You just understand from this that nothing in life is bad.
You know, I’m not a star in spite of my problems.
It is because I had those problems, that I’ve become a star.
It is because of that.
~ Hrithik Roshan ~
The criminally hot hunk of Bollywood, Hrithik Roshan, is turning 41 today and well, what can we say save it is hard to believe that this talking, walking, and of course, dancing piece of sensuality has walked the earth for four decades now! The last year has been a tough ride for the hottie what with a string of injuries, the tumult in his personal relationship, and the resultant separation! And yet, our ‘desi’ superhero has braved it all and stands tall and dignified in his cape – a true hero who knows how to fling the shit life throws at him right back, smiling the triumphant smile!
The tortuous journey of this Indian ‘Greek God’ is an inspiring tale that has many a lesson for all and sundry. So, today on his 41st birthday, we bring you some invaluable takeaways from the life of the heartthrob of the nation:
1. On braving the challenges
“You finally realize that you don’t have a choice. You have one life. Are you not going to do something about it or die trying?”
Hrithik had a severe stuttering problem in childhood. In an interview, the gorgeous and now-charmingly articulate actor describes those days: “Unfortunately it is one of those handicaps that is made fun of. Especially kids, you can’t blame them but they end up being mean because it looks funny! So the childhood of a person suffering from a problem like this is pure hell. From the time you wake up in the morning to night you almost dread some days … to wake up! Because you have to go through an entire day when you have to use your speech and have to go through all those little moments of hell.”
On coping mechanisms he used back then, the actor recalls, “For oral tests at school, I used to bunk school, I used to fall sick, I used to break my hand, I used to get a sprain.” However, speech therapy and extensive personal practice has led the actor to become confident enough to voice his thoughts with unmatched charisma. A laudatory article in India Parenting magazine hails him as the face of ‘wondrous will power,’ when it came to children with challenges. Hrithik recalls how he used to practice for 36 hours to tell his cook what he wanted to eat or lock himself in a closet to yell ‘Dubai’ as part of practicing his acceptance speech for an upcoming award function. Speaking of his unflinching determination to overcome the fear that’d grip him whenever he needed to speak up, he says, “It’s not easy to be a special child … I got over it, so will you.”
And we can only concur. If Hrithik made it from ‘hell’ to ‘hell yeah, I’ve got it,’ we are furiously scribbling away the takeaways on our notepads!!
2. On turning the tables on fate
“If I die doing this, I’ll die doing this! But at least I’ll live the way I want to live!”
Overcoming his speech problem was just one of the hurdles that Hrithik faced on his journey to stardom. A severe case of scoliosis queued up next. In college, Hrithik found out that his back would go into a spasm after each workout or dance session. And he’d be bedridden for weeks, even months! The doctors ridiculed his acting aspirations and said, “The dancing, movement, and action involved in acting will just take its toll on you and you won’t be able to do it for long. If you do that for a couple years, you’ll be in a wheelchair.” But Hrithik did not shelf his dream. He chose to live it out. The result – we have this gorgeous, gorgeous man taking away our hearts each time he breathes, walks, talks, moves and dances on-screen!
So, the next time ‘destiny’ deems something as inevitably etched on your future, feel free to go ahead and challenge it!
3. On failure and the power of perseverance
“Life hits you hard. But it takes you three seconds to decide if you are a superhero or not. I am.”
Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License
After a remarkable debut with Kaho Na Pyar Hai, the starlet gave a series of back to back flops. The critics had written him off as a ‘one-film-wonder,’ while a magazine featured him on its cover with the word ‘FINISHED’ writ large across the page. However, our superhero bounced back with Koi..Mil Gaya and the rest, as you know, is HISTORY!!
Haven’t you learnt the lesson from this one already?
4. On the need to fuel ‘passion’
“I do get scared but passion takes over.”
After papa Rakesh Roshan was shot by the mafia, an upset Hrithik had decided to quit acting altogether. However, his conscience whispered otherwise. Hrithik was paying attention and are we glad, he did! His passion for films surely translates into a seamless flow of perfection in his on-screen activities.
If you know you’re meant for it, do not give up on ‘it’ – EVER!
5. On love
“The whole idea of two people being one and loving as one is all wrong. You have to accept the other person as an individual and love each other as two individuals. Stand apart and love. Be unafraid to give and receive love as an individual.”
