Happy Birthday Hrithik Roshan: How Super 30 and War changed the box office game
With back-to-back hits - Super 30 and War - Hrithik Roshan emerged as one of the most bankable stars of 2019.
Two decades ago, Hrithik Roshan burst on the Bollywood scene with Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai. With his gorgeous hazel-flecked green eyes and perfectly sculpted features, he danced his way into our hearts and the nation witnessed never-seen-before fan frenzy for a debutant.
On The Kapil Sharma Show last year, Hrithik confessed that he was flooded with marriage proposals after the release of his debut film in 2000. According to news agency IANS, he received as many as 30,000 proposals at the time.
In the years that followed, Hrithik’s choices have been anything but run-of-the-mill, and his performances have proven that he has the acting chops to match his Adonis-like looks, whether it was the child-like Rohit Mehra in Koi…Mil Gaya, the stately Mughal emperor Akbar in Jodhaa Akbar or the quadriplegic magician Ethan Mascarenhas in Guzaarish. While some of his risks paid off, others didn’t take off the way he had imagined.
When Ashutosh Gowariker’s ambitious period drama Mohenjo Daro bombed at the box office in 2016, it was a lean patch for Hrithik, not just professionally but also personally. Rakesh Roshan gave his son a fresh lease of life with his production, Kaabil, but it was last year’s back-to-back hits Super 30 and War that brought him back in the game with a bang.
Super 30, which marked Hrithik’s entry into the biopic genre, was a risky choice for the actor. He was shorn of all glamour as he brought to life the struggles and journey of mathematical genius and founder of educational programme Super 30, Anand Kumar, on celluloid.
Hrithik was banking on the success of Super 30, which was his first release in two years after Kaabil, but the initial response was not too encouraging. After the trailer dropped online, he was at the receiving end of a volley of criticism for using make-up to become several shades darker than his original complexion. The brownfacing was deemed racist and elitist, and his shaky Bihari accent didn’t win much applause either.
Once Super 30 released, however, he won over the critics as well as the audience with his earnest performance. The underdog story, high on melodrama, struck a chord with viewers and went on to earn nearly Rs 150 crore at the box office in India. The film was also declared tax-free in a number of states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
Hrithik’s next release of 2019 - Siddharth Anand’s spy-thriller War - was as different from Super 30 as chalk is from cheese. If Super 30 stripped him of all glamour, War was an ode to his bulging biceps. The film, which also starred Tiger Shroff and his gleaming torso, was an eye candy overdose.
At one point, a female agent jokingly tells Hrithik on her wedding day that she is willing to elope with him even now, as Tiger smirks, “Yeah, get in line!” The Hrithik-Tiger bromance is the highlight of War, with the two stars joining forces to beat the baddies to a pulp and engaging in complex dance-offs. There is even a beautifully choreographed action sequence of them doing mid-air flips to escape flying bullets, as flamenco music plays in the background.
War plays to the gallery in every scene, and it is no surprise that it smashed the Rs 300-crore milestone to become the highest-grossing Hindi film of 2019.
Hrithik has never stuck to a tried and tested path, and his diverse film choices in 2019 are proof. In a recent Film Companion interview, he said that he will continue to take risks in the projects to come. “I can’t see myself repeating the same thing just because it has worked,” he said, adding that his next choices will showcase his adventurous side.
As of now, Hrithik’s home production Krrish 4 is the only confirmed film in his kitty. But even as he returns as the caped crusader, he won’t fall back on the familiar. “Maybe I’ll give it another twist or I’ll do something strange to it,” he said.
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