Playing a paraplegic has changed my life: Hrithik Roshan

By Ruchika Kher

Mumbai, Oct 17 (IANS) Hrithik Roshan says playing a paraplegic asking to be granted death by consent in the forthcoming movie "Guzaarish" changed his outlook to life and taught him gratitude as he spent time with several patients. But the star maintains the film doesn't take a stand on the issue of mercy killing.

"This film doesn't take any stand...It's an individual story of Ethan and not about the issue of mercy killing. It's about the strength of a paraplegic, who lived a full life for 14 years without being depressed. He wrote books, he got the president's medal, awards, he gave sermons...that is what the film is about," Hrithik told IANS in an interview.

"This film has changed my life. When your approach to things changes, you don't worry about the small things in life, you don't grumble, you don't get irritated. You learn gratitude, that's what this film has taught me," Hrithik added.

"Guzaarish" is the story of magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik), who becomes a paraplegic when a magical trick goes wrong. Then his only solace is his radio show and his beautiful nurse Sofia (Aishwarya Rai).

But after 14 years as a paraplegic, Ethan decides that he wants to die and petitions a court for the right to commit suicide. As he struggles through legal red tape, he decides to pass on his magical knowledge to Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor).

"Mercy killing in this film is from the point of view of the character...that after doing so much, why did he want to die? Till the time he was healthy, he was proudly living his life, even though he couldn't move, he didn't complain. But when he finds out that his body is going...liver, kidney, lungs, all are failing then it strikes him," Hrithik said.

Hrithik, who has essayed a variety of roles in films as diverse as "Mission Kashmir", "Lakshya", "Dhoom 2", "Koi Mil Gaya", "Krrish" and "Jodhaa Akhbar", says playing Ethan changed his life.

"When I was reading the script, that was a time when the doctors had said that my knee will not be okay. At that time, I was already in a state of mind that helped me to identify with the script. And the beauty of it is that after reading the script, I wasn't depressed. I was depressed when I started to read the script, but after reading it, I wasn't depressed about my knee," the 36-year-old Hrithik said.

"It taught me something and I woke up with a smile. I said whatever happens, knee or no knee, I will do this film. I got that attitude and through this film, I want to spread this across. I feel that every single human being, whether they like films or they don't, they should see this film," he added.

Hrithik revelaed that he met a lot of patients to understand his role better and get into the skin of his character.

"I used to spend six hours with the patients, initially once a week and then once a month. I used to go to understand what they go through, what they think, what their needs are. They have taught me a lot of things. So if I have benefited from this experience so much, I am sure that when people see the film and understand the character, they will get a lot to learn," he said.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at ruchika.k@ians.in)

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