Birthday Special: The journey of exploring the magic of cinema with Hrithik Roshan; A first person account
Birthdays are usually filled with articles celebrating the legacy, the success, the stardom of celebrities. But today, I would like to jot down a series of personal experiences of watching Hrithik Roshan films in the cinema hall. As an audience or let’s say as a kid grown up in the 90s, exploring films in the 2000s, I have some special memories with some of his biggest blockbusters starting from Kaho Na Pyaar Hai.
As a 6-year-old, I knew nothing about films, but it was Ek Pal Ka Jeena that took me to the cinema halls in January 2000. As bizarre as it may sound today, but I grew up believing that Rohit didn’t die. He just swam his way out to New Zealand and eventually ended up fighting the ones who tried to sabotage him. Cut to Fiza – and I was not allowed to watch the film because parents felt the content was too dark for a kid. While I was disheartened at that point of time, having seen the film eventually, I understood their point.
But when it came to Mission Kashmir, they couldn’t say a no to this kid again. Bumbro was a rage, and after Ek Pal Ka Jeena, it was this song which drew me to the cinema halls. Jam packed, with a crowd whistling like there’s no tomorrow. By Mission Kashmir, the whole of India knew that a new star had arrived. And it’s this notion that led Karan Johar to cast heartthrobs from ‘the past’ – Amitabh Bachchan, ‘the present’ – Shah Rukh Khan and ‘the future’ – Hrithik Roshan. Through his family drama, I was amused, how could this Laddoo end up being Hrithik Roshan. But well, cinema is all about suspension of disbelief.
It’s Koi Mil Gaya next, a film that introduced me to a magic called Bournvita. From 2003 till date, if there’s one thing I am addicted to, it’s got to be Bournvita, thanks to the star, who made me believe that Bournvita will make me powerful. It’s probably the greatest brand integration in a feature film that has stayed relevant for nearly 20 years down the lane too. The performance, premise, music and the magic – Jadoo, it’s all fresh in my mind even today. There’s still a faint memory of me waking up in the morning, and saying, ‘Maa, mujhe kuch dikhai nai de raha maa’. The memories of playing cricket for hours and when one asked about the strength, the simple answer was ‘Bournvita’.
The early days of Hrithik Roshan’s career was driven by music for me. I remember forcing my brother to watch Lakshya just to witness the actor dance on ‘Main Aisa Kyun Hoon’ on the big screen. The two of us watched it at a cinema hall in the neighborhood just to discover that the film had so much more to offer apart from just the song. We went expecting ‘Main Aisa Kyun Hoon’ and ‘Agar Main Kahoon’, but came out with the feeling of pride, humming ‘Kandho Se Milte Hai Kandhe’. Growing up, I was shocked to discover that the film didn’t work at the box-office back in the day. But well, some films are special and this is one of those. I didn’t understand acting back then, but I knew, I liked Hrithik Roshan.
And it’s 2006. Have I grown up? Well, let’s say, I hit the double-digit age of 11 at the time when Krrish and Dhoom 2 released in a short span of time. Krrish was a sensation, and back in the day, every kid wanted to watch Krrish and be that superhero. As someone who grew up watching SpiderMan, I was dancing in joy to watch a home-grown superhero. Much like the films mentioned above, Dil Na Diya was that one song that I wanted to experience on the big screen. The entire family decided to watch Krrish together, but our plan was canceled due to flood like situation in Mumbai. Of course, I was disheartened. Cut to a couple of days later, we planned to watch Krrish again, and just hours before the film, mom and dad got a message about the death of someone from extended family.
While mom and dad chose to stay away from the film, they sent me to the cinema hall with my neighbors. And till date, I remember the highs and lows experienced while watching Krrish. The memories around this superhero film goes beyond just the 3-hour experience, as the months ahead were spent in creating the Krrish masks on the cardboard and painting them black. The recess discussions in the school revolved around who watched Krrish and who owned a mask.
Then comes Dhoom 2, which I watched on a single screen in Mumbai. I remember this action-packed thriller for being the first film that I watched without elders accompanying me. I watched it with a friend at ‘Pinky Talkies’ in Mumbai, and certainly the first film for which I had bought tickets in black. The most memorable Dhoom moment for me would be the kissing scene between Hrithik and Aishwarya. The news of their kiss was the talking point across the nation, and as “Ache Bache’s”, my friend and I had decided to close our eyes when the scene in question arrives on screen. We could sense that moment and the two of us had trust issues, so well, he shut my eyes and I shut his. And we ended up watching the film without the particular kissing scene in question. From being a 6-year-old till the age of 12, the journey is loaded with stories around Hrithik Roshan films.
And it’s on his birthday that all of them came to my mind like a reel of flashback. Through the 22 years journey in industry, Hrithik is among the most successful actors of Hindi cinema having delivered 4 highest grossing films of the year, with a staggering success ratio of almost 59%. He has delivered 5 record openers, with two missing out on the setting new benchmark on opening day – Dhoom 2 and Bang Bang – due to external factors. He has a blockbuster ratio of 25%, which is among the highest for an actor in Bollywood. And given his line up going forward, we are sure that he will be scaling new heights.