Hrithik Roshan CityMasala August 2011 interview
By: Tirusha Patwa
The word “immortalize,” as deﬁned by Dictionary.com, when used as a verb means, to bestow unending fame upon, or in simplest
terms, to make immortal. When we look at Bollywood, there are many actors who have graced the platform as being immortalized
for their acting abilities; and lately there has been one actor, who has shot right up the ladder since his debut in Bollywood.
In the 1980’s, Hrithik Roshan started his career in the ﬁlm industry, but it wasn’t until 2000 that the ice ﬁnally broke when he was
cast as the lead in Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai. The movie was so successful that Roshan became that ultimate superstar overnight. With
numerous Filmfare and industry awards on his shelf, and sleek dance moves on the ﬂoor, it is no wonder that Roshan was rising
quickly to the coveted top position in Bollywood.
Roshan soon began riding the wave of success and landed blockbuster ﬁlms such as Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Ghamm, Dhoom 2, Jodhaa
Akbar, to the ever-popular, Guzaarish. Roshan has also been named one of the many few Bollywood celebs to be enlisted into the
world-famous Madam Tussauds wax museum. In the start of a new era, Roshan is still booming and not only in the ﬁlm industry; he
has also taken the television route, just like his fellow co-stars, and now you can see him on his show Just Dance. As Roshan prepares
for the launch of his forthcoming release, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, I had the opportunity to ask him about his past, present, future
and what makes him truly immortal.
CM: Before we get into your
ﬁlm career, I’d like to talk
about something about you,
which many don’t know;
you attended Sydenham
College and attained your
Bachelor’s Degree in
Commerce. Before entering
Bollywood, did you ever put
the degree to use? Why did
you not consider attending
college for music, production
or another artistic ﬁeld?
HR: You know, although I was
never pushed into a career
in the industry, for me, it
always felt like a natural
career path. I had such
wonderful role models to
gain inspiration from –
my father, my paternal
uncle and my maternal
grandfather. I had been
exposed to the industry
from a young age, but
was always encouraged by
my family to excel in my
studies and have a solid
Quite by chance, I had the
opportunity of appearing
as a child artist in three
of my father’s ﬁlms and
of assistant directing in
a couple of later ﬁlms.
Even though I focused
wholeheartedly on my
education at that time
in my life, I was always
drawn to a career in the
industry, in some way
CM: Now onto one
thing that many
admire of you: you are a
man of many roles. You are
an actor, a husband and a
father. You’ve been married
for 10 years now and along
with your talents, your wife
is quite the businesswoman
as well. How do you balance
both a professional and
personal lifestyle equally?
HR: I think for both of us,
family and personal life is the
ﬁrst priority always. We both
have demanding professional
schedules, but make sure
that after work all of our
time is spent together. Where
possible, my family travels
with me for any overseas
work commitments and it is
fortunate that my wife also
comes from a ﬁlm background,
so she understands the
commitments, the long working
hours and so forth. Again, it’s
about prioritising and family
comes ﬁrst and foremost for
both of us.
CM: Do you hope that both
Hridhaan and Hrehaan
will grow up and follow
the Roshan legacy into
HR: I would want to encourage
them to follow the path that
they feel most passionately
about. I am very conscious
about keeping them out of the
public eye as much as possible
and for them to live their
lives as normally as possible,
as grounded and humble
individuals. They are aware of
what their dad does as a career,
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CM: There were a few films you starred in which
didn’t do too well at the box office. However,
critically your acting was highly praised. How
do you handle such criticism? Are they merely
bumps in the road or truly something that one
can learn from as an actor?
HR: That’s what I mean about taking risks – you
never know how audiences will react until they have
seen the end result. From my side, it is the audiences
that I have in mind from the outset – I want to give
them my best, offer them something new, and it
is ultimately their approval I seek. So when they
don’t take well to one of my films, I am certainly
disappointed as I feel I have let them down, and it
makes you evaluate what did not work. You have to
learn from those experiences, ever more determined
to win their approval the next time round.
but I don’t want them to be influenced by that. Both
Sussanne and I try to instil in them a value system
based on hard work, humility, honesty and integrity.
