Nearly 15 years ago, on his first date with Sussanne, Hrithik Roshan excused himself to take a call. When he returned, he found Sussanne Khan scribbling something. She admitted that she was working on some accounts because some day she wanted to open a one-of-its-kind store that would stock limited edition furniture from all over the world.
Hrithik didn’t understand interiors or money. But he understood what it was to chase after an impossible dream. He had one too, to become an actor. In 2000, his impossible dream came true. “When Sussanne saw Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai for the first time, she had tears in her eyes. I understood why only 10 years later. Last Sunday, my eyes were glistening too as her shop, The Charcoal Project, opened its doors,” he reminisces.
Ask him how much he has contributed to the store and he says he was just the medium for Sussanne to realise her extravagantly daring dream. “For 15 years, I have been nudging her along because I believe that if you want to do something truly innovative, the universe conspires to make it happen because it needs to extend its boundaries too,” he reasons.
He marvels at how four walls and an empty floor have metamorphosed into a ‘museum’ and admits that he’d like to charge people to just take a stroll and not take away anything from the store. “Many of my favourite pieces were sold on the opening day. I wish she’d let me keep the gorillas (installations) made from car parts but Sussanne won’t allow me to take anything home,” he sighs.
The four corners of the store are assigned to different furniture, from antiques to contemporary, and from expensive to everyday stuff. There is a little section for their kids to play too but the boys know that they have to be really careful among the miniature chairs and cars that are for sale. “Hrehaan and Hridaan are very understanding, like their mother,” Hrithik smiles.
His entrepreneur wife, he insists, is an example of the modern Indian woman who can balance her two worlds with equal ease. “The Dresden China looks are deceptive, Sussanne is actually a Trojan warrior,” he says. “The first time I stepped into the store, my mouth fell open. That’s the reaction I noticed every time a guest walked in last Sunday, and that included her collaborators from Paris, New York and Los Angeles. One day, she’ll conquer the world with a chain of such stores.”
After the first schedule of the Agneepath remake was delayed by Ajmal Kasab’s verdict, Hrithik starts shooting for the film tomorrow. “People around me keep reminding me about Mr Bachchan’s (Amitabh) Vijay Dinanth Chauhan. Comparisons are inevitable but the intention is not to better the earlier film. When Karan (director Karan Malhotra) came for the narration, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t doing the film. But once I heard the script, I couldn’t say no. This Agneepath is not a remake, it’s a new film.”