HAS ABHISHEK MADE HRITHIK INSECURE!
"When you are at the top, the conspiracy to pull you down is so evident," says the deluded Rock Star from the Hollywood movie 'Almost Famous'. And once the rug has been pulled from under your feet, and you slip down a few rungs, the conspiracy is in your face. Paranoia and persecution complex are syndromes no actor can escape - brilliant or mediocre. Even the best in the biz have fallen prey. Take Hrithik Roshan for example. And if you do believe in such a thing as the other best, than it is current heartthrob Abhishek Bachchan who is the cause of Hrithik's growing insecurities. Even before they come face-to-face for Yashraj's 'Dhoom – II' there are enough sparks flying…
Hrithik and Abhishek had a few things in common, and a lot more different. The two Bollywood insiders were marked for glory that one hoped would eventually overthrow the Khan kingdom. And yet, they both travelled very diverse, rather contrasting, paths in their bid to the highest rung. Hrithik was 'the phenomenon' just after his first film - the blue eyed wonder of the industry. Supremely talented and extremely genial, he made a dent into the Khan bastion in terms of popularity. All the top banners in the industry signed him on for prestigious projects. Abhishek on the other hand was the 'Refugee' on his own home turf. Son of the legendary Bachchans, he struggled to get a foothold in the industry, overwhelmed by the baggage of expectations. Yet, his films may have, but his sincere effort never failed him.
Neither did they for Hrithik, whose dream projects sank like the 'Titanic', one after the other. It was like destiny had decided to play the super fast roller coaster with him. And since his success was so obvious, his failure was glaring. As these two young Turks grappled with
flirtatious fate, they had remained friends in personal life right from their school days. The first time they came together on screen was for Sooraj Barjatya's 'Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon'. In a rather small Bollywood constellation this clash was bound to happen one day, or another. On their career graphs they confronted at an unexpectedly lower level. Hrithik's graph was spiralling downwards rapidly, and Abhishek was at an abysmal low, given his present astronomical high rise. And yet, then the
film revolved around Hrithik while Abhi was left rotating around him on a bicycle. The film bombed and dug an even deeper hole for itself.
Rajshri Productions, a banner that was only used to super hits had landed a super-dud. That was the final straw for Hrithik, while a tough lesson for both to learn. And they proved themselves to be good learners, albeit with one difference. If Abhi was a fast learner; Hrithik was slow, understandably since his fall was bigger. Hrithik became extra cautious about the work he took on. After all, he was let down by the best in the business. He only trusted his father, Rakesh Roshan who gave him his sensational debut 'KNPH'. And their extra terrestrial turn 'Koi Mil Gaya' helped Hrithik gain back some lost ground, but we would now shift into an exclusive mode a la Aamir Khan.
Abhishek on the other hand happened to become more accessible to filmmakers, and appeared more relaxed. No one ever doubted his talent. Only he was over burdened by expectations, and bogged down by a larger than life shadow looming over him. He walked out of it, tall, the best way he could with a mind-blowing performance in Mani Ratnam's 'Yuva'. The critical acclaim was followed by the super cool look and red-hot success in 'Dhoom'. With 'Bunty Aur Babli' and 'Sarkar' soon following, both hits had Abhishek in extremely diverse roles; an answer to his critics, Abhi was on a roll. Masses swooned for the guy they had always wanted to adore. His success through the hard toil seemed like a natural progression.
Yashraj's 'Dhoom' was a very important step in Abhishek's giant stride. And to capitalize on the film's success the production planned a sequel. However, the original bad guy, John Abraham, who roared his way to far reaching popularity with 'Dhoom', was to be replaced.
And you needed someone very special to do that. Aditya Chopra and Director Sanjay Gadhvi thought big and approached hard-to-please-with scripts Hrithik Roshan. Hrithik who was doing his own 'Koi Mil Gaya' sequel 'Krissh', accepted gleefully. In fact, 'Dhoom II' was the only film besides Ashutosh Gowarikar's 'Jodha Akbar' that he had said yes to. Of course playing a negative character in Yashraj film's sequel to a highly successful venture must have been motivation enough. But, say insiders that Hrithik was ready to test his mettle against current hot property Abhishek once again. With Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu cast as leading ladies, an interesting ensemble cast was ready to roll for a film that has all the makings of a blockbuster.
However, they would have a hiccup soon after. Since Hrithik was away shooting for 'Krissh' and Ash on her international assignments, the Chopras decided to waste no time and commence shooting with the other lead pair. First schedule with Abhishek-Bipasha, second with Hrithik-Ash, and then third one with all four in order to wrap up the shoot, was the plan of action. Of course not to mention, Uday Chopra was to be an integral part of every schedule. Accordingly Abhishek and Bipasha began shooting for the film in Delhi and the studios of Mumbai. Soon Hrithik was to return from his South Eastern sojourn for 'Krissh', and Ash from her western travails; and the twain would meet in amchi Mumbai.
As the first schedule wrapped up, the producers and the director were very pleased with the result. Now they would work on the premium pairing of Hrithik and Ash that one had so longed to see. Ash in a two-piece suit or not, didn't turn out to be a problem. Only when the director met up with the Roshan to work out last minute details and suggestions if any, that he ran into trouble. Normally a perfectionist Hrithik, who likes to get just about everything right for himself on screen, didn't care much for his own part.
Say insiders that he was more concerned about how Abhishek had faired in his schedule so far. He apparently asked the director if he could see the rushes of what had been canned. After all, since the director had already worked with Abhishek, he had a reason to worry. And now that Abhishek is almost a blank cheque at the box-office, Hrithik believed that his Producers would also encash their Ace, who was Abhishek. While all these thoughts might have clouded Hrithik, director Gadhvi was almost stumped by is hero's request. Says a source, "Hrithik was very competitive. He wanted to know everything Abhishek was doing in the film."
And as the shooting date drew nearer, Hrithik's umpteen suggestions and extra wariness started to get the director nervous. However, the professional that he is, Hrithik did report on the sets and is said to have given better than his best, in the right spirit. Yet, there is a word doing rounds that he had to be soothed by the producers' promise of fair deal. His bout of paranoia and insecurity can surely be forgotten as every other human failing. But if this is a sign of things to come, we reckon 'Dhoom – II' would be creating 'Dhoom' and more. May the best man win!
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