'If something is wrong or broken, you can't keep saying it's not. You have to find ways to fix it'
'You have to look at your life and seek things that will give you strength.'
Hrithik Roshan on bouncing back as he returns to the marque with his snazzy actioner Bang Bang.
Bang Bang, set to open in theatres October 2, and its leading man Hrithik Roshan have weathered many a storm in the course of its making.
While the head injury he sustained during the shoot resulted in the film being delayed for months, his 17-year-old relationship with former wife Sussanne Khan ended in divorce last December.
While the actor reportedly worked hard to recuperate and deal with the breakup, trade pundits cast aspersions on his career graph following his unceremonious bowing out of Dharma Productions' much talked about new venture Shuddhi.
Despite all setbacks, personal and professional, Hrithik refuses to look back at them as problems.
"They were my moments of strengths because I turned them around," he says.
While the Siddharth Anand-directed Bang Bang gears up for release, Hrithik Roshan takes stock of his life and how the big gambles in his acting career have paid off, as Rediff.com's Patcy N listens in.
Your co-star Katrina Kaif says Bang Bang is not a remake of (Tom Cruise starrer) Knight and Day, but a different film altogether.
The germ of the idea came from Knight and Day.
I wanted to do something in that space. I had seen the film on a flight and I thought to myself that this film can be made into a Hindi film.
One month after that, Sid (director Siddharth Anand) called me and said he wanted to direct a remake of Knight and Day. I told him I felt the same and this feels like destiny.
After Dhoom 2, I wanted to do a cool, suave movie. I want to wear nice clothes, have nice hair.
I had done Krrish and Agneepath and I wanted to do something that I had not done in a long time.
We worked on the script for seven months and started shooting soon after.
Everyone asked me why I was working with Sid Anand.
I told them, 'A man should be judged by what he is right now. That man inspired me, he passed on his vision to me. I had goosebumps, that is my proof.''
When I did Krrish, they laughed and said a Hindi film with a hero wearing a mask and cape will not work.
When I was doing Koi Mil Gaya they told me not to break the action film image. They told my dad he was ruining my career.
But films are not about image; they are about exploring, about adventure, about giving people something that you believe in.
Films are inspiring, giving the audience hope, giving them a vent for their emotions. If you are stuck with your image, then it's just a business for you.
Films for me are not business. It is my way of contributing to the world with my art and creativity.
How difficult was Bang Bang?
It is the easiest film I have done. I have been through the worst period of my life while working on it.
Once you go through the biggest struggle of your life, everything else becomes easy.
There is a lesson to learn from it -- you should not be afraid of the struggles, challenges or fears you face in life.
What about Knight and Day made you feel that it can be a Bollywood film?
It was a fun film. The screenplay was much like a Hindi film.
How did you Indianise the film?
In a very big way. If you don't already know that it is a remake of a Hollywood film, it won't seem like one. It's a completely different film.
You said in one of your interviews that the character you play is just like you…
It was a revelation. I am very famous. I lock myself in a room to prepare for my character. I think about what my character will look like, how my hair will look, and every small detail.
For this film, I thought of doing that but when I locked myself up and I opened the script, I realised there is nothing to prepare.
This guy (his character is named Rajveer) was exactly like me! It was a discovery for me that the true me, is actually like Rajveer.
I hope you like me because that's how I am (laughs).
You had worked with Danny Denzongpa in Bhagwan Dada (1986), and now you are working with him again after so many years. What was that experience like?
It was a great experience to work with him again. That man is so wise and lovable.
We really became friends. He was Danny uncle for me, but in this film we really connected as friends. He gave me a lot of good advice.
My first shot with him was a kick, and it is the same shot that I did with him as a 12-year-old in Bhagwan Dada.
We were both stunned at the coincidence!
You are bound to be compared to Tom Cruise. Are you prepared for that?
It is impossible to compare us. I believe in individuality.
Tom Cruise will interpret the same sentence and the scene based on his experiences and instincts.
I will see the same line differently -- it will be my way of doing it.
If I get a sense that Tom Cruise is smiling a lot in a scene but I don't feel like doing that and I do it anyway because he is Tom Cruise, it won't come out well.
I must have my own style, do everything my way so that it looks real.
Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan approached his Agneepath role his way; I did it my way. It's very easy to go wrong in a remake.
If you are honest to yourself and fearless about it, then everything you do will be different.
Do you give less importance to your health?
No, I don't give less importance to my health. My idea is to go by evidence.
I am not a positive person. Positive for me is stupid. Positivity doesn't work.
If something is wrong and broken, you can't keep saying it's not broken.
How can you be positive about something that is already broken? Positivity doesn't work in life. We should stop telling people to be positive.
You have to see how you are going to make yourself feel good and you should see a way to fix it.
