It’s more fun being bad, says Hrithik

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Hrithik Roshan is shooting for the cover of a film magazine. He arrives in full energy, then becomes increasingly agitated as things (clothes, hair and then mood) go wrong.

But he continues to fight. Four hours later, the actor, the photographer and the editor are happy with the last change, and we settle down for a chat.

Q.What have you learned from the Guzaarish experience?
A.That you have to always keep learning.

Q.As an actor or a person?
A. As a person, I realised that you have to keep discovering, making mistakes and exploring new horizons. One day, it will all converge and make sense. Whatever you are going through struggle, pain, excitement or jubilation just keep the peace and go through it. Try to always maintain the centre. Nothing is as good or bad as it seems. As long as you keep going, everything will be okay, it is guaranteed.

Q.Any lessons as an actor?
A. As an actor, I don’t know… Guzaarish is not the work of a great actor and I say that with complete humility. I didn’t feel like I was acting. Dhoom, Koi Mil Gaya and Akbar (in Jodhaa Akbar) were acting jobs because there was a lot of craft. But here, I really cannot afford to take too much of the praise to fill up my ego.

Q.People didn’t connect with Guzaarish. Wonder why?
A. Great films don’t necessarily create box office history. Guzaarish is one such work of art. If everything was about cost price and selling price and profit and loss, things that are truly beautiful like poetry and paintings would not exist. Whether they are successes or failures doesn’t matter as they exist because they add to life. In any case, I don’t think we can assess box office finality of a film like Guzaarish. While films like Kaho Naa
Pyaar Hai and Koi Mil Gaya can’t be explored in parts of the world not inclined to the Hindi commercial zone, Guzaarish can travel the globe.

Q.Most actors find it difficult to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. You managed to change him. How?
A. (Laughs) He says that. But I have heard him say that my walks affected him. Every time there was any kind of stress, I would get up from the wheelchair and just walk around in silence. The whole crew would be watching and wondering is he upset or is he focusing on what he has to do or is he just being a star and wasting time they couldn’t figure it out. Nobody had the guts to come and ask me because the garb I was wearing the beard, the hair and the clothes were so daunting…

Q.So your walk did the trick
A.You know I do that. When I am finding a solution to some thing or analyzing anything, I pace. In my room, I keep going around the bed. I don’t even realise it till some amount of time has passed. But I have never done that in public. Sanjay said the walks calmed him down. I don’t know how.

Q.Actors he works with in the future will owe the change to you.
A. I think he’s misunderstood. I’ve known him for over a year, and I think that’s enough time to assess a person not completely but enough to decide if he is a person I will like and know for the rest of my life. He’s definitely somebody I will always cherish being associated with. I would love to work with him again. He is a sensitive man, a very beautiful soul. Anyway, I don’t have any problems with anybody. For me, everybody is good.

Q. On an (unaired) episode of Koffee With Karan, SRK was speaking about love and life. He paused, laughed,and asked ‘Am I talking like Duggu?’
A.(laughs) Have I ever talked like that in public? I don’t remember speaking like that. I don’t know… maybe it has just been brewing inside me for years. I am not the kind of guy who will get into a fight. I always see the intelligent way out. Maybe I have evolved.

Q.Evolved enough to forget and forgive bad experiences?
A. I don’t believe any experience is bad, actually. (Laughs) Now, I am getting conscious when I say these things, but I have to, because that’s what I believe. Today, for some other actor would’ve been a bad day, it started with things not working out, my hairstylist left, the clothes were not right, nothing is working.. So I think, ‘Okay, what is this day trying to tell me?’ That sometimes life’s like that. That somedays nothing will go right. What are you going to do about that? Am I going to be upset, throw a tantrum and leave and say, ‘Enough I don’t need to do this, this is not my life, why do I have to work so hard for a magazine shot? I can pick one picture from my stock and give it to them. I have done three pictures already, let’s go home.’ No.

