Veteran actor and filmmaker Rakesh Roshan turns 72 today. His life and career has been full of ups and downs. From a struggling actor, to financial difficulties and battling throat cancer, he still has managed to overcome each hurdle and emerge victorious, something his son Hrithik Roshan respects him deeply for.
In 2006, Rakesh’s son and popular actor Hrithik Roshan and his ex-wife Sussanne Khan appeared for an interview with Simi Garewal, where they spoke about Rakesh Roshan’s financial struggles and how there was a time he was not even able to pay house rent. His mother, Pinky Roshan, had to take him and his sister to her father’s house while his father lived with his mother. “Until the time my dad could earn enough money to buy another house. And then we shifted into another house which was barely just walls and floors. We slept on gaddas, these mats and slowly got the furniture in,” Hrithik said. The actor was 9 at that time.
In 2017, Rakesh Roshan spoke about his struggling days as an actor, and how he just kept ‘trying’, even though he was always the supporting actor in films. Finally, he decided to move into production and filmmaking. “As an actor, I was not that successful but I kept trying. I never moved ahead in my career despite some of my movies doing well. So I started producing films and then moved to direction. Now, when I look back I feel happy. Back then, I had no idea how I will get the money to run my house. I had two children, a wife and a family to look after. But somehow we always managed. Maybe God had a plan for me to become a producer and director,” he said.
Owing to his determination to earn well for his family, he could not give enough time and attention to his children while they were growing up. In an interview to DNA, he once mentioned that Hrithik was ‘closer’ to his mother. “He was always closer to his mom. I was struggling to make my mark at the time, so I could not spend much time with my children. But I would make sure we went for holidays. I would join them just for about three or four days. Growing up may have been tough for them because I could not give them everything as I couldn’t afford it. But I made sure I brought them up really nicely,” Rakesh Roshan had said.
His son Hrithik Roshan, who debuted with his father’s film Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, has seen highs and lows of his career, but has now emerged as one of the most bankable actors in Bollywood, with several hits. In several interviews, Rakesh Roshan has mentioned how proud he is of Hrithik, and that he ‘never flaunted his status’. In 2012, he told Filmfare, “Even when he assisted me, he took a keen interest in filmmaking. He never flaunted his status. He stayed with the unit and not in a five star hotel with us. He has seen my failures. He knows that in the long run it’s only hard work that pays. If you don’t attend a party it won’t matter, but if you don’t deliver it will.”
Rakesh Roshan is also proud of how Hrithik’s fans ‘idolise’ him, and that the actor has worked hard to reach where he is today, despite several stumbles along the way. “He has worked really hard. I failed as an actor. But like any parent, I wanted my son to live my dreams. Hrithik has done the things I could not do in my life. He’s a superstar, he is idolised by so many across the world. But he’s my son and he makes me a proud father. He has had his ups and downs in his career and I feel it should always happen because that’s how he will learn from his mistakes,” he said.
In 2019, Rakesh Roshan was diagnosed with throat cancer. In an interview to Hindustan Times, Hrithik opened up about his battle and how he pushed his father to talk about it. “In my father’s generation, a man was taught that masculinity meant being a rock. That a father is someone who is very strong and never expresses his vulnerability. Tears, we were taught, are feminine. But being a student of life, I have learned that strength does not mean the absence of tears. I realised that my dad had held way too much inside of him and I felt it was unhealthy.”
Hrithik Roshan has worked with his father on films such as Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish and Krrish 3. The duo are also working on the next Krrish film together.