It’s been 17 years since Hrithik Roshan made his debut in Bollywood. Ever since, his fan following has only gotten bigger. While he has seen the highs and lows in the film industry, he proved his mettle with his choice of roles.
Last year, Hrithik Roshan grabbed headlines for his divorce with childhood sweetheart Sussanne Khan and his legal battle with Kangana Ranaut. Starting afresh in 2017, in a no-holds-barred chat, the actor talks to us about his journey in Bollywood, the pressures of being a star, and why it is always the story and not the character that matters to him.
Do you have any regrets when you look back at your 17-year journey today?
I am proud of myself; it has been scary, but I have enjoyed taking up these projects. My journey has been like a theme park where there is a ghost house, a roller coaster, and more such rides. I have absolutely no regrets. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
As a public figure, your life has always been under public scrutiny. How do you deal with the pressures that come with stardom?
You are picked and chosen as a role model, so you need to be responsible as a public figure. If you find yourself in this position, take it as a challenge, become a better version of yourself. And if you don’t want to do these things, then don’t be there.
If somebody looks up to you, even if you didn’t want that position in life, fact is you have become a role model for him or her. I don’t complain because very few get this opportunity — to be influential. This is a blessing and I take it as an opportunity.
What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is probably my health. In fact, it is the only thing I pray for, because when your health is alright, you have absolutely no excuses in life to not give your best. So I continue to take good care of my health. Recently however, I have been neglecting it due to promotions and post-production of Kaabil.
How do you deal with criticism?
Criticism is a good thing — you just have to make sure that you filter the ones that aren’t constructive. I am my biggest critic. I am also my best critic because I judge myself fairly.
Coming to your film Kaabil, were you sceptical before giving the film a nod?
Kaabil has a great script — it didn’t matter whether my character Rohan was visually impaired or not. It was his journey that excited me. There is more to a film than just a character — the story needs to be powerful. My stimulation doesn’t come from the role that I will essay. For me, it is about the person, and the story that excites me. You can have a superhero in the film, but if the story is bad, I am not going to take up the film.
How did you research for the role in Kaabil?
I did a lot of things. I blindfolded myself; I met lot of my blind friends. I learnt a lot of things from them. I wasn’t aware of how much they contribute to society. In fact I think we are all blind to the blind community.
My eyes opened when I researched and realised that they are photographers, lawyers — every single profession that you can think off. I hope people understand that the blind are not helpless and needy like they have been depicted so far. They are contributing in a great way to our society and are doing well.
You have been quite experimental with your roles. You played a quadriplegic in Guzaarish, a superhero in Krrish and now a blind man in Kaabil. Have you been consciously making an effort?
One reason why I experiment is because I don’t like repetition — I don’t like playing the same guy over and over again. I get bored very easily. I like variety in my life, even in my personal life. I never go to the same place for my vacations. I like to be adventurous. I want to play something new all the time, discover something new. So it may seem like I am experimental.
You have been getting offers from Hollywood. Why haven’t you picked any so far?
I have not found something that I would love to do. I am open to it. Maybe I should make a trip to Los Angeles and then think of it.