The actor discusses his new-found desire to push the boundaries of learning as he looks up to move West, to Hollywood, in search of new opportunities
I couldn’t brush my teeth properly in seven minutes. Yet that is all the time Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan could spare for an interaction.
The star, last seen in the action film War, had flown to Chennai to launch Rado’s True Square design watches at Express Avenue. I get to meet Hrithik an hour before he sets off to the venue, at Taj Connemara. As his entourage guides the way into a large hall, I come across the man posing for cameras against a black backdrop; he is sporting an unbuttoned denim jacket that reveals a white, round neck vest which he has paired with jeans and a pair of white shoes.
Striving for excellence
Now Hrithik, for those who keenly follow his social media accounts, is well aware of his status as a style icon. So, naturally, when I grab a chair and sit next to him, I had to remark that it takes someone of his stature to carry off plain denim so fashionably well in 2020. He smiles. “I don’t know, man. I really don’t know fashion. I just wear whatever my stylist picks and see if I’m comfortable with it. If I am, then I go with it,” he says. That can’t be true. “I want to be a fashion student. I want to learn. It needs work and time. It is not easy. I’m picking up things here and there.” Perhaps that explains the pictures of him in a towel, which he shared a couple of days ago and for which he cited Ranveer Singh as inspiration.
Into his seventh year as the face of Rado, the actor says that the watches have helped him “articulate” some aspects of his character.
Yet it has taken him over two decades, since making his debut as lead actor in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000), to realise the possibilities of evolving. The actor confides that he prefers to have less filters about him. “I have a new-found joy in being a little more unfiltered... little reckless too, perhaps, as opposed to becoming the kind of person that you know will be liked,” he laughs, and adds: “As actors, you tend to do that. You filter all the negatives out to fit yourself and retain the things that you know have been proven to work, and [make you feel] loved.”
“To be honest, I’m looking at the entire world for a good script. [I want] to be in an environment where I would get to learn something new... one that would challenge me, would make me want to wake up and be wide-eyed... you know, like a student. That is how I want to be on the [film] set. I detest the fact that I could be on a set this day and be the one everyone looks up to,” he says.
An interesting comment, I observe, and Hrithik corrects it a bit. “I don’t detest it but I think it really mars my personal growth. I want to learn. Hopefully, with Gersh, or with Hollywood, I may get those chances. I look for them even here and those are the kind of films I end up doing,” he adds.
The star asserts that it cannot be misconstrued as Hrithik assuming that he has hit a ceiling in Bollywood. “I’m just looking at the potential. There is a probability that if I’m with people in a new environment, and who have been in the business for far more years than our industry has even existed... there are more chances of me being even more wide-eyed. It is not that I want to be a Hollywood star. That’s not my aim at all. I’m just looking for a good script,” he notes.
On safe ground
Since last year’s War, which took the best opening of the star’s career, Hrithik has been on a sort of break, “reading scripts and watching a lot of films”. But he is also getting ready to film Krrish 4, the third film in the superhero spin-off of his 2003 hit Koi... Mil Gaya, though he does not divulge any details. “We are just working on it right now,” he smiles. The actor has been known to push his fitness to a superhuman level when filming the franchise. He has also hurt himself in the process of filming stunts for his films. Such freak injuries could be a thing of the past for Hrithik, who last underwent a surgery for subdural haematoma that he sustained in a fly-boarding stunt sequence while filming Bang Bang! 2014).
“I’ve put myself in harm’s way a lot of times for films like Krrish and Dhoom 2. But there is complete safety now. The technology is so wonderful that you never really need to put yourself at risk. You just need to have a certain level of fitness, which is what I’m aspiring for,” he says.
Being fit, though, means more for the actor. “It means to be the best version of myself. [Fitness] for me is not really about the biceps and the six pack abs. It is really about living a life that is wholesome. Fitness is the best way to get to that point,” he concludes.