Desi Talk – that’s all you need to know 31 ENTERTAINMENT January 14, 2022 Hrithik Roshan’s 13: The Heroes He Faced On Screen H rithik Roshan turns 48 today, emphatically the youngest of the superstars of Hindi cinema. The first look of his latest film, VikramVedha, co- starring Saif Ali Khan, has been unveiled today to mark his special occasion. Hrithik plays the criminal Vedha, portrayed in the Tamil blockbuster original by Vijay Sethupati. In these 32 years since he has been a child actor, as- sistant and associate director, then leading man, singer and producer (he co-produced Super 30 under his ban- ner of HRX Films), Hrithik has always come out shining in two-hero and multi-hero films. This even as he has had solo triumphs in Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai, his 2000 smash-hit dual role debut, Koi…Mil Gaya as the challenged Rohit, Krrish as the superhero in his second double-role movie, emperor Akbar in Jodhaa Akbar, Guzaarish as the quadriplegic magician, the blind avenger of Kaabil and the math- ematics missionary in Super 30. Here we are, then, with an unusual list: of 13 films that starred him with other heroes. Aasha (1980) The filmmarked Hrithik Roshan’s first appearance: he was the 6 year-old kid who dances with rare aban- don with then-top star Jeetendra in the hit Laxmikant- Pyarelal song, Jaane hum sadak ke logon par. If his superb expressions heralded the actor latent in him, his dancing abilities forecasted the star to come. And of course, with extraordinary beginner’s luck, the film was the year’s second biggest hit. The film was produced and directed by his maternal grandfather, J. Om Prakash, a big name then. Aas Paas (1981) Hrithik Roshan plays Cupid as the small boy who delivers a love note from hero Dharmendra to Hema Malini in the popular L-P song Shaher mein charcha hai. This film came, interestingly, exactly a decade after his father, Rakesh Roshan, romanced Hema on-screen in Paraya Dhan. Bhagwan Dada (1986) Father Rakesh produced and grandfather J. Om Prakash directed this actioner, in which Hrithik, as a 12 year-old kid, had a significant role and his first reel death scene, which was applauded by all. His sequences in this Rajnikanth-Rakesh Roshan starrer gave yet one more hint of what was to come. Mission Kashmir (2000) Hrithik Roshan went on to play a terrorist with Sanjay Dutt as a cop and Jackie Shroff, playing his mentor. Hrithik walked away with the accolades— it was his second (and better) consecutive gray role after Fiza, in which he had also played a terrorist. Yaadein (2001) Hrithik’s role (a Subhash Ghai confession!) was enhanced on distributors’ pressure when Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai became a smash-hit. Jackie Shroff was the original protagonist. Nevertheless, even as an actor, Hrithik held his own against the senior hero. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001) Standing tall opposite the likes of Amitabh Bachchan (as his father) and Shah Rukh Khan (as elder brother), and yet showing his charisma was what made Hrithik stand out in this 3-hero, 4-heroine film. His sequences with Shah Rukh and Kajol stood out as much as his romantic interactions with Kareena Kapoor. Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002) This was a romance and his first film with Saif Ali Khan. Needless to say, his status and talent ensured that Hrithik came out best. Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon (2003) This updated version of Rajshri Productions’ 1976 hit Chitchor saw Hrithik essay the counterpart of Amol Palekar. That left co-star Abhishek Bachchan to essay Vijayendra Ghatge’s parallel role. Both Hrithik and Ab- hishek had debuted in 2000, but the difference in their star status within three years ensured that the former stole the show with a better-etched role. Lakshya (2004) A meaty role of a confused and directionless young man saw Hrithik engage in several dramatic sequences with Amitabh Bachchan. But nowhere came the im- pression that a younger actor was only second best to the seasoned veteran. Dhoom:2 (2006) This time, the script ensured the best role of the antagonist for Hrithik, who played the oh-so-suave yet lovable and ruthless criminal who challenges the two cops, Abhishek Bachchan again, and Uday Chopra. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) Hrithik once told me that his stardom at the time ensured budgets that enabled Zoya Akhtar to “shoot the film abroad instead of in Goa.” His impeccable perfor- mance (and energetic singing for the song Senorita) stood firm even in front of the author-backed role for Farhan Akhtar (the film’s co-producer and co-writer) and Abhay Deol’s lovable reel persona. Hrithik brought out the dourness and no-nonsense businessman in- credibly well. Agneepath (2012) Hrithik admitted then that he never even attempted to imitate Amitabh Bachchan’s original Vijay Dinanath Chauhan from the 1990 original of the same name: he carved his own path instead. This time, he had tough reel confrontations with Sanjay Dutt again and Rishi Kapoor, but made his mark, and the film, instead of a flop-turned-cult film like earlier, became a hit! War (2019) This time, he was the acerbic, cynical, gritty Indian agent who turns rogue. Hrithik Roshan, despite Tiger Shroff’s intense turn, came up tops in this action spec- tacle shot across continents. Incidentally, as of now, this is Hrithik’s latest release and highest grosser—a member of the very exclusive 300 crore club. By RajivVijayakar The first look of Vikram Vedha features Hrithik Roshan, who celebrates his 48th birthday January 10. Photo:Reliance Entertainment What Is Bhumi Pednekar’s Dream Role? B humi Pednekar has by now shown that she can pull off any role with charisma. After wowing media and audiences alike with her acting skills in varied projects, Bhumi reveals that she would now really want to play a freedom fighter on the big screen. “Playing a freedom fighter on screen would be my dream role! I’m fascinated by such remarkable person- alities and it would be an honor for me to play some- one like that on screen. I actually want to do that and I hope that the universe is listening to this. I would also like to be a part of a fantasy project. There are so many different types of projects that I would love to explore and experience as an actor,” says Bhumi. Bhumi, who will be seen in Anubhav Sinha’s Bheed, Badhaai Do with Rajkumar Rao, Ajay Bahl’s Ladykiller, Shashank Khaitan’s Govinda Aala Re and Akshay Kumar’s and Aanand L. Rai’s Raksha Bandhan in 2022, says that she is drawn to play powerful characters on screen. “I think the one common thread in all my films or the work I have done is that I am trying to break stereotypes. I have done that right frommy debut film Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), and I do see myself playing ambitious, vocal, beautiful, gutsy women on screen because I relate to them deeply. I’m thrilled that I’m an artiste today and that I’m living my dream every single day and creatively expressing myself freely,” adds Bhumi. For those who came in late, the oversize heroine of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, was actually working with Yash Raj Films’ casting director Shanoo Sharma for three years before her break. Among the stars whose audi- tions she took are Vaani Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. Accepting a stupendous challenge, the already plump girl put on weight to 85 kilos (!) to play an obese Haridwar hausfrau! Bhumi had two loves: food and acting, and she got to do both! With complete discipline, however she promptly lost weight later. And it was back to “normal” roles, albeit with substance, in Toilet—Ek Prem Katha and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, both released in mid- to late-2017. Saand Ki Aankh, Bala, Sonchiriya and even Durga- mati: The Myth, released on OTT, besides Shubh Man- gal Zyada Saavdhan are among the films that followed with meat for her as an actor and also as subjects. Bhumi has ensured the right mix in her films, and not necessarily just the central role. So those looking at our freedom fighters’ biopics now know where they could find their actor. After all, talent and dedication are first priorities, and Bhumi has both in plenty. Physical resemblance has always been, anyway, strictly optional. By RajivVijayakar Bhumi Pednekar elaborates on what her dream role would be. Photo:Yash Raj Films photo