Q.You are a bit of a perfectionist, no?
A.I don’t know if it’s being a perfectionist or making the best of the day, because my entire life is one day. My entire life is sunrise to sunset. If in that day, I have failed, I am a failure. But I have always made it work. Even if today’s entire shoot would have failed, I would have not got that final shot, which excited me, I would be returning home thinking: What have I learned from this? What are my mistakes? How would I have not gone through this? So eventually the day would not be a failure because I would have learnt something.

Q.How much you think!
A. That’s one of the diseases of all human beings. At least I am not thinking from my ego, I am always trying to find the most peaceful way. I am the peaceful warrior. In my fights, aggression, there is peace. I have a crazy temper.

Q.You throw a temper tantrum?
A. I do. You have to. If you keep it inside you, it is going to explode one day.

Q.Tell me about your “crazy temper.”
A. Ask my staff. Ask them what I went through the whole day. I gave them hell. But I make up for it. I make it sound like we were all in the soup and in stress together. We are a team but now we have to be happy because the day went okay. I later make it up to them because we are a team.

Q.You were the quintessential good boy until rumours of too much partying, affair, stress with your dad, smoking, etc ran the rounds.What changed?
A. The mistake was to presume I was a good guy in the first place. (Laughs) But then I became the bad, bad boy. It’s more fun being bad boy. I think it was the whole Guzaarish look my hair was all over the place, I looked tired and haggard and I started smoking…

Q.Because Ethan smoked?!
A. Yes. There were a few scenes where he (Ethan) smoked. I thought, ‘Let’s use this as an excuse and try this.’ I am an explorer and an adventurer at heart. To be the true explorer, you have to have the courage and will of mind to go to all these beautiful places and then let go. That’s the true essence of an explorer. You have to keep letting go. It was a test. I decided, I will do it during the journey of this film and give it up when the film ends. And I gave it up. It’s been a month-and-a-half and I haven’t touched a cigarette. I don’t even have the urge. When somebody offers me a smoke, I accept it, I take it in my hand, crush it and say ‘You don’t control me, dude’. I am stronger than that. It feels good. It is empowering and now I am glad I went through it and came out strong.

Q.You have a bit of an obsessive personality, no?
A. Yes. I am an extremist in most cases. I hate monotony. I love bouncing off things. I have to keep doing things and make life more interesting. But then again, I have one T-shirt that I will keep wearing for three weeks, every second day. Till Sussanne or mom will say, ‘What are you doing? You can’t live in that one tee.’ Or I will keep wearing that one comfortable pair of jeans that really fits me well. I don’t care how people perceive it. Like my shoes or my chappals. (Pointing to feet) These are the chappals I’ve worn for the past six years or so. I keep buying the same chappals again and again. Wherever I go, if I am not wearing ‘work’ shoes, I live in these chappals.

Q.So no adventure with footwear?
A. There are so many sides to me. In some cases, I get stuck on one or two small and simple things. In big areas, I am an adventurer.

Q.Your overnight friendship meet with SRK surprised everyone. How did it happen, given you’d always been close to Salman Khan?
A. I don’t operate like that. I have equal love for Shah Rukh and Salman. I always express that whenever I meet them. I wouldn’t say Shah Rukh and I are on backslapping terms. Yes, Sussanne and Gauri have found great friendship. I am too much in awe of Shah Rukh to be his friend. There is a reverence there, and deep respect. Whenever there is a cause for celebration, these are the people we celebrate and share love with.

Q.Now let’s talk about why you took on Salman after a tabloid reported that he’d slammed your film.
A. I am not the kind of guy who likes to war or fight. I was hurt. If it was a personal attack, I would have laughed it off, because I love Salman and I know he has only love for me. But instinctively, when you hear someone say something about your baby your film and your baby can’t protect itself, you have to stand up for that baby you have nurtured, it is such an innocent part of you. But I realised that using the media as a platform to express the hurt towards a person you have so much love for maybe is not the right thing to do. These are all things you learn through the course of experience.

Q.So you sorted it out?
A. Salman and I had a talk after that, we are cool, we’ve set up a date to work out. I spoke to Salim uncle also, our fathers spoke in fact. Salman has promised to watch the film whenever he’s free. So it’s all good. In fact at the end of it all, I am glad what happened, happened because our bond has become stronger.

