Rani or Kareena?
Hrithik Roshan makes a choice in Mujhse Dosti Karoge
He hardly touched down in Mumbai after a 90-day US-UK concert tour when it is time for Hrithik Roshan to leave for a month-long schedule in Calgary, Canada, for his father, filmmaker Rakesh Roshan's production Koi Mil Gaya, which also stars Preity Zinta and Rekha.
Now shooting rigorously for Sooraj Barjatya's Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon while nursing a bad back, Roshan takes time off to talk to Subhash K Jha about his new release, Kunal Kohli's Mujhse Dosti Karoge:
Mujhse Dosti Karoge is your third release this year.
That's right. Last year I had two releases. This year I have three. What is special is that I am one of the central characters in all of them. What I liked about Mujhse Dosti Karoge was that it came from a completely honest source.
Kunal Kohli's script is not trying to make an impression at all. It is an honest story. And its USP is Kunal Kohli.
I have worked with the best of directors and I can say that Kunal surprised me with his clarity of thought. An actor feels very comfortable when he can trust a director's instincts. In this case I could leave myself completely in the director's hand and be more adventurous in my performance.
In what way?
In Mujhse…, I wasn't afraid to step over boundaries because I knew Kunal was there to catch me if I fell. He knew when and how to control me, when I was going wrong.
You know, every scene has its own walls (limits). You never know what a scene's potential is until you climb those walls. In Mujhse… I was so clear-headed about the script and director that I was free to go beyond what I would have considered the appropriate limit for every scene.
Have you always kept your performance within those self-imposed boundaries?
Not always. I think I dared to be adventurous as my character Raj in Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai. I could afford to be adventurous then because I had nothing to lose. But as you grow as a performer, you become aware of the audiences' tastes and play it a bit safe.
In Mujhse... I have definitely gone beyond my self-imposed restrictions. The dialogues are so beautifully written and the scenes so amazing that I couldn't help doing something extra in every scene. A lot of times we changed the flow of the scenes and treated them differently. So though there was room for change, the script remained our touchstone.
That is the amazing thing about Mujhse Dosti Karoge. The chapters remained the same. But we changed the footnotes constantly.
A lot of people say all your recent films have been candyfloss.
The point is, Mujhse… isn't candyfloss. It is a very, very intense film. The second half is propelled forward by the intensity of my character Raj. But the film isn't about me alone. It deals with three characters --- Rani [Mukherji], Kareena [Kapoor] and me --- without prejudice. It is more a film about three friends than a love triangle.
So Mujhse Dosti Karoge is different from other love triangles?
I would say it does not deviate too much from what the audience is used to seeing. But it does have a lot of anger, intensity, frustration and passion.
How was it working with the two actresses?
I have worked with Kareena in so many films that the comfort level is really high. I now understand her spontaneous style of acting, so I am less shocked by it *laughs*. Because of the number of films we have done together, we know instinctively what the other is going to do next.
I, on the other hand, like to think out my scenes. Now I can meet her somewhere halfway between the two extremes. It is not possible to be completely cautious with such a spontaneous actress.
So has she helped you loosen up on screen?
I think I always was a blend of spontaneity and caution. But after a little self-analysis, I have learnt to be more spontaneous.
So the credit goes to Kareena?
No, it goes to all the actresses I have worked with --- Preity Zinta, Kajol, Kareena, Amisha [Patel] and Esha [Deol]. Not so much Karisma because she is not quite so spontaneous. In dealing with them I have discovered my own spontaneity.
Rani Mukherji is another natural born performer...
Yeah. It was a pleasure working with her. She is very professional, very friendly and easygoing. She leaves all negativity behind when she comes on the sets. And she's a great friend. Rani and I make a very earthy pair. We don't look unbelievably glamorous on screen. We look like a real couple.
It is being said that Aditya Chopra ghost-directed Mujhse Dosti Karoge?
Nonsense! Adi was there only at the script level. Mujhse Dosti Karoge is entirely Kunal's baby. This is as ridiculous as the rumour that my dad directed the climax of Arjun Sablok's Na Tum Jaano Na Hum.
As for me, shooting for the film was fun. It's my last release this year. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
I'm off to Calgary to shoot for my dad's film. I'm also doing Farhan Akhtar's film Lakshya, with Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta. Preity and I have been shooting together constantly for my dad's film Koi Mil Gaya.
Now we will shoot together till October 2003 for Farhan's film. It's a very real war film. No song breaks, nothing filmi.
More on Mujhse Dosti Karoge:
The truth about Rani and Kareena
Rani Mukherji: Friends forever!
A new sound: Rahul Sharma