An idea that has often been reiterated in my articles, this one is ever-so-more-beautiful. If you do not love yourself enough, you’ll never come whole to the relationship that you are building. And when you do, unconditional love shall surely follow. Coz one needs to remember, it takes two ‘MEs’ to form a ‘WE.’ And it is only when you protect yourself can you shield the person journeying with you from any impending danger.
Love ‘ME’ to make love to ‘WE,’ unconditionally.
6. On drive, desire and dedication
“You can change the world with your two hands. You think you have overcome one challenge not knowing your most monstrous challenge lies ahead. It is possible to change your life with your hands – I am living proof of that.”
Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License
After facing one challenge after the other, our sincere hottie faced yet another challenge last year. During the shoot for Bang Bang, Hrithik hurt his head. He was afflicted with frequent headaches and popping painkillers didn’t help. However, the shooting pain didn’t make him irritable and he never missed a schedule. He did not have qualms even when the shoot got delayed. Upon increasing incidences of the headache, Hrithik went for a CT scan which revealed a blood clot in his brain. He had to undergo a surgery and thereafter, he resumed shooting again.
Life shall keep throwing up challenges, one after the other. Be determined to brave them all.
7. On the hardships of last year
“What can I say, what can I do? When it happens to someone you can give advice, when it happens to you, you got to face it. Someday, I will have answers. At the moment, there are just questions. I have lost sense of objectivity. But the worst you can do is blame yourself with the dreaded ‘why me?’ Never do that. Face the challenge.”
One of the most powerful things I have heard in a long, long time, this one is truly uplifting and enriching! With a string of injuries and a heart-rending separation from the love of his life Suzanne, the man saw a trying 2014! But the fact that he is able to see all of it through a mature prism of perceptive understanding makes us question his admission about ‘objectivity.’ Not everyone has the percipience to view human nature as behaving in separate ways in the face of adversities that befalls them or those around. Not everyone is mature enough to understand that beating oneself up over it is a futile process! And not everyone comes out of the storm riding the tempestuous steed!
Atta boy, we are learning to see the silver linings of clouds too!
8. On experiential learning and the wisdom gained thereof
“I am glad I have the intelligence to understand what is happening to me. If I allow myself to get affected by all this hype, I’ll stunt my growth as an actor and be damned for life. I know that I still have a long way to go before I can even aspire to equal the achievements of any of the superstars. I know I am good at my job, and I am sure I will be damn good one day but right now, I also know how bad I can be.”
Even after having a rather sinuous professional trajectory and a stable personal one that snapped all of a sudden, the actor maintains dignified silence around his personal issues. With no talk of alimony and not a single document drawn up between him and his ex-wife, the actor has not only set an example of the way couples should deal with testing times as these, but he has also stood out in support of Suzanne when tongues started to wag regarding the possible causes of the split. He has not only rubbished the speculation but also ensured that the chaos of his personal realm does not trickle down into his professional domain and affect his work. After Bang Bang’s mega-success, he still takes the ‘humble’ route to engage with his work and the challenges involved therein.
Such self-awareness! We wish to sign up for classes too!
9. On relationships and the emotional upheavals involved
“I take full responsibility about whatever is happening in my life, instead of blaming people and circumstances. I have had to realize it’s about me. Yes, there are times when the possibility of a good future seems impossible, but I realize one has to get on with it!”
Now here’s a man we have RESPECT for – a man who does not air his laundry in public, refrains from placing blame about things gone awry with a relationship, and takes complete responsibility for his actions! Marriage is the union of two people who bear the onus of making it or breaking it. The fact that he admits to separation being ‘worse than death’ but does not succumb to the numbing pain, and instead, channels the pain into constructive energy for forging the path ahead is laudable!
Life moves on and you have to keep up!
10. On love, again
“This is my greatest tribute to love. Suzanne is and always will be the love of my life for the rest of my life. If her smiles are brighter without me my love for her must accomplish that. Unconditional.”
While November 2014 shattered all the hopes we had about a possible reconciliation between the lovers of our favorite fairytale, we can’t help but still admire the immense respect Hrithik and Suzanne have shown for each other throughout the tumultuous period. Also, when our lover-boy goes ahead and says that for the woman he fell in love with at a traffic signal and stated would marry someday, at a party (and he did!), we can’t help but feel sad that the ‘unconditional’ love of these lovebirds had to end thus!
And the takeaway from this one – in one of my favorite quotes – ishq de meree mitra pehchaan kee mit javay jadoon zid apnan dee.
For the hero who truly merits being called one, here’s a heart-felt BIRTHDAY wish.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Hrithik.
We look up to you and we love you!
Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License