Coming back to your question, we will support them
unconditionally in whichever career paths they are
respectively drawn towards and encourage them to do
their very best in their chosen fields.
CM: One of your most acclaimed roles was of
Ethan Mascarennas, a quadriplegic patient
in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s, Guzaarish. When
approached for the role, what was your initial
reaction? How did you prepare for such a role?
Did you spend time with such patients to learn
their behaviour better?
CM: Now onto your Bollywood career! In the
1980’s you appeared in films as a child actor.
However your Bollywood debut was in 2000 in
the film Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai. How have you
grown as an actor? What were your weaknesses
when you began and now what are your
HR: When I was offered the role, I embraced it
wholeheartedly. Disability has never really been
highlighted in our films, or even in mainstream
cinema, so it was extremely important for me to
sign this film. My first thought was, am I going to be
able to do justice to the role, as that was the most
important aspect, above all
else. I had to do justice to
the role and spent a lot of
time with patients, finding
out more about their dayto-day lives, their thoughts,
frustrations, their optimism
as well as their worries, and
also about how they feel
others perceive them.
HR: I think for me, as an artist, it is important to keep
challenging myself and pushing my boundaries. I think
I’ve grown through selecting
film projects that allow me to
step out of familiar comfort
zones and to give the audience
something new, something
different and something that
surpasses my previous roles.
I guess my initial weaknesses
involved paying too much
attention to opinions that don’t
count and I have learned to
differentiate between opinions
that do and don’t count, over
time. Primarily, it is the opinion
of fans, family and friends that
I take on board.
For me, the role was a
milestone in my career,
but more important that
any sort of critical acclaim
was the fact that we had
the opportunity of raising
awareness around disability in our films. It is not
something filmmakers should ignore – it needs to be
addressed and the misperceptions removed.
I think my strengths now lie in the ability to trust my
instincts, and to take risks. I have been offered some
amazing roles that I may not have had the opportunity
of delivering, had I remained in my comfort zone.
CM: You are currently shooting for ZIndagi
Na Milegi Dobara, directed by Zoya Akhtar.
We already know it has an amazing cast, a
danceable soundtrack and exotic locations. Do
share some more details about your character
and the film!
CM: In 1995 and 1997, you were an assistant
director, helping in the production of your
father’s two films, Karan Arjun and Koyla. How
did these experiences help you as you were
stepping into Bollywood?
HR: Filming completed sometime back and the film
releases shortly. It is a beautiful film project and a
completely fresh offering in terms of Indian cinema. It
is a gentle, humorous and extremely human road trip
film, which takes three male friends on the ultimate
bachelor party trip across Barcelona. It ends up
being a journey of self-discovery for each of them in
different ways and forces them to re-evaluate their
HR: They gave me an extremely good grounding into
how the industry works. It was also invaluable insofar
as gaining insight into the other side of the fence –
what a director wants from his artists, which I was
certainly more mindful of when I appeared on the
other side of the camera.
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CM: So Hrithik, you are the 5th Bollywood
actor to be inducted into Madam Tussauds Wax
Museum (London) on January 20th, 2011. How
does it make you feel as an actor or person that
your wax statue stands tall alongside figures
such as Gandhi and Obama?
HR: You know, I am so honored to be sharing the
same platform as four of India’s leading film stars as
well as some of the worlds most iconic and respected
personalities who also have their wax figures featured
at Madame Tussauds.
I never imagined in my wildest of dreams that I
would one day be unveiling my own wax figure at the
world famous attraction. I have memories of visiting
Madame Tussauds as a 12-year old and queuing up
for hours outside to come face to face with some of
my most loved stars and icons. It feels as though
this honor signifies the milestone that I have reached
in my life, embodying the challenges, the low and
the high points that have thus far enriched my life
I play a character called Arjun, a financial trader
based at a large, London firm. Arjun lost his father at
a young age and subsequently saw a very tough life.
As a result, he is extremely driven and determined to
succeed and get ahead.
CM: You are also finishing up filming for
another release, the remake of the 1990 film,
Agneepath. In this film, you reprised the role of
Vijay Deenanath Chauhan, originally played by
Amitabh Bachchan. Tell us about the intensity
behind the film and your character.
