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'I knew Hrithik was a potential star when I launched him in Kaho Na... Pyar Hai

January 10, 2014 12:19 IST

'I knew Hrithik was a potential star when I launched him in Kaho Na... Pyar Hai'

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Subhash K Jha

On his son Hrithik Roshan’s 40th birthday today, January 10, his father -- the veteran actor-director Rakesh Roshan -- looks back to the time he first discovered the talented actor in his son.

Here is Rakesh Roshan, in his own words:

My wife and I want Hrithik to be happy and at peace with himself, no matter what.

He was just nine years old when he did my father-in-law (producer) J Om Prakash’s Bhagwan Dada in 1986.

He was not supposed to do the film but the child actor, who had the part, fell ill.

My father-in-law then insisted we take Duggu (Hrithik is fondly called Duggu by those close to him).

I was against the idea. ‘Daddy, Duggu can’t act!’ I protested.

I wanted Hrithik to focus on his studies then. We’d have never known there was a brilliant actor in my nine-year-old son if my father-in-law had relented to my reservations.

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Image: Hrithik and Rakesh Roshan
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
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'His acting in Bhagwan Dada left me stumped'

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I still vividly remember Hrithik’s first shot.

Since I was a part of the film’s lead cast along with Rajinikanth and Sridevi, I was present on the day when Hrithik had to give his first shot. It was with Sridevi.

I was so anxious that I hid behind a pillar on the sets, just watching my son quietly. I could see that he was very quiet, not communicating with anybody. I thought he was just not interested.

But when the camera rolled, he was perfect!!

That was the moment I realised my son had it in him to be an actor. The way he acted in the death scene in Bhagwan Dada left me stumped.

How could a nine-year-old kid, who doesn’t even know what death is, play it so convincingly?

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Image: Hrithik Roshan in Bhagwan Dada

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'I work with him because I know what he's worth'

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While he had already decided to become an actor, I wanted him to complete his studies first.

So we struck a deal.

Hrithik, after completing his studies, came to me and said that he wanted to assist me.

I took him on as an assistant for five of my films and I told him I won’t launch him until he was 24.

He joined acting classes and acted out dramatic scenes at home, one of them being Raj Kapoor’s scene with Lalita Pawar in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anari.

I was hugely impressed with the way he did that scene.

That’s when the idea for Kaho Na...Pyar Hai came to my mind. I knew what he was capable of, so I took a big step for him -- I cast him in a double role.

I was convinced he could carry it off.

I didn’t take Hrithik in Kaho Na...Pyar Hai because he was my son, I took him because I knew he was a potential star. To this day, I work with him because I know what he’s worth and not because he is my son.

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Image: Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Na... Pyar Hai


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'Success hasn't changed him at all'

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We’re very close, like friends. But he respects me too. If I enter a room while he is relaxing, he springs up to his feet.

He may have achieved immense success in the course of his career but it hasn't changed him.

He is still the same hardworking boy, who wraps his omelet in a newspaper and rushes to his shooting in the morning. That kind of dedication is very rare.

Any director, including me, is lucky to have him on board.

He is fully there with the director. He makes no distinction between me and other filmmakers.

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Image: Hrithik Roshan in Agneepath

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'Hrithik is free to work with other directors but I will only work with him'

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I have enjoyed his performances in other’s films too.

I liked him in Jodha-Akbar, Agneepath, Guzaarish and, especially, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, where he played a regular guy.

That’s really difficult to do. He never let his superstar persona overshadow the character.

He is free to work with outside directors but I would never work with any other actor, unless I am making an out-and-out heroine-oriented film like Khoon Bhari Maang.

I may be tempted to make a film with a female protagonist but that will only happen if Hrithik is too busy to work with me.

When I was an actor, I felt there was a filmmaker inside me and I was never satisfied as an actor.

I had one big hit -- Kaam Chor -- and it helped my costar Jaya Prada’s career more than it did mine.

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Image: Hrithik Roshan with Katrina Kaif in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara


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'Hrithik may not be a good producer, but he'll be a terrific director'

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I knew I was destined to be a director. Now I feel Hrithik, who is more successful as an actor than I ever was, has a filmmaker lurking within him.

He will definitely direct a film some day.

Mark my words, he’ll be a very fine director too. I am sure of that. He may not be a good producer, but he’ll be a terrific director.

If Hrithik’s son’s Hrehaan and Hridaan want to be in films, I’d love to launch them too.

My blessings are with Hrithik.

He’s kind , helpful and generous. He deserves happiness.


Image: Hrithik Roshan with sons Hrehaan and Hridaan


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