Utpal Borpujari

May 26, 2009

Walking on the Croisette with Hrithik

By Utpal Borpujari in Cannes

There is a sudden squeal by a few French girls standing outside the high-profile Martinez Hotel as part of the crowd waiting for a glimpse of the stars.

They had spotted the Indian superstar Hrithik Roshan. Others waiting there, for a glimpse of Hollywood biggies, give them a surprised look, wondering who this athletic guy with a fresh designer beard and dressed in a white T and blue jeans could be.

The girls request for a photograph with him, and he readily obliges before walking on to the Croisette.

What Roshan, who is here to promote his first international film Kites, does next is something he can never do in India, or in parts of the world where there are large Indian and South Asian populations. And no, there are no beefcake bodyguards to protect him from clawing fans or any other such danger.

He starts walking on the Croisette, with Kites director Anurag Basu probably a dozen steps ahead. On the way, a few people stop him, requesting for autographs or photograpsh, and he obliges them all with a polite smile, his eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses.

But largely, he seems to be enjoying the anonymity here that allows him to take a walk on the footpaths along the Croisette.

We say a hello to him, and ask him how it feels to be able to walk so freely, without being mobbed. Probably his subconscious asking him to be reserved while talking to an Indian journalist, even if it is in Cannes and what with the increasing number of gossip of all kinds about film stars like him in the Indian media, he seems careful while having the conversation.

We walk towards the Carlton Hotel, the most high-profile hotel here, now dressed to its best and adorned with promos of upcoming big Hollywood projects, and Roshan talks about “Kites”.

“We are trying to do something at an international level, and we have given our best. Now it is up to the viewers to decide how they treat it,” he says. The film, costarring Mexican model Barbara Mori, will be released soon globally.

After a while, Hrithik decides to go back, but he is stopped by Jayson, a young Greek living amidst the Asian community in Manchester in the UK. He is carrying quite a few photographs from “Dhoom 2”, and requests Hrithik to autograph them.

“You know, I watch a lot of Bollywood films and all my friends are crazy about you. When they got to know I was visiting Cannes, they asked me to get your autograph on these if I meet you,” he tells Hrithik.

Hrithik suddenly becomes a bit nostalgic. “You know, the last time I was here at Cannes was when I was 21. I was not even an actor then, and I had come with my grandfather (J Om Prakash) who was the Film Federation of India president then,” he says, before bidding us goodbye. 

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 17-05-2009)


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