Hrithik Roshan comes across as the calm in a stormy and tumultuous film industry that notoriously measures relationships against your box office bounty.
Roshan, who will try his luck this weekend with the period film ‘Mohenjo Daro’, claims his general mood is one of ‘mild curiosity’ at the eve of his release.
To hear this is a tad surprising, to say the least, considering a lot has been said and written of the actor’s box office face-off with Akshay Kumar’s ‘Rustom’ this weekend, with the scales not tipping in his favour according to social media chatter.
Yet, Roshan just shrugs off the nerves, telling Emirates 24|7: “I have experienced 16 years of hits and flops at the box office. I think curiosity is how you could describe my current mental state right now; it somehow sets the middle ground between anxiety and excitement.”
He continues: “If anything, these 16 years have taught me that it’s not just the box office numbers that determine your victory, but the journey itself. It’s about growing in experience and what contribution has a film or a particular script made in your own life and that of others.”
Perhaps sensing skepticism, Roshan hits the point home, stressing that it’s a lesson he also imparts to his two sons who he shares joint custody of with ex-wife, Sussanne Roshan.
“I tell my kids the same,” he shares. “I don’t care if they come first or last, as long as they have tried their best. We should all be above feat of judgement.”
Return to innocence
Diplomacy is certainly a lesson that Roshan has mastered of late, perhaps in the months following the very public and legal fallout with his one-time co-star Kangana Ranaut, who referred to Roshan as a “silly ex” – a term that he vociferously disagreed with.
While that particular relationship has been put out pasture, Roshan calls his friendship with director Ashutosh Gowariker a thing of ‘magic’.
“I can call it faith, loyalty or plain magic, but working with Ashutosh this time around on ‘Mohenjo Daro’, after doing ‘Jodha Akbar’, went beyond pitches and script reading,” Roshan confessed.
The period film dates back to 25,000 BCE, at the start of the Indus Valley civilisation, with Roshan playing a farmer who uncovers the mysteries of ‘Mohenjo Daro’.
After his last few film outings, including ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Agneepath’, his turn as a humble farmer with a mysterious past is a far cry in the glamour stakes alone. But Roshan reveals the journey was not as difficult as one would imagine.
He says: “Perhaps playing Sarman was the most enjoyable aspect of the film. I was able to reach deep down in myself and tap into that innocence, a simplicity that I knew during my first film, ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hai’. Long before the jaded existence of the film industry changes you as a person and definitely, as an actor.”
Roshan admits it’s an innocence that he still sees in his ‘Mohenjo Daro’ co-star, debutante Pooja Hegde.
“We all have to admit one day, there is no Santa Claus. As she takes baby steps into the world of Bollywood films, my advice would be to remain courageous and not be afraid of judgement,” he says. “As we grow older in the industry, we become so conditional, in the kind of roles we accept, in the formulas that we know could work.
“What you lose out on is the self-discovery. Once you know your worth, you retain the innocence.”
Dubai comes calling
As ‘Mohenjo Daro’ readies for a weekend release globally, Roshan is also gearing up for his turn as an attraction in Dubai with the opening of the Bollywood Parks in October of this year.
The theme park, which will be a part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts, will feature two of Roshan’s films, namely ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and ‘Krrish’.
The former will feature as a live stage show, while the latter will appear as ‘Krrish – Hero’s Flight’, which is slated to offer guests the region’s first panoramic flying attraction around some of India’s most famous landscapes with the masked vigilante.
Quiz Roshan and he can’t contain his excitement.
“Just knowing two of my films are being represented is such a moment of high for me,” reveals Roshan. “My efforts have established me as an actor of certain standing and that continues to motivate me.”
Does that mean he’s read to face off Shah Rukh Khan and his RA.One Unleashed ride at Bollywood Parks, which is being described as a ‘4D theatre experience that will throw guests right into the heart of the battle between good and evil’?
Roshan promptly replies: “Well, if you are competing, then why not compete with the best?”
The actor further stated he has plans to visit the amusement park with his sons in the future.
An amusement park ride in Dubai, could follow with a future home, perhaps?
“Do you have one for me?” comes the laughing reply.
Prompted further and Roshan says: “Dubai is a second home in every sense of the word. Every time I need to destress with my kids, we fly down to the city for a holiday. If there is a good opportunity then why not? Investing in property in Dubai would be a right move.”