With his latest release Super 30, Hrithik Roshan may have been hoping to shift focus from his pin-up sexiness to the idea that he is a good actor, who isn’t afraid to take on the kind of challenging roles that risk-takers like Aamir Khan, Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao have patented in the last few years. Because the 45-year-old is a star, it is easy to forget that he is never really been known for his acting. In the Vikas Bahl-helmed Super 30, based on the Patna-born mathematician Anand Kumar, Roshan gets a chance to once again prove his acting mettle to naysayers who feel he is good only as a Greek god. An untiring educationist, Anand was the brain behind the Super 30 program in Patna that prepared underprivileged children for IIT-JEE, an entrance exam for the much-coveted IIT.
Though Roshan seems excited about his new Friday release, going so far as to drop his famous guard and media-shy cred to promote it extensively, Super 30 has not been easy for him. For starters, when the film’s trailer was revealed recently, audiences were shocked to see the fair-skinned star transform into a bumbling brown-face to echo Anand Kumar’s personality. Roshan later clarified that he has a “right and freedom as a creative mind” to explore his opportunities as an actor but the hard-to-please Twitterati was in no mood to entertain such a debate, especially coming from a star who, with his hazel-eyed, matinee idol looks and privileged background, had heartthrobed his way into stardom. Some critics mocked his put-on Bihari accent. One Twitter user hilariously described it as a cross between “Rohit from Koi… Mil Gaya” and “Lalu Prasad Yadav.”
Evidently, Super 30 is new territory for Hrithik Roshan. By the looks of it, it’s undoubtedly the sort of role Nawazuddin Siddiqui would slip easily into. Full marks, then, to Roshan for trying to reinvent himself with this one, but the film has not been without hiccups. To recap, director Vikas Bahl’s ‘Me-too’ allegations in 2018 kept the film’s future hanging in the balance. Bhal’s name was later cleared in June this year. But the damage was long done. Super 30 was further disrupted when the makers were forced to shuffle the release date to avoid a clash with Kangana Ranaut’s Judgementall Hai Kya.
A bit old-fashioned, Roshan, who became an overnight star with Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai way back in the millennium, has hardly experimented with his image. Save for the occasional Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Agneepath, Lakshya and Fiza, he has carefully stuck to the ‘K’ brand as espoused by his filmmaker father Rakesh Roshan. If you don’t already know, the ‘K’ brand is shorthand for tedious blockbusters that involve the alien ‘Jadoo.’
If professionally the Krrish star is finding it hard to prove that his face is still marketable in the age of Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao, his personal life – that he has so fiercely guarded over the years – has become a national sport.
It all started with an alleged affair with Kites co-star Kangana Ranaut. According to Ranaut, the couple were very much in love. Hailing from a traditional family and already much-married, Hrithik Roshan made no promises of ever making their affair public, let alone marriage. Both parties were stung as legal cases were slapped. Meanwhile, Roshan has had enough of the relentless battering. “I have had enough,” he told the media recently. Silence, he said, was no longer golden. The star, who had always kept a famous poise throughout his career, came out of his shell to fend off Ranaut’s allegations.
Throughout the media circus, in a battle with the pugnacious Ranaut, he came across not so much a mass-adored star as a down-to-earth family man trying his best to clear his name. He also came across as somewhere trying to project himself as a ‘victim.’ For Roshan, maintaining his Mr Nice rep and keeping his family together in the difficult time was all he wanted. To make matters worse, wife Sussanne Roshan divorced him at this crunch time, ending their 17-year-old relationship. It was Roshan himself who announced the split but since then, the former couple has apparently rekindled their relationship.
Bet Hrithik Roshan never dreamt of having so much dirty linen being washed publicly at his cost. But as the link-ups, flops (Kaabil and Mohenjo Daro) and the divorce finally subside, the father of two may have only one thing on his mind – the success of Super 30.