Hrithik Roshan is a guys' guy and, obviously, a ladies' man. It's not just the looks and the voice, the irony, the charm, the political and social awareness and the unphoney compassion - an Indian who isn't an embarrassment to India; it's the whole package. He must be too good, surely, to be true? The Hrithik effect is even more astounding. You can attract your own little fan club just by announcing that you are off to interview him. Within minutes you start receiving comments from friends on Facebook. Girls label him as a 'Greek God', Boys call him 'The Italian Stallion' and I call him 'The sexiest man alive'. He is like a rare Siberian tiger. He is being firmly guarded by his film and personal PR execs when I arrive for the interview in his vanity van. India's busiest star has just had three changes in a photoshoot and I am waiting for him to unwind before he calls me in his private room inside his van. But as soon as I clap eyes on him, and take in that kittenish smile, the tousled, leonine eyebrows and - of course - the lush whip of unwashed curled up hair, all that instantly vanishes. Roshan is calm, polite and pleasant: heaven on a stick. This correspondent meets the man who is flying high, who is on cloud nine but yet rooted to the ground when it comes to his acting prowess - Hrithik Roshan. In this interview Hrithik talks about Kites, the belleza Barbara Mori, father-producer-director Rakesh Roshan, the temptress Kangana Ranaut and the new man inside Film Kraft - Anurag Basu.
Hrithik Roshan is a rare example of what I consider a successful interview for any journalist.
Yes, I agree I am a rare find because I am not easily accessible. I regard that as my short coming. Other actors are able to do what I do, plus do the other social and media responsibilities. I can't. I can't do two things at the same time when I am trying to give a hundred percent to one thing. It becomes a distraction. The kind of roles I am doing are too different and it makes me immerse into the world completely. I don't see the point of being in the news and on the face of all covers just for the heck of it. It makes sense when I have something to talk about.
So you're like the joker of The Dark Knight. You get sucked into your characters
huh? (laughs) Not really. I am not that crazy. It's not about my character sucking me in. It's also about my personality. I've always been shy. I don't interact too much.
You've been flying high in the sky more than the Kites do. But how does it feel to be up there on cloud nine?
Never knew I completed a decade in acting. I am very happy standing on the ground than flying high. Feeling good about wherever you are is more important than thinking that you will feel better if you're up there. I've been through failures and successes, and have understood that there is no bad experience in life. Every experience is good. My mission in life is not money, fame or to be the best. It is to evolve as much as one can on a personal level as a human being.
Will Kites be used as a teaching tool when it comes to romance in films? Is it going to re-invent romance?
I don't think anything that is creative can be taught. But I think Kites might prove to be successful in accessing peoples mind and heart. An honest space is the source of all creativity. Kites is honest when it comes to every single frame we've shot, every single aspect of its making, every single twist, etc.
You debut as a singer in Kites too.
Yes, I have tried. When my director Mr. Anurag Basu told me to sing in the film, we all sat and thought that we were stuck. I mean, we thought that if my character sings, it had to be my voice. You can't fake that. So, I went through two weeks of training and that's all they gave me (laughs).
Is the writer a better of his film or the director or both?
Wow! I always feel that it is the brain that gives birth to the germ. If it's the writer's conception and if it's coming from that heart, he can convince me or anybody. It usually seems to be that the person who writes is the best person to express it. Fortunately for us, Anurag Basu is the writer and the director of Kites. So far in my life, whoever I've worked with, it seems that makes the best combination.
How tight is the screenplay of Kites?
I don't believe in such words. They are manipulative. If a scene requires a certain pace, then that's the pace. If the scene requires a certain sensibility, so be it. The audiences liking it or not isn't the question. The story you're expressing has to be expressed in complete sanctity. I don't think there is any right kind of filmmaking. You have to be convinced, inspired and enjoy what you're trying to do.
How objective and critical do you get when it comes down to playing your characters?
Up until Kites, everything I did was very well graphed out and calculated. Kites was all about unlearning that. Kites needed a space where you just felt like you were seeing that moment happening for the first time. To achieve that, I had to let go of all my past conditioning as an actor. My approach to my art completely took an extremist kind of a shift and that got pushed even more because of my co-actor in the film Barbara Mori. I was very influenced by her. We Indians are very happy in a small pond of acting but the people from the West with whom I've worked in the film live in a vast ocean. I let go and dived into the ocean. I never saw the reproduction of my takes in the video assist. I never wanted that safety net. I instructed everyone around me that if anyone saw me sneaking a peek, they had to stop me. That was me being critical.
Did you ever land up in a debate over Kites with your father and uncle (producer and music director of Kites)?
At every juncture. Every single decision was either agreed instantly or discussed and argued out. It was about the process of convincing each other about the better thought. There was the fourth head too, my director Anurag Basu. I cherish all arguments we had. We work without egos. It's not 'my thought' or 'your thought'. The moment one person was able to convince the others; it was readily accepted and celebrated without one feeling lesser of himself that his thought was not the successful one.