Hrithik Roshan is in the hot seat in more ways than one now.
The recently married actor's films have been banned in Nepal following an ugly incident in which two people were killed in a demonstration to burn Hrithik's posters due to his alleged utterances against Nepal.
"The question of my saying anything derogatory towards Nepal or its people just doesn't arise. After all, one of our oldest family friends, Prem Singh Negi, hails from Nepal and he has been with us for 30 years. I have literally grown up in front of him.
"Our family chef, Hari, who has been with us for 15 years, is from Pokhra in Nepal. My personal assistant for six years, Bhoopraj, is also Nepalese.
"Although I've never visited Nepal, I have always thought of it as a picturesque place and have always wanted to visit Kathmandu for a holiday.
"I am shocked to hear of the deaths of two students in the shootout in Nepal. I wish there was some way I could contact their family members and express my sympathy to them. It distresses me also to think that I am being blamed for this terrible thing that has happened to them.
"Try as I might, I fail to figure out how this false news about my maligning Nepal has spread. Leave alone television interviews, I have never uttered a word against Nepal in even my rehearsals of any shots!
"So far, I have only given a handful of interviews to television channels -- when my father was shot at; at the time of the launch of Yaadein; during the making of Fiza and Mission Kashmir; and the Simi Garewal show.
"I have also done an interview with Karan Thapar on Face To Face, which will be aired in January 2001 on the BBC. Never have I uttered a single word about Nepal, leave alone talking against it, on any of those interviews.
"I now recall a mediaperson telling me just three, four days ago back that I have been getting such a great deal of publicity that no good thing written about me interests people any more. Only negative things written about me, he said, would cause a sensation. He had also warned me then that I was going to experience this soon.
"I had treated the whole thing as a joke then. But I'm not so sure whether it was a joke. At that time, I couldn't have even dreamed that somebody could commit such a heinous act, using my name, in which innocent people lost their lives.
"Why don't people ask those who claim that I have bad-mouthed Nepal, to name the interview in which I am supposed to have said these things?
"I would like to appeal to all media to desist from spreading wrong information in the interest of innocent people.
"At the moment, I am awaiting my parents' return from Tirupati, after which I will decide whether to hold a press conference or not to clear my stand.
"I am totally innocent. I have not having uttered a single word against Nepal."
Meanwhile, Rakesh Roshan, who is away at Tirupati with his wife, Pinky, is expected to cut short his trip and arrive in Bombay tomorrow, December 28.