When Shah Rukh Khan came calling on our city with Chennai Express, women of all ages went ‘wow’. With John Abraham and Madras Cafe it was more of an incidental crowd that peered on. But for Hrithik Roshan, it was teen girl power all the way. Over 200 young girls gathered at Sathyam Cinemas and didn’t mind being shoved, stamped and yelled at — all to get a glimpse (or maybe more) of Bollywood ‘superhero’ hunk Hrithik Roshan.
Hrithik, who kickstarted his Bollywood dream in 2000 with the runaway hit Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, has made very few trips to the city in his 13-year-long career. Through ups and downs with films like Jodhaa Akbar and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and the now successful Krrish trilogy, the star looked like a man bursting with life at the seams.
Visiting the city with his father, director and producer Rakesh Roshan as part of the publicity run for his Deepavali release Krrish 3, the 39-year-old actor admitted that he was “overwhelmed” at all the attention that he was getting from Chennai’s young girls. Arriving at the theatre by 3 pm, he was surprised to find that the steadily growing crowd of young girls — predominantly North Indian — had been waiting outside the theatre since 2 pm. “I have been a die-hard fan since I watched him in Agneepath and I can’t believe that I’m getting to see him here in Chennai,” said Akanksha, who appeared to have come with a gang of five other girls to see ‘Duggu’. Besides the entrance, Hrithik was mobbed by girls near the staircase, outside the cinema hall and even at the exit, despite the presence of 20 cops and a few bouncers. “All girls,” shrugged a policeman, “Nothing we can do.”
Despite all the female attention, Hrithik made light of rumours that his wife Suzanne was considering walking out on him, “The women in my life are all superwomen —from my mom to my wife to my sister. I can’t ask for more,” he said breezily. Playing the role of a superhero like Krrish and making it work in the box office, Hrithik said, “Being a superhero is like playing a normal person — there’s a superhero inside each of us. I have learnt that if we imbibe five per cent of those qualities, the world will be a better place.”
Despite having undergone brain surgery in July, to remove a chronic subdural haematoma, Hrithik looked as charming and buff as ever, as he made his way to the stage. Reflecting on the rousing welcome he’d just been accorded with, Hrithik said, “So much love in so few hours. Chennai has really overwhelmed me and I can hardly talk. Your screams are the loudest that I’ve heard in any city in the world,” he said. Needless to say that earned him the loudest cheer of Monday afternoon. Buoyed by the attention, Hrithik agreed to “act in a Tamil film, include Tamil characters in his next, and anything people wanted,” if they continued to support him this way. Smells like teen spirit, all right.