HT Brunch Cover Story: Hrithik Roshan brings in the Christmas cheer!
The actor plays Santa, draws up a list of all things good you must wish for for the people you loveUpdated: Dec 21, 2019 23:49 IST
Hrithik Roshan is eagerly waiting for Christmas. “For the past couple of years, I’ve take Hrehaan and Hridaan, and my entire family on a ski vacation for Christmas. It has become our own little family tradition now. This year I am specially waiting for Christmas because it has been a rather busy year for me and my work commitments have cut into my time with my kids. I have missed spending time with them so much that I can’t wait for this vacation to begin!” he says as we sit inside his sprawling Rolls-Royce.
I need to wrap up this interview before the car reaches his Juhu home. It is hardly a 20-minute journey, but the famous Mumbai traffic snarls might just be my saviour today.
Jingle bell rock
But right now even the traffic gods are reluctant to put speed breakers in Hrithik’s way. The actor has had two back-to-back hits this year: while Super 30 was a superhit, War is so far the highest grossing movie of 2019. But strangely, according to the actor, it is failure that centres him. “I learn very well from failures. I remember when Mohenjo Daro (2016) didn’t work that well. I knew exactly what I wanted to do after that. It is easier to navigate through the process of elimination. You know exactly what not to do!” he says. The recent spate of success has therefore left him a bit confused about what’s next. “I am living with a question right now. I am not sure if I want to do more of what I have been doing or try out something entirely different…,” he says.
Hrithik has already tried something very different this year. Even the staunchest of his critics noticed a marked shift in his acting style, especially in War, an out-and-out action film.
“I am living with a question right now. I’m not sure if I want to do more of what I have been doing or try out something entirely different…”
“I am more assured as an actor now. Kaabil (2017) was a turning point. There were moments that I wouldn’t have discovered earlier because I was too rehearsed. I started to let myself go, I started experimenting with my acting. What will happen if I don’t turn to my right at a particular moment? What will happen if instead of my mind, I let me body decide my action while I am facing the camera? Let’s see where it goes instead of worrying and calculating every move… I started to trust my instincts more. It is a very new process for me but I am really enjoying it,” he reveals.
O come all ye faithful
Also, this year, the sexiest man in Bollywood made a completely de-glam appearance as the Patna-based mathematician Anand Kumar in his biopic Super 30, something not many Bollywood stars of his stature and generation would be keen to attempt. “For Anand I had to become a bit podgy and not look too sharp. Many people told me that as a star I need to maintain a certain image and I should not even think of attempting such a thing. But over the years, I have come to a very simple solution for such confusions. As an actor I try to be as authentic as possible while playing a character. To be authentic to Kabir, you need those six pack abs, those arms. If I build that body, it is something I did for that character. Similarly to be authentic to Anand you need to look the part,” he says adding that today, especially with everyone turning critics on social media, things can get confusing.
“If you give the barometer to someone else, you will be completely lost,” he says recalling the times when as a young actor his process was questioned and criticised by many in the industry. “Today, I know there are many great Hollywood actors who apply the same method while acting. I should have never let that feedback make me feel any less at that point in my career.”
“I’d get my travel agent dressed as Santa for them [Hrehaan and Hridaan] but he was such a poor actor that my kids soon figured out!”
In fact, this is one thing he intends to instil in Hrehaan and Hridaan from an early age…the value of self-judgment. “It is very important to allow your children to know that there will always be some people who will like you and some who will not like you; in either case what is important is to be authentic and true to yourself. It is okay to be not loved by a few. As long as you are authentic, you are correct. To please someone else, if you put on a charade or try to become someone you are not, which has become a sort of a pandemic today, you will not reach anywhere. Being authentic to that particular moment is the most beautiful thing in the world. You don’t need six-pack abs for that.”
Santa Claus is coming to town
But after getting so much critical appreciation and box office love, it might stump you when Hrithik says he would not want a repeat of 2019. “I’ve given my best to my work this year, but I have missed out on some very essential family time as well.... Going ahead, life will have to be more balanced. I don’t want to be so busy that I have to wait for Christmas to catch up with my kids!”
Although Hrithik had sat his children down back in January and explained to them that since he will be working on two films simultaneously, he might not be able to spend as much time and as many holidays with them as he would want, looking back he knows all the success in the world can’t measure up to the joy he gets from being with Hrehaan and Hridaan. “I am certain I don’t want this to become my life. I don’t want so much success at the cost of being even 20 per cent less happy,” he says.
This means he’ll be more selective with his films. “I have a suspicion that I am a very lazy person. I only do films that I can’t say no to! The script needs to have that kind of an impact on me. I won’t do it just for money. I’d rather travel and be with my kids.”
And right now that’s on his mind. His kids, travelling and the Christmas plans! Christmas has always been big in the Roshan household.
“For the past couple of years, I’ve taken Hrehaan and Hridaan, and my entire family on a ski vacation for Christmas. It has become our own little family tradition now.”
Although today it is about catching up with the entire family, while growing up it was of course all about the Christmas presents. “Those gifts would seem weird to kids of today who are into gadgets and hi-tech stuff, but to us those were treasured possessions! My mom would gift me very random things, one year it was a miniature wooden chair! And my uncle would get me these tiny cars… and no, not the fancy Hot Wheels, those came much later!” he laughs.
And how is it playing Santa to his kids now? “Well the first two years they had a Santa wake them up on Christmas morning! I would get my travel agent dressed as Santa for them but he was such a poor actor that my kids soon figured out the scheme. Santa, however, is still very real. He just doesn’t visit us anymore!”
So what is he getting for his kids this year? “Well, we are going skiing in France and there will be our usual Secret Santa ritual! I started to learn skiing with them. It’s been five years, but now they have gotten far better than me. I keep telling them that their centre of gravity is so low that they don’t have the fear of falling, but I do!” he breaks into hearty laughter. “But since you ask about actual gifts… that puts a seed of thought in my head… Maybe this year I should get them something!”
Okay kids, you can thank us later (and you can also share the chocolate with us)!
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From HT Brunch, December 22, 2019
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