Hrithik Roshan on Kangana Ranaut: I have learned that bullies have to be treated with patience, not engaged with | EXCLUSIVE
One hears that he has not slept for more than four hours in the past 10 days, working on his upcoming release. The energy in Hrithik Roshan’s eyes, however, sets the discomfort at rest. Of late, the 45-year-old actor has ridden through rather tough times which don’t seem to be easing up even at the brink of one of his most ambitious projects, Super 30. Hrithik, strangely, seems to have found the key to not let anything impact his peace. In an exclusive chat, he tells us how.
There’s tremendous buzz around Super 30. Does it make you anxious about how the film will be received?
When I heard the script for the first time, it was a beautiful experience for me. I was extremely touched by it and it took me into a different world. Right from the first dialogue of Anand (Kumar; the protagonist), I could see myself doing the film and saying those lines. That character on paper was an extension of myself. I could see him in my head. All that was left now was to manifest that vision physically. And that became quite easy, actually. As for feeling anxious about how the film will be received, that is something every person involved in the filmmaking process will go through, even for their 100th film. But I’m also very excited, as with Super 30, I have stepped into a new territory, essaying a real life character from India’s heartland.
How would you describe Super 30 in a sentence, and why do you think the audience will relate to Anand Kumar’s journey?
For me, Super 30, Anand Kumar’s journey, is a beautiful and inspiring story that tells the children of the world to dream the impossible. It is also a film that will show us why India is on its way to becoming a superpower.+ +
The film has seen a fair share of controversies — right from sexual harassment allegations against director, Vikas Bahl, to cheating allegations against Anand Kumar. How did you manage to sail through?
Yes, the journey of Super 30 has been tough, but I would like to believe that it is worth it. When the #MeToo movement broke out and Vikas’ name cropped up, I was perhaps the first one to take a rather tough stand. I completely support this movement and I sincerely believe that exploitative attitude towards women must stop. Also, if you think that this movement is the last step in achieving equality, then perhaps you are wrong. The pendulum of biases and injustice on both sides is going to swing back and forth quite a few times before it centres and comes to a standstill. Also, it’s important that we don’t make this process independent of law, and purely based on social media/conventional media hearsay. Let not the rhetoric become the mantra. Like everything else, this movement also has to follow the law of the land. Charges have to be pressed and substantiated in the proper manner. I may feel strongly about something, but we cannot take the law in our hands and dole out mob justice. Since a designated ICC committee has exonerated Vikas, we are not in a position to take away his credit.
As for the PIL filed against Anand Kumar, that is part and parcel of being relevant and making a difference. Again, only a court can decide the veracity of such claims. Not you or I. Also, there are always two sides to every story.
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Actor Kangana Ranaut has not left an opportunity to take digs at you, and now at some other film stars as well. How do you manage to not give in to the provocation to respond? What’s the status of your legal case with Kangana?
I have come to realise that bullies have to be treated with a certain amount of patience, and not be engaged with. It is upon the civil society and those who claim to be just and fair to see and observe if there is harassment. Also, being who I am, if I choose to confront as per laws, I become the aggressor. If I withdraw from a film-clash that I know has been pre designed, then I become a weakling penning a sob story. I have learned to not get affected by either. Although, to be honest, my only grouse is with those supposedly ‘enlightened’ people who praise and often cheer this behaviour in the name of ‘new’ and ‘refreshing audacity’, without any desire to be rational or truthful. They are the enablers who have allowed this circus to continue for six years. There is no legal case that I directly have with the lady (Kangana), and the reason I cannot have one is because apparently a guy cannot be stalked in India.+ +
Your father, Rakesh Roshan, has been remarkably strong during his ongoing battle with cancer. Has this crisis made you discover newer strengths as a family?
In my father’s generation, a man was taught that masculinity meant being a rock. That a father is someone who is very strong and never expresses his vulnerability. Tears, we were taught, are feminine. But being a student of life, I have learned that strength does not mean the absence of tears. I realised that my dad had held way too much inside of him and I felt it was unhealthy. Having been through all that he has, one day I pushed him to express what he has been feeling. And I could see how impossible it was for him to let go of that strength. But eventually one day, he broke down completely. I hugged him and we both let the tears flow. Ironically, even at that time he was switching between breaking down on my shoulder and consoling me as a strong father. We all felt so much stronger after that release. We must learn to express ourselves as human beings openly. Not just the popular emotions, but all emotions.
Recently, your sister, Sunaina, hit headlines for rebelling against your parents and you for allegedly prohibiting her from dating a Muslim guy. Where do things stand now?
This is an internal, private and sensitive matter for me and my family. In didi’s current state, it would not be correct of me to speak about her. It is an unfortunate situation that probably many families are going through and are as helpless as we are, owing to stigmas and an incredibly weak medical infrastructure in this country for such cases. Also, religion is not even a thing in my family. It has never been discussed or been given importance whatsoever in my entire life. And I would like to believe that it is obvious to the world by now.+ +
You and your ex-wife, Sussanne, have set quite an example of sensible parenting in the face of divorce. In the process, have you lent maturity too soon to your sons, Hrehaan (13) and Hridhaan (11)?
I feel absolutely secure. It is a very good parenting team that I have with Sussanne. And it comes from a place of mutual understanding of what we want the boys to grow up to be. I talk to my kids about everything that happens in the real world. I don’t want them to ever be bewildered when they step outside of the secure walls of their house. For me, they are nothing but little humans who understand everything. I also allow them to express. They have already learned to express themselves so well. I am extremely proud to be their father. Even at their age when they cry, they don’t cry like victims. There are tears, but no grimace on the face. And when they cry, it takes a lot of strength for me to not jump out to cuddle them. I try and create a comfortable space where they can express their tears and have a conversation about things troubling them.
Is there anyone in particular who you could regard as your biggest emotional anchor through the past rough years?
I haven’t ever felt the need for an emotional anchor. But I have been blessed with a support system that exists in the form of my family and a few close friends. One doesn’t need more.
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