Let me state at the outset that I am not (and have never been) a Hrithik Roshan fan. No, not even when he debuted with Kaho Na Pyaar Hai and became the millennial heartthrob, and not even when his performance was praised in Krissh.
I never saw the big deal with Hrithik. I always thought he was way too conventional looking, and a better dancer than an actor, at any given point in time. His performances at award shows have always entertained me more than his films.
I also was one of those few people who refrained from taking sides in the whole Kangana-Hrithik extravaganza. It got so mucky, that beyond a point how do you even know what the truth is?
And yet, in spite of having no real feelings towards Roshan, I have to say this: Let's all take a step back and hold onto the hate for a bit. Criticism is one thing, but writing Hrithik Roshan off, and calling him a "faded star" is like jumping the gun, too fast, too soon.
Film critic Raja Sen expresses my thoughts pretty aptly:
Those who are calling him "old", "done and over with" or even how he hasn't grown up, are the same people who said SRK's time was up nearly 10 years ago, and who also said that Salman would be forgotten during his Tumko Na Bhool Payenge phase.
They're the same people who asked Anurag Kashyap to stop directing films after Bombay Velvet, and said Alia Bhatt's failure in Shandaar was good because she had had too many hits.
It's such a Bollywood cliche to write actors/actresses off. With one flop film (or maybe two), personal life crises or a lull in their professional graph, we tend to push celebrities to the back burner.
This is fine, or may seem fine, especially at a time when more than 1,000 Bollywood films are releasing every year, and our collective attention span is reducing. It then becomes an actor's responsibility to constantly be in the public eye, so as to continue buzz around them.
This is a harsh truth that we have come to accept, and this is probably the reason why we have multiple poster releases, motion posters, teaser launches, trailer launches, pre-release screenings and success parties of the same film.
But does this mean if someone is going through a lull, we completely write them off? Have we forgotten that Hrithik Roshan's last film Bang Bang (however horrible it may have been) was a box office hit? It made a lifetime collection of close to Rs 180 crore at the domestic box office alone, and was the third highest grossing film of 2014.
On what basis are we calling him a faded star? I'm confused. I'd have even understood the use of the term "fading" because one must keep an open mind, but "faded"?
Even by the harshest standards, Bang Bang box office collections should be enough to shut people up. Especially for those of us who measure an actor's durability based on only box office numbers.
It's been almost two years since then, and Hrithik has had some questionable film choices, but going by the response to Mohenjo Daro this Friday, versus the lacklustre response to Akshay Kumar's Rustom, guess who's finally having the last laugh?
(PS: I'm probably going to hate Mohenjo Daro, maybe I won't even watch it, but what needs to be said, needs to be said.)