ACTOR HRITHIK ROSHAN ON THE ART OF BUILDING YOUR CRAFT
Photographs by BANDEEP SINGH All around Hrithik Roshan’s sea-facing home in Juhu are framed inspirational quotes, all coined by him. “Find beauty in everything”, “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure”, “You never fail until you stop trying”. One relies on them more especially if one is employed in the movie world—an artistic medium driven by commercial diktats. “I put them up so they can catch me off guard and trigger something when I probably need it,” says Roshan. “Sometimes I’m thinking shall I or shall I not? And then I will read ‘If you are looking for a sign, this is it.’ The idea is
to stop being superstitious, and look at things and decide now.” Roshan, who has been in the industry for 17 years now and whose affiliation with it goes further back thanks to actor-turned-filmmaker father, Rakesh Roshan, is conscious that Bollywood measures success largely by box office returns. How does he handle this clash of art vs commerce? His response reflects that all those motivational one-liners are very much his own creation. “The ideal situation is where your artistic pursuits, and the direction they are taking, are in alignment with the commercial environment,” he says. “Sometimes that doesn’t happen. I’m still learning, but from whatever I have learned, if you are subjecting yourself to the environment enough by watching films that have worked and not worked, and what people like, follow and think, which is to say that if you are with the times, then your passion will automatically align
with the box office.” Roshan is surrounded by art in diverse forms. Both S H Raza and Daku find space in his apartment. Raza in the dining area and the Daku graffiti —“Should. Would. Could. Did”— in his study-cum-children’s playroom. He loves British graffiti artist Banksy too. “I love his quotes and the way he depicts them. There is a lot of mental acumen behind it, which I find extremely engaging,” he says. But for Roshan, there’s no urge to flaunt only the biggies. The first painting you are likely to notice is a black-and-white one by Rashmie, his erstwhile stylist Akshat Tyagi’s mother, which hangs in the passage. A chunk of a wall in the living room has adorable pictures of him with his boys—Hrehaan, 10, and Hridhaan, 8. The cinephile in him is also evident in a Charlie Chaplin portrait and Batmobile and Catwoman figurines. There are lovely small paintings with titles such as “A somewhere in
between house” and “Of improvisation”. By his own admission, Roshan is not very good with names. Prod him on the artists behind some of the works that grace his wall and the actor is apologetic. But he will happily take credit for them being there: “Every single piece that you see in this house I have selected myself just to reaffirm to myself that I accept my likes and my dislikes. It takes courage to put something up that you like. ‘I like this, I am going to get it; it may look like rubbish but I like it’. That courage is something that people tend to take for granted.” One can sense the pride that Roshan has when talking about his home, which he shares with his boys who visit him over the weekend. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a passion to build homes or dabble in interiors,” he says. “I am nuts about house and design magazines. I
have apps on homes and interiors.” It is easier to get the name of the entertainers who have shaped his artistic sensibilities. There is Amitabh Bachchan. “I still find myself studying him, his composure and pauses.” The dancer in Roshan is in awe of Shammi Kapoor.