Hrithik Roshan. The man often referred to as the ‘Greek God’ of India, is also eponymous with a body that is sculpted by the hand in high heavens to say the least, looks that make the sternest of hearts swoon, dance moves that electrify, and acting skills that have won over both classes and masses. We’d say the man is a complete package, but you already know that.
From storming onto the silver screen as the quintessential ‘chocolate boy’ slash romantic hero with Kaho Na...Pyaar Hai, to leaving everybody impressed with his earnest portrayal of the rural Mathematics teacher, Anand Kumar in Super 30, Roshan has really come a long way.
As the Fighter star is turning a year older today, let’s take a look at some of his best movies that proved his calibre as a phenomenal actor.
Koi Mil Gaya
Directed by his father, Rakesh Roshan, Koi Mil Gaya was probably the first movie that proved Roshan`s prowess as an actor. The ambitious 2003 hit sci-fi drama follows the journey of a specially abled young man, Rohit, whose brain functions as that of an 11-year-old kid. When he befriends an alien, nicknamed Jaadoo, his life transforms completely with the help of Jadoo’s superpowers. Roshan flawlessly pulled off the complex yet child-like character of Rohit with innocence and ease on the silver screen and garnered immense appreciation from audiences all over, cementing his position as a bankable actor in Bollywood.
Directed by Bollywood actor-director Farhan Akhtar, Lakshya is a war drama which is set against the fictionalised backdrop of the 1999 Kargil war. Starring Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta in lead roles, the movie follows the journey of a carefree and aimless young guy Karan Shergill, who finds direction in his life after joining the Indian Army, realising his true ‘Lakshya’ in life. Not only is it a great story that is beautifully realised, it is also a great war film. The movie was praised for its depiction of the military and Roshan`s performance as a man seeking purpose.
Kaho Naa.. Pyaar Hai
We can’t think of a stronger (not to be confused with better) debut in recent years. This is the film that, safe to say, transformed Roshan into a superstar overnight. Produced, written and directed by father Rakesh Roshan himself, the film turned out to be the exact wagon of success that he intended it to be for his son. But, much of the credit here would go to the man HR himself. Co-starring Ameesha Patel and Anupam Kher, the film consists of every Bollywood cliché ever put to screen, and a story that is ‘staple’ to say the least. One of the actor’s best movies ever, Kaho Naa Pyar Hai garnered Roshan a Filmfare and an IIFA award. Can we really have a problem with it, with those killer moves?
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Guzaarish co-starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is probably one of Roshan’s best performances. The film, which explores the concept of death by choice, aka euthanasia, is, unfortunately, the most underrated movie of the superstar. The film narrates the story of a paralysed magician-turned-Radio jockey who files a petition in court seeking permission to end his life. Playing the role of a paralysed man, we see the actor stripped of all the glamour, dance and style one usually comes to associate with his films, and yet, delivering a performance that is measured, sensitive and memorable to say the least.
Ashutosh Gowariker’s magnum opus saw him don the role of the Mughal monarch Akbar, alongside Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Jodhaa Bai, in a story that focused on the unlikely alliance between their characters. Gowariker remarked that he chose Roshan for the role, since he felt he had the “regal bearing and physique” required to play a king, and we couldn’t agree more. He is incredibly subtle in some scenes, steely in others, but composed throughout. Watch him fight, bare-fisted and by sword, wrestle an elephant, ride into battle or just sit in the royal court with all the enigma an actor can possibly conjure. Rightly so, he won another Filmfare for his performance, and a string of international awards. Apart from the phenomenal performances of the lead actors, AR Rahman`s music and epic picturisation make the movie amazingly surreal.
The film is based on the touching true story of Anand Kumar, a tutor who started free coaching for poor students in Bihar in the mid-90s. From the boy next door, Hrithik transformed himself for this biographical drama and was almost unrecognisable. From perfecting his accent to his expression, the actor served justice to this critically-acclaimed film.
Easily one of the better films of the last decade, Mission Kashmir is the tragic story of a boy Altaaf, whose family is accidently killed in a police operation in the turbulent Kashmir valley, following which he is taken under the wing of the chief, played by Sanjay Dutt. Altaaf, upon learning the truth, seeks revenge, becoming a terrorist. After Fiza, this film established Roshan’s position as a serious actor, rather than just a star child who had struck gold. A Vidhu Vinod Chopra directorial, the film boasts of better production values for its time, and sincere, honest performances from the entire cast, with Roshan being the standout performer in only his third film also starring the likes of Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Preity Zinta and Sonali Kulkarni.
Mr. Bacchan left humongous shoes to fill after his iconic take on the character ‘Vijay Deenanath Chauhan’ in the original Agneepath. Naturally, Roshan was hesitant to take on the role in its remake. Once the film was released, it was hugely successful, and the cynics and naysayers were shut down for good. He was just as angry, just as smouldering, and while one may argue he lacked some of the essential swagger that Mr. Bacchan’s version had, his ‘Vijay’ was more tragic, and the type that suffered silently, his eyes speaking volumes in some particular scenes.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
The ultimate road-trip-comedy-drama film of 2011, that gave almost every city-bred millennial another thing to strike off their travel bucket-list for years to come, follows three best friends Kabir, Imran and Arjun, who embark on a road trip through Spain for one last hurrah ahead of a significant change in one of their lives. The trip turns into an opportunity to mend fences, heal wounds, fall in love with life and combat their worst fears. Safe to say, we think this right here is Roshan’s best film, in terms of quality. Yes, he shares screen space with two other prominent actors who also shine on multiple occasions, but that is when Roshan isn’t trying too hard. He is happy playing the workaholic money man who just can’t stop being upright. After the stunningly shot deep sea diving sequence, Arjun, the man hardened by the stocks trading world, sits atop a speedboat contemplating his experience and all that he has been missing in life and breaks down into a teary mess, his eyes displaying volumes of emotions. That right there catapulted Arjun’s story arc into easily the most interesting of the three friends, courtesy of some powerful acting on display here, and Javed Akhtar’s incredible poetry recited by Farhan Akhtar in voiceover.