CM: Thinking about today’s generation, we
HR: It’s a very intense experience but completely
fulfilling. The original film and Mr. Bachchan’s
inimitable performance are iconic staples of
Indian cinema. I wouldn’t even try to emulate his
performance, but it is about justly paying respect
to such an amazing film and an unforgettable
I am honoured to be playing the role, but
naturally, a lot of pressure comes with it.
I sincerely hope Mr. Bachchan, the original
filmmakers and audiences are happy with my
CM: Many critics are already saying that
you’re taking a huge step by redoing a
character that has been portrayed by Bachchan.
Do you think it’s fair for them to make such a
comparison? How does such a comparison make
are indeed living in a social network era and
you’re living proof of that. You’re very active on
Twitter. How has your daily Tweets worked in
regards to reaching out to your fans and show
that you are a “real person,” and live a “real
life,” like the rest of us?
HR: Again, Mr. Bachchan is an iconic institution in his
own right and I would never try to compare myself
to him. He is one of the biggest role models and
inspiration of many. Mr. Bachchan is Mr. Bachchan
and no one else would come close to that. So what I
am trying to do is pay respect to him and the film in
my own way, with the sincere hope that my tribute is
HR: It is so wonderful to have the opportunity of
connecting with fans in this way. At the end of the
day, I am a regular guy who goes through the same
range of emotions and feelings as the next man. I
am so blessed and fortunate to be doing something I
love doing, career-wise, and to receive so much love,
affection and support from my fans across the world.
I love the interaction that Twitter allows with my fans
and to be able to engage with them on a daily basis.
CM: In this film you are also starring opposite
Priyanka Chopra. Many are stating that the
on-screen chemistry you two share is intense,
giving Johar (Karan) déjà vu of the original
Agneepath. Please share on working alongside
Chopra and how the experience has been.
Here are some questions from our readers!
Kiran Bahl from FL, USA - Whom do you find
intimidating beside yourself, being that you’re so
hard on your own work?
HR: Priyanka is a formidable actress, extremely
gifted and also a dear friend. We share a great
screen rapport and I think we are equally conscious of
paying just respects to the original film through our
HR: I’m not sure if anyone intimidates me as such.
7/25/2011 6:44:56 PM
Bettina Kt from CA, USA,
asks: You live in the
glamorous world of movies
and fashion and revered by
millions. What do you think
about the disparity between
“the haves and the havenots” in India? Do you think
the ones that are fortunate
do enough to give back,
create jobs etc or do you
think most are desensitized to
the poverty, child labor, and
mistreatment of women?
HR: The disparity never fails
to shock and upset. You would
have to be heartless not to feel
it. There is a huge amount to
do to overcome poverty, social
injustices, prejudice, abuse, and
neglect the world over. All of us
that are fortunate enough to be
in the positions we are in have a
responsibility to our fellow human
beings to try and make life better
for all. As mentioned, there is
still a huge amount to do, and
the onus is on all of us to take
responsibility and do whatever
we can, within our individual
capacities, to improve things.
Nandini Chakraborty from
PA, USA - What kind of dance
training did you have before
you entered films? You’re
HR: Ah, thank you Nandini. You
know, I didn’t actually have any
formal dance training before
entering films. I love dance as a
form of self-expression and art,
so I have always been drawn
to it. However, the amazing
choreographers I have had the
pleasure of working with gave
formal training in films to me.
Anju Mangla from Delhi,
India - What do you want to
change about yourself?
HR: Hm, nothing really – not in
an arrogant way, but because
I believe all of our character traits are gifts from
God and collectively combine to make us the unique
individuals that we are. I think it is about embracing
yourself for whom and how you are and making the
most of everything you have been blessed with.
HR: It has been a pleasure for me too Tirusha –
thank you. To CityMasala readers and my fans across
the world, I would like to say thank you so much for
your continued support, love and affection. You have
encouraged me to get where I am today and that
means the world to me. I’d also like to say, follow
your dreams; work hard with integrity, honesty and
passion, and anything is achievable. I love you all.
CM: When I was told I had the opportunity to
interview you, I was ecstatic. Hrithik, this has
been a complete pleasure. Do you have any final
words for the readers of CityMasala magazine
and your fans across the world?
7/25/2011 6:48:37 PM