Greek God in Bollywood is a word synonymous with Hrithik Roshan. But the man himself prefers to take the sobriquet with a pinch of salt. “That’s far from the truth. I have been to Greece and no one recognised me there,” quipped Hrithik as he took his seat in a plush suite at a suburban five star overlooking the vast Arabian sea. We inform him that the buzz on Kaabil is huge and growing with every passing day and his handsome face breaks into a happy satisfied smile. Hrithik is positive that he has given his best in the film and is now hoping the audience too will love him in the role of blind a man that he portrays.
In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, the actor spoke at length about his blind man act, clash with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees and why silence is his best weapon when faced with controversies and abuses.
WATCH VIDEO | Take 5 With Hrithik Roshan
Why do you say your role in Kaabil is your most challenging ever?
Hrithik: It’s the most challenging because the story is such that after a very long time I had the opportunity and also fright that I have to really find the center and put myself into the depth of the character. After doing films like Krrish, Bang Bang and Mohenjo Daro, Kaabil is one film where you can’t lie at all. You can’t be a hero. You have to be real. You have to be yourself. So that was a challenge. I was doing a film like this after a long time. When I started my process of how to play a blind man that process also became the most challenging from all the other ones I have portrayed till now. I have played a mentally challenged person, a quadriplegic but blind I realised is the most difficult because eyes are the most involuntary muscles in our body. Like our pupils and their dilations are involuntary. So if there is an action sequence where there is light flashing, your eyes will automatically shut. And with Sanjay (Gupta, director), you are with someone who likes to shoot in 1000 frames. So I had to build a lot of skill on taking control of my involuntary eye muscles. That took a lot of time and that was a challenge. And this discovery was made on sets and I didn’t have enough time. So not reacting to visual stimulus was a challenge.
Was it a conscious effort to not play a stereotypical blind man?
Hrithik: A stereotypical blind man has been a lie. I have been so surprised by all the blind friends I have met, Blind is no longer the blind that we thought it is. There are blind people who are CEOs of companies which are earning in millions. There are blind photographers. There is a blind bodybuilder. There are blind guitarists. So they are doing everything like any other normal person. Initially the process I had for Kaabil was of making this character sympathetic because he is blind. Even the environment of a screenplay sometimes helps a lot in building sympathy for the character. Then it becomes an author backed role. It becomes easy for the actor because he knows audience is on his side. There is that ‘bechara’ feeling. However, after I met my blind friends, I realized there is no helplessness in them. So we came back to the drawing board and rewrote the scenes and the way they interact in real life. It changed my whole process. The film became more risky and challenging because without having an author backed role, without having the film build sympathy for me, I still have to win hearts of the audience.
Given the kind of content Kaabil has, do you think your film has an edge over Raees?
Hrithik: No. (Takes a pause) I don’t think either film needs to have an edge over the other. Both are films that have to be judged by the audience and I hope both will be loved. Business should be on one side and friendship on other. Raees and Kaabil can clash. Friendship and business cannot clash. So we have to understand that they have to do the best that they can do for their film and we have to do the best that we have to do for our film. And our friendship stays intact.
WATCH VIDEO | Shah Rukh Khan On Raees Clash With Kaabil: It’s Impossible To Have A Solo Release In India
So SRK is following what he says in Raees – Jo dhande main sahi, woh sahi?
Hrithik: (Smiles) I guess. I don’t know what Dhandha he does in the film but in this dhanda(film business) it’s fine.
But numbers will be divided right?
Doesn’t that bother you?
Hrithik: How can something that is not in my control bother me?
But Hrithik, why is the clash happening. Is it not avoidable?
Hrithik: Because they couldn’t find a better date. It is not illegal.
Hrithik: Because their films are not releasing on the 25th of January.
Alright. Moving on. They say love is blind. Have you ever blindly fallen in love with anyone ever?
Hrithik: Love is not blind. Romance is. Romance is the most dangerous thing. Romance is like an illusion. It shows you things and you hear things that don’t exist. So romance ke baad jo rehta hai that is love. So love is not blind.
Are you a romantic at heart?
Hrithik: I romanticize everything.
We also saw a dignified side of yours recently where you preferred silence even when there were a lot of controversies happening around you. Is that how you are?
Hrithik: I don’t know. Whatever you are inside, the good and bad will manifest in the outside world. It will come out in someway. It will come out in your work. It will come out in words. It will come out.
Aren’t you vengeful?
So forgive and forget is your mantra?
Hrithik: Not even that. You have no reason to get distracted in your life. We are sitting here and doing this interview. If there is some person on the beach outside who is abusing you, are you going to leave this and go there and sort it out? No! You are involved here. You are enthusiastic here and that is where you will stay.