Q. You remember how it was when your dad was shooting with both of them for Karan Arjun…
A. Of course, I remember.

Q.So how was it?
A. They were boisterous rascals. And so much fun, I just wanted to be like them. I just had a great time watching both these icons strut their stuff, and both of them were extremely opposite to each other. I got to observe them and learn that there is no right way or wrong way. If Shah Rukh is right, it doesn’t mean Salman’s way is wrong. If Salman’s right, it doesn’t mean Akshay or Aamir are. Everyone has to have their individual strengths backed by their passion.

Q.What are your strengths?
A. I think my tenacity, my stubborness, the awareness that the world is much more than what meets the eye. My belief that there is an answer to all this and my desire to find out my ultimate potential and capability as a human being. What am I made of? How much can I take? Can I find myself through my challenges? My need and urge to discover myself more and more and my need to keep rising up and at the same time my awareness that it does not make me a better or worse person than the guy next door, is my strength.

Q.Whew! Are you a difficult person to live with?
A. (Smiles) Not at all. I have no rules, no laws, I am okay with everything, I just have no problems.

Q. You sound like the perfect husband.
A. I guess I am. Believe me, I hear that every day, so I must be.

Q.Are you a better husband or a better dad?
A. (Thinks) Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I think as a husband and son I am equally good, but being dad is something I have to work on. That’s a lot I miss, a lot I can do, but I keep thinking there’s a time for it. Before I jump on the bed and play with the kids, I have to oil my joints. I already feel old.

Q.How do they react when they see you on screen?
A. Hrehaan is now sort of realising that his father is a bit more important than other people around because everybody keeps coming up to me and shaking my hand and taking pictures with me. He is just about realising that something weird is happening. We have to make him realise all the time that he should not feel extra special, and make extra effort to keep him grounded and that’s something my dad and mom did very well with me, I guess.

Q.The whole Barbara Mori thing… did it stress your personal life?
A. In the broader picture, no. The one distress it can cause is make relationships awkward. But there was never any distance between Barbara and us. We really bonded well throughout the journey. There was no distance. We were always connected, so there was no awkwardness post what was written. If my family was affected, I would have definitely spoken about it. Everyone has a point of view about a celebrity. I did not speak as I realised that as a person who has attained whatever amount of fame, you have to choose the battles you want to fight.

Q.Throughout your career, you’ve been linked to actresses.
A. Not like this. But I feel when you start reacting to everything people say, you are not going to be able to live your life.

Q.Your family never questioned you?
A. My family will never question me. They love me too much. Sussanne knows me too. There’s never been stress in that factor. You have to also know that you can’t fight, because you are battling it on a platform that is owned by those saying these things. So it is better to just maintain your dignity. I’ve always maintained that people can say only one of two things – they can either say the truth , so I don’t need to react or they can spread lies, so I don’t need to react anyway. It’s simple.

Q.What’s next?
A. Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara will release. And there’s Agneepath which I don’t know how I am going to do. But I have signed it, so I am going to go through my motions… After Agneepath, Krrish 2 begins in August 2011.

Q.No break after Guzaarish?
A. Going to Spain and doing ZMND was kind of a break.

Q.Your dad made the first Indian superhero film and set a trend.
A. Yes, that’s amazing. He’s always been a flagbearer, taking his cinema places where no one’s been.

Q.Your best films have been with your dad…
A. Yes, our combination works very well because I am the kind of guy who will wait for the leaf to fall, but he knows the pulse of the audience, he doesn’t want to waste time, he will have everything he requires, he knows the demand and he supplies it. There are people who know the demand but don’t know how to supply it as well. He has taken three years to script Krissh.

Q.Being so different, how do you work together?
A. It’s beautiful, it’s wonderful, we have our fights, but there’s so much love that comes out once the shot is done. He’ll crack a joke and make sure I’ll hear it and laugh or I will do something for him. It just works out. I can’t wait to begin working with him again.

[Story Source] [Contest win Rs 1000-100,000 now]

This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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