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“You have to step out of the crease and go for that sixer”

Box Office India: What has it been like for you post the release of Krrish 3?

Hrithik Roshan (HR): I have barely slept. I think Tuesday night was the first night I slept like a superhero! We were all waiting for Monday’s collections because that was the big holiday. I am very excited and proud of my father and the entire team of Krrish 3. When we were making the film, we had no idea whether we would succeed.

To be able to invest three years in one single project and believe in it, you need the support of various people. When the journey is long and hard, many quit along the way and some people stick by you. So I want to thank all our friends who stuck by us including those who stood silently by us. When the film released, we had to wait for a few days to actually gauge the reaction. I was finally able to exhale only on Monday.

If you look at my dad’s career graph, from Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, to Koi… Mil Gaya, Krrish and now Krrish 3, it has been an incredible journey. It is a matter of pride that he is able to cater to the new generation at his age. Kids love Krrish 3, women love the film, daadis love the film, chacha and chachis… everyone loves the film. I am very happy that he has finally achieved something which he felt was impossible.

BOI: What went through your mind on the eve of the release? Were you expecting the numbers that came in?

HR: I can’t recollect what I was thinking; it was all a blur. I just prayed that we may get what we deserved. People were speaking very highly of the film and that was a positive sign. There was some discussion about whether it would have been better if we had released the film on November 4 (Monday), which was the earlier plan, and shatter records. My father thought he had missed out on the first-day opening shattering records. If we had released the film on a Monday, we would have easily earned Rs 45-50 crore. But it seems we have still broken records and are marching ahead of the others. The collections from Friday, Saturday and Sunday are like a bonus. So I think the strategy worked and now it’s just about waiting and nurturing the baby and making it stronger every day.

BOI: You visited several cinemas. What was the response like?

HR: The theatre visits were incredible. Mujhe bahut kum chance milta hai theatre visit karne ko as I do few films. Just one in two years or once a year. Krrish aayee hai do saal baad, so I thought I must go. I am so proud to be an Indian because the Indian audience opens their hearts to you. They shout, they whistle, they clap. I think this is one area where we are miles ahead of Hollywood. Where love is concerned… how to show love, how to receive love… only Indian audiences can do that.

I feel very sad for people like Al Pacino, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. I feel very bad for them as they will never experience this kind of euphoria over their films. Unless, of course, they want to shift to Bollywood! So I am absolutely delighted to be an Indian actor.

BOI: …and an Indian superhero?

HR: Oh yes! That’s the tag now. It has become a symbol for me in my heart and head. We must live our lives as superheroes and it’s actually pretty simple. You just have to decide that no matter what happens, what problems come your way, you have to brush them off and move forward. That’s what a superhero does as he is always in the front row. Krrish has made a very great impact on my character. I am grateful to God and my dad and everything that has motivated us to keep pushing the envelope and thinking out-of-the-box, and doing what no man has done before. The lesson is, it works. Sometimes, you have to step out of the crease, be vulnerable and go for that sixer.

BOI: Which character is closer to you, Rohit or Krrish?

HR: Rohit. A superhero is all about his super weaknesses. If you don’t have weakness, you can’t be a superhero. My entire childhood was about weaknesses. I was laughed at a lot, and I was teased a lot. I didn’t have friends when I was a kid, I didn’t want to speak to anyone, I didn’t believe in God. That’s where I come from in my mind. That entire segment of my life is an embodiment of Rohit.

Many of the scenes in Koi… Mil Gaya mirrored scenes from my childhood, like the one where they break Rohit’s cycle. So when I play Rohit, it’s a part of me. Krrish is that part of me that decided to overcome these difficulties, to fight back and say ‘I am going to do it no matter what obstacles come my way.’ So Rohit and Krrish are extremes but are different aspects of my personality. When I play Rohit, I play half my life; when I play Krrish, when I wear the mask, I feel a sense of power run through me, you know, the power to overcome my weaknesses.

BOI: Was it difficult to play Rohit after so many years?

HR: It was quite difficult because I was wondering whether I would be able to get that same tone of voice. Since one changes as one grows older, I was wondering whether I would be able to get Rohit back after seven years. I took a long time to get his walk back, and his tone of voice. Now he is a father, so he needs to have strength and impart that wisdom to his son. It was a lethal and challenging combination.

But, since Rohit is such an integral part of myself, it eventually just flowed. Once I did those two weeks of prep and got the make-up right, I was on my way. I knew Rohit was the hero of the film, even more than Krrish or Krishna. From Koi… Mil Gaya itself, it has always been Rohit, every story revolves around Rohit. I am happy that people loved him and sad that he is no more.

