Hrithik Roshan and the Kaabil paradox: Why does a modern man play outdated heroes?

If you happened to see the photo of Hrithik Roshan posing with ex-wife Sussanne Khan and their friends Twinkle Khanna, Akshay Kumar, then you must know that these seem to be good times for the Kaabil star.

Either Hrithik is slowly and steadily getting his act together or his PR team is doing a good job of re-boosting his image, which had taken a battering after his Mohenjodaro-sized personal battles of the past year.

Hrithik Roshan in Kaabil

Hrithik Roshan in Kaabil

In Kaabil, Hrithik’s character, Rohan, is a likeable, harmless and independent young man who doesn’t let his vision impairment come in the way of his happiness. He can dance like a superstar; cry like a helpless, broken husband and then bingo — he can transform into a deadly opponent bent on revenge. Hrithik knows his moves, all right. He knows his craft and proved it, with Guzaarish, a long time ago.

However, when it comes to his scripts, Hrithik seems to be going in for ones that spell regressive, with a capital ‘R’.

While Hrithik has been deservedly praised for his performance in Kaabil, the film is as good as an episode of Crime Patrol. The film is among Sanjay Gupta’s better work as a director in terms of style and sensibility, the script itself is an age-old story of a blind man avenging his blind wife’s rape and murder; and has dialogues like “Pyaar andha hota hai yeh to suna tha lekin andhon ko bhi pyaar hota, yeh pehli baar dekha”.

It’s either his luck or his fan base which seems to be favouring Hrithik’s current success. First comes the announcement of Kaabil joining the ultimate 100 crore club. (Although with Dangal setting a new benchmark of Rs 350 crore plus in box office collections, both Raees and Kaabil have had to get their number-crunching machines on overdrive, with each team claiming more zeroes and throwing success parties.) The more the business, the merrier the Page 3 pictures; the recent one being the charming, chilled out one with Akshay Kumar.

It’s also great to see the steady stream of happy, modern family/friendly photos of Hrithik and Sussanne — which are presumably setting ‘friendship goals’ for the Instagram generation.

If Hrithik can be this modern-day relationship role model for the youth today, he can very well choose not to be a part of nonsensical versions of rape revenge sagas which don’t even belong in the Bollywood eighties.

Today, films with women protagonists have broken the boundaries of prototype heroines, singlehood and sexuality — be it Queen, Pink and Dear Zindagi. But strangely, the hero has not changed too much. Kaabil’s hero is a rewritten version of the equally regressive Ghajini where blindness is replaced by memory loss and the rest is the same old rape, revenge, repeat. When a “thinking actor” like Aamir Khan can choose Ghajini and the box office proves him right too, why would any other actor resist the tried-and-tested formula of romance and violence? Little wonder, we end up with rehashed Bollywood trash.

It is possible that actors like Hrithik are told confidently by filmmakers, “Action hai, romance hai, drama hai, kamaal ka fight scene hai…picture hit hai” and the performers play along since there is very little risk involved. For such safer bets,   lighter movies like Bang Bang, Krishh and Dhoom do far more justice to Hrithik’s action image and talent. He is brilliantly light-footed on the dance floor and clearly very dedicated and disciplined. Hopefully, his kaabil mind will be willing to take on new and fresh challenges.

Hrithik is normally seen in a very serious avatar in all his interviews. He talks slowly and in measured fashion, and always says the right thing. But he shed all inhibitions and played along sportingly in Kapil Sharma’s show this weekend — happy to romp around in a sari. (What exactly is it about 3-4 characters dressed as women in The Kapil Sharma Show which tickles the TRPs and the audiences is beyond my comprehension.)

Dear Hrithik, you need not be that kind of sport. It’s really not funny.

A week ago, one of the numerous, WhatsApp jokes on Kaabil and Raees went like this:

Patni: Raees film dekhne chalien?

Pati: Main utna kaabil nahin hoon.

Patni: To Kaabil dekhne chalien?

Pati: Main utna Raees nahin hoon.

This is followed by a cartoon showing husband and wife armed with pans aimed at each other and the line:

Baad mein unke bachchon ne ghar pe DANGAL dekha.

Well, Dangal’s Aamir Khan took the risk of playing his age, adding a paunch and lots of grey hair. And the box office numbers are still ringing loud. Hope Hrithik and every kaabil actor out there, is listening.


Published Date: Feb 11, 2017 02:37 pm | Updated Date: Feb 11, 2017 02:37 pm


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