Khan. The single word headline that screamed aloud for the reigning superstar – FINISHED!
(Visit this space again for Part II of this feature where readers would be taken through Hrithik’s turnaround phase where he was almost finished)