In his first adult screen appearance, he stormed into a world already ruled by the Khans -- Salman, Shahrukh and Aamir -- besides the regular and steady dependables Anil Kapoor, Govinda and the Big B.
And what a debut it turned out to be -- Papa Roshan's perfect script for son Hrithik -- Kaho Na Pyar Hai had the entire nation clamouring for more of this Adonis shaped, impeccably well-toned body and the superb sense of rhythm he exhibited in his dance sequences.
But sadly, all the euphoria surrounding one of the most talked about launches died too soon and Roshan junior found himself relegated to the low levels of mediocrity.
As Krrish, there's no one who could beat Hrithik
Not entirely his undoing though he chose to sign some utterly forgettable duds that seemed to negate all that he had gathered as accolades under his belt.
After a string of flops (Aap Mujhe Mujhe Acche Lagne Lage, Mission Kashmir, Na Tum Jano Na Hum) and an occasional critically acclaimed Fiza, he would have been dismissed and written off as yet another desperate star-son trying to prove a point. But he decided to wait for the right script and be away from the rat race. That proved to be a judicious decision, for it worked in his favour.
And then came Koi...Mil Gaya, a story of a mentally slow boy whose claims of hiding an alien are ridiculed at as a figment of overactive imagination.
As the lead, Hrithik proved that given a role he could sink his teeth into with consummate skill and the right mix of emotional depth he could marvel.
In this week's only release, Krrish, as a sequel to KMG, Hrithik once again triumphs in a role that would help him rise several notches above his box office rating.
As Krishna or Krrish, the naturally gifted child strong as a lion, who runs faster than a horse, soars like a bird and swims like a fish, there's no one who could beat him.
He lends the role the dynamic energy, the vulnerability and the seething anger representative of an untainted young man who hasn't life beyond his grandmother and the locale he knows like the back of his hand -- Kasauli.
Roshan junior's marvellous grace as a dancer isn't something that viewers are unfamiliar with -- he has displayed time and again how he could enhance choreography into an art -- but what he seems to be developing alongside is his emotional range as an actor. He virtually makes one believe his magically created character and lets one into the innocuous world of a naïve young man who knows no evil.
The mannerisms attributed to Krrish could have been quite unsettling to a lesser actor since anything Roshan does here can be believed. And there was every possibility to ham or hog each frame to demonstrate his performance. But he sticks to a credible characterisation, never going overboard or allowing Krrish to look on the edge.
His raging fury as he tries to block the evil intentions of a megalomaniac doctor from ruining his father's years of research, is so palpable that he has the entire range of audience in the theatre - from the kids to the middle aged - internalising his pain. That surely would be a great feat for an actor to accomplish.