BOI: But he is still a part of you?

HR: Yes, he is within me but now there is also Krrish 4 and Jadoo. There are possibilities to everything. Once you tell a story with conviction, anything is possible. So Rohit will be back.

BOI: Considering the Krrish brand, you could have come up with anything and it would have still made BIG money. But you chose to build the brand further. What was the thought behind making Krrish 3?

HR: If you look at filmmaking only as a business, you will never strive to push, to evolve and take cinema forward. There are a few of us who believe in pursuing perfection, the unimaginable, and pushing ourselves to see just what we are capable of. And the universe always supports progress. The universe always supports evolution. If you want to be supported by the universe, you have to keep evolving. If you look at it only as business, even the universe will not support you.

It is important to be in sync with everything and everything you create has to evolve. It is more than money; it is about contributing to the world through cinema. If we can inspire; if we can make people think; if we can activate the imagination of a child, then that is our responsibility.

BOI: Is that the reason you came up with three parts in 10 years? Surely, you could have made more installments in the franchise?

HR: We could have but I was busy with other films. Also, dad wanted to take a break and sit back as a student. I appreciated that someone of his age, his calibre, his status wanted to learn from the new generation and see how they think. That’s why he made Kites. He learnt a lot from those experiences and that is evident in Krrish 3. The other day, when I was at Chandan cinema in Juhu, everybody screamed ‘Krrish 4, Krrish 4…’ So I was like, ‘Arey, teen saal ke baad khatam huyi Krrish 3 and abhi Krrish 4!’

When I emerged from the auditorium, I got some ideas and grew very excited. I want to discuss them with dad.

BOI: Of the three films in the franchise, which one are you most satisfied with?

HR: As an actor, my first film, Koi… Mil Gaya was extremely close to me it was an eyeopener. It was the first time I had experienced the true flight of an actor. It was the first time I didn’t have to stick to my dialogue. It was the first time when after the shot got over, I didn’t know what I had done. So I experienced the true flight of an actor because I was very much in sync with Rohit. I knew the character so well that the moment the camera began to roll, I would do anything. I used to just fly and when Papa would say ‘cut’, I didn’t know what I had done.

We would check the monitor and be surprised at the things I had done, and I wondered how I did it all. We were like, ‘This was not part of the dialogue’! So I would choose Koi… Mil Gaya as it revealed the true actor in me.

But as a student of cinema plus as an actor, and as a human being, a person who is striving all the time to achieve the impossible… in all those ways, Krrish 3 surpasses all the other films I have done. It was a risky film, where dad and I had to sometimes push each other to make it.

Dad had shelved the film three or four times while the script was being written because he was, like, ‘How will we make it? We don’t have the budget.’ The scripting had begun while Agneepath was being shot. So there were a lot of risks but we still kept going forward. There was a magnetic pull. I don’t think we were being pushed; we were being pulled. It was like we had to do it, it was like our duty.

I said to my father that, ‘Now that you have the idea and a script in place, it is your duty to make it.’ And he’d say, ‘But what’s the point? It will not make any money; you will not make any money.’ But I told him we had something great in hand and that we had to be enthusiastic about it. That is why I am proudest of this film.

BOI: Krrish 3 explores complex ideas like mutants, antidotes and viruses. Was it ever a concern that our masses may not understand the film?

HR: Yeah! This concern first came to mind when I was doing Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, when in the climax sequence, the villain’s identity is revealed via cell phone. At the time, mobile phones were non-existent. But I realised that movies are also about giving the audience something new, stimulating their minds, so that they question things like yeh kya ho raha hai and kaise ho raha hai.

When I first watched Back To The Future, I had no idea of what time travel was. So, I was like, arrey aisa bhi ho sakta hai? It opens up your imagination. So I am always in favour of introducing things that are educational, that will stimulate the minds and not spoon-feed the audience. A lot of people have watched the film a second time because they wanted to understand its nuances.

The best part is that although the devices in the film are complicated, my father is a very simple man and can present these things to the audience. So the ‘dimaagwala filter’ was as simple as we could get. We did not complicate anything. When Rohit reminds him of the ‘dimaagwala filter’, people understand. The audience doesn’t want to know what a filter does, they just know that it will do something to obstruct the flow of bad energy and make something good happen. So we scored a sixer with that. The moment dad said ‘dimaagwala filter’, we knew that this was the simplest way to explain it.

