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 starting at the bottom of the barrel before a great resurgence brought a turnaround in fortunes.
Part III of this feature takes readers through a phase where forward planning by Roshans resulted in a great revival of fortunes for Hrithik
Coming from a family made of people belonging to the world of films comes with its own definite advantages and no one other than Hrithik would be able to vouch for this better. When the going wasn’t good for a couple of years when all films starring Hrithik were disappointing either critically or commercially, Roshans were busy devising a plan of their own. They were not waiting for the final nail in the coffin to be set before smelling the coffee. They conceived the idea of Koi Mil Gaya and began preparations for modern day India’s first authentic sci-fi film. The picture was clear on the wall – Outside film makers had their set notion about Hrithik and they weren’t willing to experiment. Hrithik too needed a hit fast and a huge one at that, lest he was crowned ‘Kumar Gaurav’. Totally surrendering himself to the vision that his father had, he began working hard on the toughest role of his career ever, that of Rohit Mehra, who had the body of a 20 year old but the mind of a 10 year kid.
It was history revisited all over again as Koi Mil Gaya saw a massive all India opening for Hrithik Roshan. Along with Jadoo, he was back to being the nationwide heartthrob all over again. Being unconventional was suddenly in. For Hrithik, it was not just a matter of box office success coming in, but also a revival of prestige, something that was much dearer to him than all the money which was flowing in. He was hailed as an actor par excellence and before Aamir Khan made it a habit to surprise audience with every release of his, it was Hrithik who showed the world that being unconventional, unpredictable and unassuming can work as well.
Though the film was a massive success, it also kick started the process of some extreme strategising by Hrithik Roshan. Ladies and gentlemen, Hrithik had made up his mind. Multiple films were out, select films were in and spacing of releases by a wide margin was going to be the order of the day. And yes! the placard lying in the backyard finally found its place where it truly belonged – The garbage bin!
The Road Less Travelled
If at all Hrithik’s career has to be plotted, it would be pre-Koi Mil Gaya and post-Koi Mil Gaya. Let’s just play on sheer numbers here. Before the release of Koi Mil Gaya, Hrithik had 9 releases to his name in 3 years. Post the release of Koi Mil Gaya, Hrithik has been seen in only 5 films (including Luck By Chance where he had an extended guest appearance) in over 6 years. Doesn’t that tell the tale? And no, we are not talking about a superstar who turned into a star and then a flop actor and then completely vanished from the face of the earth due to which such a treatment was meted to him. Instead it is by choice and not by chance that he has seen his turnaround from being a superstar to star to being finished and then turning into a superstar all over again.
The strategy had been pretty much put into action and it was only after a year’s gap that he was seen on the big screen again in Lakshya. For both Farhan Akhtar and Hrithik Roshan, the film was akin to coming out of their safety zone. But they did that with aplomb. The film opened to mixed reviews and decent box office collections and though super success wasn’t quite the order of the day, appreciation did come Hrithik’s way as far as his brilliant performance was concerned. It is a different matter though that for many out there, the film enjoys a cult status today and finds repeat audience when it comes to home viewing.
Meanwhile the gaps had started widening as far as his releases were concerned. Audience had to wait for full two years before Hrithik was seen on the big screen again. There was a clear Aamir Khan influence and while Hrithik prepared himself for far more physically challenging Krrish that stays on to be the most lavishly mounted and successful superhero film ever that has been churned out of Bollywood, his fans were turning impatient.
Their persistence paid as Hrithik gave them not one but two reasons to smile. His Krrish was followed by Dhoom 2 and together both the films turned into bumper successes all over. Though Krrish was a worthy sequel to Koi Mil Gaya but it got some tongues wagging that Hrithik could deliver successful films only with his father. The all time highest collections of Dhoom 2 (before Om Shanti Om broke that record) had these tongues on leash. 2006 turned out to be a landmark year for Hrithik and it appeared that he would be primarily choosing action films in years to come.
However, these years were spaced out by quite some gap. Though he made single shot special appearance as himself in I See You and Om Shanti Om, he involved himself completely in the making of his biggest epic drama till date – Jodhaa Akbar.
(Visit this space again for the concluding Part IV of this feature which takes readers through the risky route that Hrithik has [successfully] undertaken during last three years
and is expected to follow in the years ahead)