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June 22, 2006   

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'I had judged Ash wrong. I felt really foolish at that'

Hrithik Roshan in an exclusive interview to

You stood up for Aamir Khan when Fanaa wasn't screened in Gujarat because of his stance on the rehabilitation of those ousted due to the Narmada dam project. What prompted you to do that?

The biggest reason was that I was at home. I was not in the middle of the hectic schedule where one doesn't realise the day of the week. That's the kind of lives most stars lead. They lock themselves up in this different world and need to do that because that's the only way they can consistently perform as different characters.

If I was doing Koi... Mil Gaya right now, I wouldn't have even read the papers. When I was doing Koi... I remember I didn't read the papers for two years because I didn't want to leave that world at all. That was my focus.

However shallow it might sound but the truth is that I was free. My mind started working. I said what do I think, does my word have any weight and why are other people not expressing their opinion. People who are colleagues or friends of Aamir Khan. So the next time I was asked a question I said my mind.

But, of course, advertently or inadvertently, words get left out and the truth gets little distorted.

I do stand by Aamir and think that he is not in the wrong. But without knowing the intricate details of what has transpired it would not have been possible for me to accuse anyone.

I have not made any accusations as has been projected in the media. A very important word that was left was 'if'.

My stand was that 'if these people have used muscle power to stop the screening of Fanaa, then they are holding the entire film industry to ransom.'

My premise and motivation is for the democratic rights of every citizen of our country. It is with that feeling and conviction that I stand by Aamir because he hasn't done anything illegal.

In fact, if they've done what seems to be apparent then that is illegal. You cannot stop the screening of Fanaa because you do not like what one person has said against you. If that has been done, it is absolutely immature.

It is not an accusation, it is my opinion if this is the scenario and it is by that regard that I stand by Aamir.

So the next film you're doing is Jodha-Akbar?

Yes, and it's an incredibly different world from wherever I've been.

What drew you to this film?

I've not really started working on the film. I am just getting out of Krrish and completing Dhoom II by August.

I am very happy to be working with Ashutosh Gowariker. I am a big fan of his. The biggest motivating factor to sign a film like this was because it was Ashutosh.

Sometimes the director himself is the source of great education and inspiration. That is what I hope to imbibe from him when I work with him.

You'll be working with Aishwarya Rai with whom you've not been paired before?

I've just done a schedule with her for Dhoom II in Rio. I was delighted to see her approach to work. To see her dedication and consistent focus. Apart from being extremely beautiful and attractive, she's a thinking actor which I was pleasantly surprised by.

I know it's wrong for any person or actor to have these preconceived notions about somebody else. But I have to say that I had judged her wrong. I felt really foolish at that.

Sometimes beauty just takes over so much of the other talents. She's someone with a lot more mettle than just what shows on her face.

She's definitely someone I look forward to working with in Jodha-Akbar. I hope our pair works.

There seems to be a thrust on historical films -- there was Taj Mahal, Mughal-e-Azam was brought back recently?

There is a lot I could learn when I read about Akbar and his times. All I know is from what I learned in school, most of which I think I've forgotten (laughs). It will be nice to go back in history.

Akbar married Jodha, a Hindu princess. You are a Hindu married to a Muslim. How important do you think is secularism to the ethos of India?

The teachings of every religion are similar. As it has been handed down it has been warped and abstracted. People have started using religion to give themselves an identity and feed their own egos. And having pride in the fact that they are the sole protectors, possessors of the truth.

Merely pointing fingers at other people who do not believe in that truth. Religion is becoming a game for people who are egotistic in this ambitious struggle for more power.

At the source, all religions speak the same language. I respect every religion, I am against people who are using religion as a medium to feed their own egos and give themselves more power.

What is important is spirituality. That is the true faith, if at all. I believe in secularism, it is the way I've been brought up by my family and we all need to impart that thought to our children that caste and creed don't matter, these are man-made barriers to keep certain people in power, to keep certain people stronger than others.

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