BOI: Also, maanwar, for that matter?

HR: Yes, he is a genius to have coined that word… a mutant who is a maanav and a jaanwar would be a maanwar. My dad always keeps it simple. All his films, even in Koi… Mil Gaya, he introduced an alien who comes to Earth and lives in a small home in a lower middle class family and ends up saying Maa! Only my dad can convince the audience in this manner. If another director wants to do it, they would be laughed at. If you get the emotion right, everything else is just decoration.

BOI: What does Krrish 3 mean to you in your 13-year journey as an actor from Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai?

HR: Wow! As I said earlier, Krrish 3 has had the most powerful impact on me as a human being. I always try to imbibe certain aspects of the characters I play. I try and see what I lack and the things I have to do. In Jodha Akbar, Akbar for instance, had to lead an army of 20,000 people and motivate them. Do I have that in me? I don’t think so. So I imbibe that through that character. So, all through these years, I have tried to imbibe all that in me, through the characters I have played. I have grown through some roles.

This has been maximum through Krrish, and I am shocked at how easy it is. Even when I had brain surgery, I wondered what would Krrish have done in such a situation where you assume the worst. I will sing songs if that’s what it takes but I will come out of it. Why assume the worst?

Normally, if I were not associated with Krrish and a doctor told me that I had blood in my brain; I would have been so depressed that I had to deal with a knee problem, a back problem and now a hole in my brain. I would be, like, ‘I don’t want to play this role.’ But through Krrish, I have learnt how to focus on the positive, how to spread joy, how to smile through the worst phase of my life.

Krrish 3 has also moved our cinema forward in so many ways. It has broken records. I stand hand in hand with all the people in the industry who are taking on the responsibility of shattering every record. And I don’t mean only the big stars and the big films; I mean even the small films that are out-of-the-box and are being appreciated. Those films are also moving our cinema forward in so many ways.

BOI: Speaking of Hrithik, the actor… Krrish 3 is very different from an Agneepath, a Guzaarish and a Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. What does it tell us about where your acting journey is headed?

HR: I feel I have to fill myself with my characters. So when I do an Agneepath, I feel completely empty and I have to fill myself with that character. I have to assume another personality to be able to portray that kind of energy and power and sensitivity. So I believe I am an extremist because I love bouncing off from a Guzaarish, to Agneepath, to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. I love being an adventurer and an explorer. I think life is about that. If you keep doing the things you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got, and I am not okay with that.

I want to achieve dreams that are impossible. It is only the challenges that help me find out my true capabilities and extent of my potential as a human being. Our purpose in life is to find out what we are capable of. We are all thrown in to play this game and we are all here to look at it as a game. So I keep looking for challenges.

Zindagi Na… was a challenge because it was the only film where I didn’t have to play a larger-than-life role. I simply had to be myself. I hadn’t done that before and so I took it on. Guzaarish was again about emoting only through my eyes and face and it was just phenomenal. Even my next film, Bang Bang, is a challenge of sorts, somewhere close to the Dhoom 2 guy but far more adventurous and far more thrilling. It’s a romcom as well as a genre I have not done, so it’s very challenging. After that, is Shuddhi, which is a departure from whatever I have done before. So I like exploring and experimenting and trying to find out the kind of person I am.

BOI: What makes you choose some scripts over others?

HR: Instinct… and instinct has no logic. You’re simply attracted to some things without reason. Once I feel it, I become a slave to the will. Once I see the will and see a vision in it, I am a slave to it. Then I just have to toil towards it, which is why I keep saying that people look at me as a VIP but I think of myself as a WIP, a Work In Progress. I will never be able to find out who I am or what I am. I will never arrive.

BOI: When you work with your own production, you are closely involved with all aspects of the film. Is it the same when you work with other producers?

HR: No, not entirely. I contribute far more to my father’s films. He lets me do what I want to do. So I take care of one aspect of the film if he is busy with something else. Like, in this film, I took over the VFX. Of course, he was there to supervise but I spent six hours a day for about 10 months. I was involved in the background score and every other department.

Now it’s time to get back and enjoy the luxury of being just an actor. I have missed it for a long time. When I do my father’s films, there is such a flux in my brain because the assistant in me becomes bigger than anything else and everything else takes a back seat. After I finish a film with my father, I heave a huge sigh of relief. Now when I enter a set, I am not the assistant, I will be pampered. I want to enjoy some luxuries that I have not experienced for the last three years. So I am looking forward to being just an actor until Krrish 4 happens. (Laughs)

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