By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) Hrithik Roshan intends to work more this year and combine business with fun. With his first costume drama, "Jodhaa Akbar" striking the right chord at the box office and his second child around the corner, life has never been rosier for Hrithik.
The actor says his primary motivation behind "Jodhaa Akbar" was to be as alert and innovative as director Ashutosh Gowariker, known for his meticulous skills. "I knew he'd help me explore a different facet of my acting. He helped me go to places in my psyche I had never gone to before. Ashutosh is a damn good combination of intelligent preparation and spontaneity."
Hrithik was quoted as saying that he would never do a historical movie again after "Jodhaa Akbar", but the actor denied it. "Not true, I might have said that in a specific context," he clarified. But he would definitely not do one for a long time. "Doing a historical again would make it less sublime. When you think of period, you think of grandeur that's hard to replicate. I don't think I'd want to get into that space for a long time."
Excerpts from an interview with IANS:
Q: After "Jodhaa Akbar" you shot an ad. Was it a deliberate effort to lighten the load?
A: Fortunately for me, I enjoyed both equally. In fact I've enjoyed everything I've done so far. "Jodhaa Akbar" has been tough. Luckily, people have responded well. Some liked it for the grandeur and ambience, while others liked it because they get an opportunity to throw some tomatoes on the screen. I'm happy everyone was motivated to see the movie.
Q: You were quoted as saying you'd never do a historical again?
A: Not true. I might've said that in a specific context. But I'd definitely not do another one for a long time. It's such a momentous opportunity. Doing it again would make it less sublime. When you think of period you think of a grandeur that's hard to replicate. I don't think I'd want to get into that space for a long time.
Q: Has "Jodhaa Akbar" been taxing?
A: None of my films has been easy. "Krrish" and "Dhoom 2" have been as physically and emotionally taxing as "Jodhaa Akbar". I've enjoyed it so much. And I wouldn't do a historical for the same reasons that I wouldn't do a "Dhoom" for a long time. "Dhoom and "Jodhaa Akbar" covered two genres exhaustively. Now, it's time to move on.
Q: Apparently Shyam Benegal has offered you "Buddha". Wouldn't playing "Buddha" be different from being Akbar, the character you have just played in "Jodhaa Akbar"?
A: I'm sure "Buddha" would be a great subject and a wonderful character to explore. But again playing Siddharth is about armours and horses. And I've been there, done that. The ambience, country and language would require a similar discipline for me. I wouldn't mind doing a period-fantasy like "Pirates Of The Caribbean". It's always fun to bounce off into the other extreme. "Dhoom" helped me to get excited and challenged about "Jodhaa Akbar". It was a challenge for both Ash (Aishwarya Rai) and me. Now, I want to do something entirely contemporary.
Q: That brings me to the question of how did the audience react to watching Aishwarya and you do a costume drama after the fiercely contemporary "Dhoom 2"?
A: It's always a challenge for any actor to make the audience forget not just the outside world, but everything they've seen before on screen; to suck them completely into the magic of the moment and to make them feel exhilarated. You are asking me if "Jodhaa Akbar" did that or not. Only the audience can say. For me, the film is a success and the box office is only going to be a bonus.
Q: This is your first collaboration with Ashutosh Gowariker? How was it?
A: Yes. My primary motivation for doing "Jodhaa Akbar" was to mingle with a mind that'd be as alert and innovative as Ashutosh's. I knew he'd help me explore a different facet of my acting. He helped me go to places in my psyche I had never gone to before. It's been great fun. Ashutosh is a damn good combination of intelligent preparation and spontaneity.
He comes fully prepared, but has the guts to throw it out of the window if he so wishes. He has the power to turn the scenes around in your head. Sometimes, he'd whisper a thought in my ear. And my entire being would be reverberating with that emotion, and with the desire to express it in front of the camera. Then, you look back on the shot and you whistle in admiration and pride. Different films offer me different tunings with the director. "Jodhaa Akbar" has benefited me immensely as an actor.
Q: You're doing a lot of ads. Do they provide the same creative substance as feature films?
A: I have the same level of commitment to whatever I do. Otherwise, I can't do it. It's not a matter in which I've a choice. Giving my best is the only option I have. I'd say working in ads and feature films are different and yet the same. Ads give you a chance to explore areas that feature films do not. The dimensions are smaller. It's quickly in and out. One is able to experiment without having to shoulder the responsibility. An ad doesn't really affect your career. So it's more fun. As an actor, it's my responsibility to put myself in spaces I'm not comfortable with all the time.
Q: Is it a challenge to say the whole story on just 90 seconds?
A: That's the director's challenge. Sometimes, it's restrictive for the actor. I don't think an actor should be asked to accommodate his discipline to the duration of the film. So, the ads tend to cramp you. They don't allow you the process to flow that freely. It becomes a little artificial at times. And that's something, I try to avoid at any cost
Q: Having to dance in all your ads...is it an irritant?
A: It might become annoying for viewers. I mean you may enjoy eating mangoes. But you can't keep eating them all the time. I think it's better to be cautious about dancing before it gets excessively in-your-face. Some of the ad-makers agree with me on this.
Q: You prefer to work only with like-minded people?
A: Yeah. There's no point being okay with mediocrity. And you can only be heading towards mediocrity if the efforts are not too collaborative.
Q: Do you feel that you have achieved what you set out to do?
A: One of life's greatest lessons is that you never reach the summit. I've seen my dad achieve more success than anyone else. Mine pales in comparison. I still see him tense, fearful, anxious, unsure and ready to fight every time he starts making a new movie. I don't want to reach that summit where I say, 'Ah, I've arrived'. Right now that place doesn't even exist in my head.