I have been watching Hrithik Roshan on youtube since the last fortnight. Initially I just saw his dance performances which were awesome. Then I searched for Hrithik Roshan interview to see how he manages his speech.Watching him speak has been just like meditation for me. So much wisdom and reassurance from this man. The following are my observations.
Some of the weaknesses Hrithik has faced in his life:-
(1). Hrithik had a severe stutter during his childhood.
(2). Hrithik had a severe condition of spinal cord(scoliosis-curved spinal cord) which was diagnosed when he was 21 years old-and doctors had warned him against becoming an actor as he would have to do action and dance scenes and he may end up being on a wheel-chair for the rest of his life.Hrithik does physiotherapy exercises for his spinal cord issue till this day.
(3). Hrithik has a bad condition of knee(left leg), which hurt a lot. During the shooting of "Guzaarish" movie( year 2010) , he was bed ridden and doctors had adviced him that the condition of his left knee was like that of a very old person and his knee would hardly last for one year or so.
Coming to stammering,things Hrithik does for his stammering :- meditation , one hour of practice daily.
While watching him give interviews since his debut in 2000 to present times, I have noticed that there is a marked shift in his approach.
In his earliest interviews about 15 years back, you find him stutter rarely. He used to avoid stuttering as much as possible during his interviews. At present you find him use helping sounds , bouncing , repetitions, substitutions , prolongation during his interview. He seems relaxed and at ease now-he has learnt to "let go".
At times he repeats the word or a few words of the sentence and then moves to next word/sentence. I can compare it to the following hypothetical situation:- Suppose you are going to jump across a deep pit and all of a sudden you experience lack of confidence just before the deep pit. You stop- retrieve a few steps and then take a leap of faith. This is what Hrithik does when he uses repetition during an interview.
There is some difference between his approach when he has to speak in an interview and when he has to address a large gathering over the mic.
During interviews he uses helping sounds , bouncing , repetitions, substitutions , soft starts,prolongations...He rarely faces blocks during interviews.
During address to a large gathering of people he speaks a bit louder than normal and uses prolongation in a subtle way .
Hrithik is very well read and has a huge vocabulary of english words. He uses substitution for the difficult words during interviews. Also sometimes the interviewer tries to finish his sentence when he seems to be stuck. But he rarely gets annoyed with the interviewer. He uses smile generously during his interviews which I think helps him relax during speech.During interviews in Hindi , he uses "Hinglish"- a few words of hindi interspersed between mostly english words. This I think is due to the fact that he would have taken his speech therapy in english and so is more comfortable with english.
His dressing sense is impeccable. He always tries to put his best look forward. He pays attention to his looks and body-building as much as possible.
Things I have learnt from Hrithik:-
(1) Grammar is not that important as it is made out to be. The important thing is to communicate effectively. Also "Hinglish" is cool . Animals do not use a perfect grammatical language to communicate , yet they can communicate amongst themselves very effectively.
(2) Its important to explore your potentials beyond thinking about cure of stammering all the time and wasting your precious moments of life. Hrithik has worked on his looks, dressing sense,body-building and acting skills along with speech-therapy.He is not an "ex-stammerer". Yet he is more successful than many others. Also he has a huge fan base among people - belonging to all segments across age , sex and nationality.
(3) Its important to speak out what you actually intend to, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem in the beginning. During interviews Hrithik makes sure to put across his views in its entirety.
(4) Its ok to pamper yourself . Its important to give yourself the respect you deserve.Its important to check the constant chatter of your mind that " You are not good enough to do such and such thing because you stutter".
All through my life I have tried to dress as simply as possible, so that I may be hardly noticed and so people may not ask questions and I wont have to speak. I always wished to wear those cool looking goggles . But I never did until I crossed the age of 30. Still I wear them only during riding my bike .I take them off just after I get down from my bike. I had always this fear at the back of my mind- "what if I wear colourful dress complemented with a pair of sunglasses and stammer while speaking. Wont the listener think-" दो शब्द ठीक से बोलने तो आता नहीं है, और चला है स्टाइल मारने !"
Now I understand- I can dress-up as I please to make myself happy, and not to impress others. And I do not need anyone's approval to do so- not even my self-criticising-chattering mind.
(5) Hrithik has a double-thumb on his right hand and in the beginning of his career he used to hide it from camera as much as possible. But now he flaunts it openly- right from the times of movie "koi mil gaya". In fact you can see his pics which show him holding his mobile or a favourite book in his right hand - as if using it as a signature that it is Hrithik. You need not see his face-just by looking at his hand you know its him.
I also have a deep injury mark across my left hand's wrist and I tend to hide it as much as possible. I rarely wear t-shirts and when I do- I try to hide the injury mark by wearing a watch across it.I have felt ashamed of this hand in spite of the fact that it has made my body whole. It has served me to the best of its ability in all possible ways it could. So its time to open up-give it the love it deserves and be free.
A few inspirational quotes of Hrithik which I loved:-
1.) "You can either say I can or you can say I cant. You are right at both times"
2) ." I have become a star not in spite of my weaknesses, but due to them"
3.) "Doctors said that I had a spinal cord problem and I may end up on a wheel-chair for the rest of my life if I attempted action or dance scenes. I decided that since being an actor is my dream-so I should try to become an actor, even if I die trying. We have only one life"
4). Hrithik's statement during unveiling of his statue at Madame Tussauds London
"This (statue) is almost like a symbol of all the millions , countless little-little failures that I have encountered in my life- and learned to rise above.So hopefully someday when my children grow up, and they feel defeated, and they feel tired, and they feel like they failed-they look at this(statue) and know that their father was there, had been there- and he went on. So in my own little way if I can spread that kind of positivity to teach our children that do not be afraid of failing. Do not be afraid of your weaknesses , of your struggles, of your miseries. Your miseries are eventually going to become the wind beneath your wings. They are going to make you fly one day. You know-the best love story that you can ever have is the one with life itself. You know life-its dark its dusty- its bright its beaultiful- romance it. Make it the best love story of your life." And he used bouncing technique when he needed during the above statement :-)
5). "May our children never fear to dream the impossible. Because if I can get this far, impossible is nothing . "
Hrithik tries to behave the same way with everyone- be it a common man or a millionaire.
You can have better actors than Hrithik, better dancers than Hrithik, better looking heroes than Hrithik, actors having better body than Hrithik - but its very hard to better him as he has this lethal combination of good acting skills , great looks , great body and excellent dancing. Moreover his spirit, his "never say die" attitude, and above all his giant heart-are an extremely rare combination.