| Udita Jhunjhunwala |
MUMBAI (AFP) – Since he burst onto the big screen in 2000 with female viewers reportedly fainting at his presence, Hrithik Roshan has become one of Bollywood’s most bankable stars – and the fan mail hasn’t stopped flowing.
But ahead of his next big movie release, the earnest 40-year-old seems more concerned than flattered by the attention.
“I wish I could help them to understand that obsession and possession are not going to fill them up,” he tells AFP at his expansive home in the Juhu suburb of Mumbai, India’s entertainment capital.
“They have to find ways to be independent and make something of their lives… I can’t provide them that long-term happiness.”
The heartthrob began life in the movies as an assistant to his father Rakesh Roshan, a former actor turned filmmaker, before his breakthrough debut as a leading man in “Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai” (Say It’s Love) 14 years ago.
“Finally you have an actor who is also a star,” said the magazine India Today after the unexpected blockbuster came out.
Young women literally went weak at the knees when Roshan came into the frame, with “near riots” breaking out among excited fans, author Suketu Mehta wrote in his 2004 non-fiction book on Mumbai, “Maximum City”.
His sex symbol status and various acting awards secured, Roshan went on to appear in crime movie “Fiza” (2000), family drama “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness, 2001) and as a superhero in “Krrish” in 2006. His next big role, which he says is the closest he has played to his real-life personality, is in thriller “Bang Bang!”, which opens across India on Friday.
The film, also starring leading actress Katrina Kaif, is an official remake of Hollywood’s “Knight and Day” with Tom Cruise, a movie Roshan says he “instinctively” felt was ripe for a Bollywood adaptation.
“I saw the film on a flight and I said God damn, this can make a really good Hindi film. And then a month later I got offered the film.
The movie demanded a high level of action, and it was during one such shoot in Thailand that Roshan is thought to have suffered a head injury that lead to a chronic subdural haematoma, for which he underwent surgery last year.
“Life hits you hard. But it takes you three seconds to decide if you are a superhero or not. I am,” he said confidently at a press conference last year prior to the release of “Krrish 3”, in which he also played a superhero.
He now says he is “fine” and suffering from nothing “that will ever stop me from doing the things I want to do”.
The injury and his recuperation from surgery, followed by a separation from his wife, contributed to a delay in the production of “Bang Bang!”.
But his Bollywood success shows no signs of waning, with a dabble in Hollywood also on the cards.
“I have some five to six offers all the time but I have not yet found the right script that will ignite me,” he says.
With his light eyes and bulging muscles, Roshan has already won the attention of one Hollywood A-lister, “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart, who has said she would “love” to work with Roshan.
Roshan insists however there is “no good-looking face – there are only people who express beautifully and who look at the world in a beautiful way.”
“As long as I continue to do that, I can guarantee that I continue to be good-looking.”