At the same time, look at your life and seek things that are not broken, that will give you strength. You will then become positive because of evidence.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while shooting Bang Bang?
To get the blood out of my brain (when the head injury was detected).
I had a flight to catch in eight hours; I was going for the action schedule.
I was on the treadmill and my coordination was not right, my hands and legs were not moving okay. I was signing something and my handwriting was different. I was finding it difficult to write.
I called up the doctor and he said I have to do one more scan. The scan showed that the left side of my brain was full of blood. My brain had shifted to the right.
I told them I have eight hours and I have to fly. They said, 'Okay, if you fly, you die.'
I asked what I had to do. They told me they had to take the blood out.
In three hours, I researched and found the best doctors. I did whatever I could do that was under my control.
I met about four doctors. I asked questions and I told them what I wanted them to do. I rejected those who said it couldn't be done.
There was one doctor who said, 'Shut up, I am the doctor, don't teach me.' I chose him.
When you go through a surgery like that, which is very scary, does your life or your priorities change afterwards?
No, you just become stronger after that.
You put the good tools into practice. You don't assume that things will go wrong. As I said, you go by evidence. I went by evidence.
The evidence showed me that there is no reason for this operation to go wrong. Then I was cool.
I said to myself, the blood is going to go out and I am going to heal.
The doctor said it would take one month, but it took me seven months -- that's a different story -- but eventually I healed.
Do you think Bang Bang will actually accentuate the action genre in Bollywood?
I think yes. It is definitely a step further. I think it will motivate other filmmakers to do even better and bigger.
Life is about progress and evolution and personally for me, it is my greatest victory.
You are an inspiration to young actors like Arjun Kapoor, Siddharth Malhotra, and Aditya Roy Kapur. They were, perhaps, in college or getting into college when Kaho Na... Pyar Hai released. You started off as the next big thing; today, a whole generation of actors looks up to you.
There comes a time when you have to graduate from being the underdog to providing, being a contributor. You have to become a dependable person -- that transition is very important.
Some people never get to that point. They always want to look at themselves as someone who is still struggling.
I think that will always keep you sad. You have to, at some point in your life, fill yourself with so much strength and power that you are the one on whom people depend.
That transition has happened in my life.
Now I am taking it as a responsibility to contribute more to the people around me, whether they are my fans or aspiring actors, or whether it's the team I am working with.
Are you acting in any Hollywood film?
Hollywood scripts are always coming in.
There are six scripts that I am reading but I haven't found anything interesting.
The Bang Bang title track looks flawless; your performance looks effortless. How did you achieve it?
It was exactly the opposite of effortless.
You are not born perfect. You can only strive to be the best version of yourself. And that only comes through practise and developing skills.
Sometimes you are just stuck. Like there is one shot in this song in Bang Bang where I kick my leg and go back at the same time.
I see that people are praising that scene the most. But I remember when we were shooting it, I couldn't do that particular step and I changed five pairs of shoes to be sure I wouldn't slip.
Still I couldn't do it despite giving take after take.
Finally, I threw out all the shoes, got my sports shoes and painted them black. Normally one wears formal shoes with suits. But I said I have to get my step right and I don't care what I am wearing.
So, finally, I did it in my tennis shoes. All these things go into getting a perfect shot.
Tell us about the Bang Bang challenges that you have been posting on Twitter.
I have done so many daring things in this film that I don't want to be alone.
I am going to make everybody go through what I have gone through while making this film.
What is the biggest dare that you have done in your life?
Life itself is the biggest dare. We chose that dare the moment we were born.
How have all the problems you have gone through in life influenced your acting?
First of all, I don't call them problems. I label them as strengths.
When I look back, all those moments of weakness were actually moments of strength because I turned them around.
I made use of it. I channelised it in a productive way; I created it out of my pain, so it becomes my strength.
So I had a lot of moments of strength instead of problems in my life.
In a recent interview you said Ashutosh Gowarikar has been the only director who has stood by you when you were down…
He did not stand by me when I was down, he stood by me at a point when everyone else was quitting on me; even the producers of Shuddhi did not wait.
That's when Ashutosh called me and I decided to meet him.
I had read the script of Mohenjo Daro three or four times but I had not replied to him.
When I met him, I read the script again and it blew my mind. I decided to do the film.
You are a superstar now. Does that constrict your choices?
No. In fact, it gives me more power to do films and experiment more because I am not stuck with an image.
I have enough power to experiment. Like I wanted to do Guzaarish so I went ahead and did it.
After Kaho Na Pyaar Hai I did Fiza.
I was advised not to do Zindagi Milegi Dobara as it would lower my star image.
I said I am not here to build my image. I am here to do good films. I am here for the sake of cinema. I am here because this director (Zoya Akhtar) has a vision.
If I don't do the film, she doesn't get the budget it warrants, and this film will be made in Goa, so I must contribute. So I did the film.