Hero. Superhero. Thief. Villian. King. Terrorist. Quadriplegic.
And come this weekend, blind too in Kaabil.
Let me say something that I have been saying for years: I do not believe Hrithik Roshan has lived up to his true potential.
Watching him from his first movie onwards, it seemed a given to so many that this was the rare Bollywood talent who could have struck gold had he moved to Hollywood. Watch the best movies of his and you can see a man dedicated to the intricacies of his character, never just phoning it in or resting on his superstar status. He makes the extra effort; if anything, he has been guilty of overdoing it at times. And when combined with terrible movies, that earnestness can be disastrous, sadly. (Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon... oh God. Why, Hrithik, why?)
When the time comes to sift through his filmography, you will be stunned by how few movies there really have been in this 17 year career (not including his assistant director or child actor phase). That is sad for me. Because I truly feel that with the right director and script, he is capable of being the best in the business even today.
So in a career that spans less than 25 movies till date, which are the best movies of Hrithik?
Worth a Watch
FizaA sister whose brother disappeared during the Bombay riots of 1993 looks to gain closure by finding out what happened to him. Her worst fears come true when she finds out that he is now a member of a terrorist group.
My two cents - This was primarily a film showcasing Karisma Kapoor's skills as a competent actress but a young Hrithik still was extremely impressive in a role filled to the brim with emotional conflict. Lovely songs too, FYI.
KitesA dance teacher who helps immigrants get a green card into USA by 'marrying them' is set on marrying a rich woman for money when he finds himself falling for her violent brother's beautiful Mexican fiance, a woman he had helped acquire a green card earlier.
My two cents - I like it but I wanted to like it more. Anurag Basu does well as a director, the Hrithik-Barbara Mori chemistry is a spicy tamale and cinematography was top notch. But yet...
Keeps You Hooked
Koi Mil GayaA young mentally disabled adult (Rohit), bullied & pitied by all around him, inadvertently restarts his late father's device to summon extraterrestrial life. His encounter with a young alien left behind changes the lives of everyone in the town while attracting the eye of various government agencies.
My two cents - KMG came at the perfect time following a string of average movies in Hrithik's career. The graphics for the alien were some of the best Bollywood had seen, the ET-esque concept was fresh for India and Hrithik played the various 'parts' of his role really well.
KrishhIn the sequel to Koi Mil Gaya, we meet the son of Rohit, blessed with superpowers. Sheltered throughout his life, his love for a woman finally takes him out of India where revealing his abilities makes him a marked target.
My two cents - Pretty decent for a sequel though not great. Has a nice twist that many did not see coming so bonus points for that.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhi GhamAn 'everything-but-the-kitchen-sink' level Indian family drama, it revolves around the lives of a wealthy family who break up over misunderstandings that arise when the elder son marries a poor girl.
My two cents - Yes. I know how hokey that premise sounds. But this is Karan Johar and Yashraj at the helm with a star cast where Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan share screen space with Shah Rukh & Hrithik, Kajol & Kareena. It is long, rich, fancy, melodramatic, makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you fall in love but above all else, is total entertainment.
Dhoom 2In the sequel to the hugely successful 'Dhoom', officers Jai & Ali find themselves up against a master thief, Mr A, who has some truly ingenious methods for getting what he wants.
My two cents - Big budget. Lots of action sequences. Lots of humour. Some romance. Peppy songs. This movie had it all. Yes, it is Bollywood fare but it is immensely fun Bollywood fare!
GuzaarishA radio jockey (a quadriplegic ex-magician) who spreads hope and laughter to listeners seeks to legally end his life, tired of his condition.
My two cents - While he is brilliant in this role and the movie does a decent job of dealing with the tricky topic of euthanasia, the 'larger than life' Sanjay Leela Bhansali aspect of everything from the house to people's emotions takes away a few marks for me.
Kaho Naa... Pyaar HaiA young couple's love story appears to be tragically cut short until the grieving girl finds herself in a different corner of the world staring at someone who looks exactly like her old lover once more.
Mission KashmirA young Kashmiri child Althaf adopted by the police officers who accidentally killed his parents seeks revenge once he realizes the truth.
My two cents - His third film. And in my opinion, the most underrated in his career. Mission Kashmir is awesome at many levels: it showcases the beauty and tragedy of Kashmir; it is director Vidhu Vinod Chopra at his best; the interplay between the leads (Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik, Sonali Kulkarni, Preity Zinta and a very creepy Jackie Shroff) is excellent and there are plenty of deep heartfelt messages embedded within.
Zindagi Na Milegi DobaraThree childhood friends plan a bachelor trip to Spain, a journey that is filled with secrets & happiness and ends up changing each of their lives.
My two cents - When it comes to 'coming-of-age' stories, you really can't do better than the brother-sister duo of Farhan & Zoya Akhthar. This movie is a must-watch for probably everyone in this generation. Hrithik gets the lion's share of the pie, his workaholic, self-sabotaging life completely disrupted by the presence of his friends, a mysterious woman and even a journey to the bottom of the ocean. Well acted, sincere without unwanted melodrama or moralizing, this is a true masterpiece.
AgneepathThe remake of the 1990 Amitabh Bachchan hit features Hrithik as the iconic Vijay Deenanath Chauhan, a man forced to embrace violence when he finds his father's teachings of compassion are futile.
My two cents - While it takes the bare bones from the original, this is that rare thing - a brilliantly done remake. It is dark and violent and holds nothing back. Hrithik 'on-the-edge' is as good as you can imagine and you find yourself gritting your teeth with him as he schemes and bleeds. Sanjay Dutt as Kancha... damn! I still don't know how he bulked up for this role but Hrithik looked puny next to him. And Rishi Kapoor in his first villainous role as the child-trafficker Rauf Lala made you genuinely cringe. This movie had some truly memorable cinematography and songs and even made superb use of some of the original movie's dialogues (I am thinking of Hrithik finally introducing himself using his full name)
Jodha AkbarThe eternal love story gets a beautiful retelling as we watch the Mughal emperor Akbar meet his match following his betrothal to the fiery Rajput princess, Jodha, an alliance of convenience between two kingdoms that does not sit well with Jodha as well as certain members of her family.
My two cents - Ashutosh Gowariker in his element (as opposed to the debacle of 2016's Mohenja Daro) can weave a tale almost poetically. With some hauntingly beautiful tunes by A R Rahman, beautiful set designs and wonderful chemistry by the leads, this was a huge hit for Hrithik. And yes, he really did a brilliant job as Akbar.
LakshyaThe journey of an aimless young man who reluctantly joins the army and goes on to play an inspiring role in one of India's most famous wars against Pakistan.
Well, that's my list. What did you think of it? And what do you think of Hrithik as an actor? Do tell. I am all ears.