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Memorable films

Hrithik Roshan


Upperstall profile by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

Hrithik Roshan is undoubtedly one of the finest star-actors in the country today, a superstar having tremendous screen presence combined with immense histrionic ability.

The son of actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan, grandson of music director Roshan and nephew of music director Rajesh Roshan, Hrithik was born on January 10, 1974 in Mumbai. He acted as a child actor in films like Aap ke Deewaane (1980) and Bhagwan Dada (1986) before joining his father as an assistant director with films like Karan Arjun (1995) and Koyla (1997). Having overcome a stammering problem, it is said Salman Khan advised him on how to build up his physique. Once it was decided that he would enter films as a leading man, he left no stone unturned to prepare himself just right. Besides building his body, he took acting, dancing, riding, fencing lessons.

Hrithik made a stunning debut in Bollywood with his very first film Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000). The film, having shades of the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Kasme Vaade (1978), saw Hrithik introduced in a dual role as the earnest and likeable Rohit and the cool dude in new Zealand, Raj, both of whom fall for Amisha Patel. Hrithik showed enough glimpses of his acting ability, managing to give each role a distinct identity of its own. The film with superhit songs like the title song, Pyaar ki Kashti Mein, Ae Mere Dil Tu Gaaye Ja, Chand Sitare, Ek Pal ka Jeena and Na Tum Jaano Na Hum was a box office smash and the highest grossing film of the year. Hrithik became an instant superstar, winning the Filmfare Awards for Best Male Debut and Best Actor respectively. Following the super success of the film, there was an extortion attempt and an attack on Rakesh Roshan's life almost compelling Hrithik to give up acting for good. But fortunately Rakesh Roshan survived and Hrithik returned to what he is best at - acting.

Hrithik followed Kaho Naa Pyar Hai with critic Khalid Mohamaed's Fiza (2000). Though an extremely disappointing film, Hrithik managed rise above the script and leave his mark on the film as a young Muslim lad who goes missing in the 1992-3 riots in Mumbai and resurfaces in 1999 having joined a terrorist group. He won the Bengal film Journalists' Association (BFJA) Award for Best Actor in the Hindi category. He also played a terrorist effectively in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir (2000) but his next big commercial success was the Karan Johar multi-starrer Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). Hrithik is ably efficient in the film though playing essentially a supporting role to Shah Rukh Khan in the overblown family melodrama as the younger brother trying to reunite his family.

Hrithik's other films meanwhile like Yaadein (2001), Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (2002), Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002), Mujhse Dosti Karoge (2002) and Main Prem ki Diwaani Hoon (2002) all flopped miserably at the box office leading to his worst phase in the Bollywood Industry with him being labeled a flop star and a Kumar Gaurav like one film wonder. However it must be said here that each of these were terrible films - in particular, Main Prem ki Diwaani Hoon which also saw a totally embarrassing over the top performance by Hrithik, easily his weakest work ever.

It was father Rajesh Roshan who got Hrithik back on track with the ET (1982) inspired Koi Mil Gaya (2003). Hrithik gave an absolutely stunning performance as the mentally challenged Rohit Mehra. He changed his entire body language, his way of speaking, walking, laughing. It was a performance that rose way, way above the script and swept all the popular Best Actor Awards that year. In fact Hrithik's performance in Koi Mil Gaya, otherwise a very average film at best, was even acknowledged outside India. Quoting Grady Hendrix in Film Comment, "Hrithik delivers the performance of his career. His transformation from mentally handicapped nerd to muscular hero and (Flowers for Algernon-style) back again is shamefully compelling, and in the musical numbers he's as limber as Ray Bolger's Scarecrow."

After Koi Mil Gaya and his grand comeback, Hrithik has been extremely selective and choosy about his films. He is the life of Farhan Akhtar's Lakshya (2004), playing a spoilt rich Delhi youth, Karan Shergill who finds his calling in the Kargil War. While there were mixed reactions to his playing the cool dude (many felt he didn't quite carry it off, almost playing the character like the retard of Koi Mil Gaya), there were no two opinions about his performance once he joins the army and finds his destiny. He is truly superb in these portions of the film. Key scenes like the telephone conversation between Karan and his father (Boman Irani) and where Karan and Romilla Dutta (Preity Zinta) meet briefly but cannot hug each other are extremely well-scripted and performed, in particular by Hrithik. For once in a Bollywood film, it's the eyes of the actor that do the talking.

Post Lakshya, Hrithik has delivered two box office smashes with the super-hero film Krrish (2006), the sequel to Koi Mil Gaya and Dhoom 2 (2006). Both films affirm Hrithik's abilities to rise way above the script making him the sole saving grace in both of them. In particular in Dhoom 2, Hrithik lifts the film several notches. As the stylish professional thief 'A', he has never looked, acted or danced better. He has the author backed role in the film carrying off a variety of disguises and clearly enjoys himself on screen blowing the rest of the cast away. He won his third Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the film.

Hrithik's next release was Ashutosh Gowarikar's follow up to Swades (2004), a grand historical Jodhaa Akbar (2008). seeing him playing Emperor Akbar to Aishwarya Rai's Jodhaabai. Hrithik is absolutely brilliant in the film. He seems to have perfectly understood every scene, he never seems clueless and commands the screen like few before him. In short, he easily carries the film on his shoulders.

Kites (2010), Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish (2010) both disappointed and were box office failures although Hrithik's performance in the latter as a quadriplegic came in for its share of praise. However, he bounced back in 2011 with Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara, directed by Zoya Akhtar, a huge success particularly with multiplex audiences. Agneepath (2012), his latest release, is a re-make of the Bachchan film Agneepath (1990) and again, though Hrithik's performance has its moments, the film is a let down.

Hrithik is married to actor Sanjay Khan's daughter Suzanne and the couple have 2 sons.





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