Hrithik Roshan was last among over a dozen international stars to regale guests with career highlights and insights during an 'In Conversation' event at this year's Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
During the 10-day festival, other stars to attend Red Sea Mall's Vox Cinema for the intimate session included: Spike Lee, Sharon Stone, Guy Ritchie, Jackie Chan, Gurinder Chadha, Akshay Kumar and Ranbir Kapoor.
Hailed as the 'Greek God of Bollywood', Roshan buffeted through throngs of fans fortunate to have secured a ticket to the coveted event, before the megastar sat down to discuss the shifting landscape of Indian cinema and his prospects of working in Hollywood.
When host Raya Abi Rached asked the actor about his thoughts on how Bollywood and Indian cinema has evolved over the last 10 years, Roshan insisted the industry has “evolved for the better in so many ways“.
“That is a process of evolution -- we are only going to progress and we are only going to get better, and if we don't, nature will make sure that you do, he began.
“Now, the Indian film industry is going through a phase of recalibration, because things are changing, and how wonderful is that? He continued, “I hear people being disillusioned and I'm the opposite [...] there is a shift and that makes me very curious.“
Roshan highlighted how curiosity is one of his major drivers in life and is “very fortunate“ to be an actor at this time.
“I have seen what Indian cinema was in the 2000's when my first film [Kaho Naa Pyar Hai] released, and majority of films had a formula to it... there were some ingredients, it was like a recipe, then slowly the recipe just went out of the window.“
The actor noted how the pandemic has also marked a shift in the general filmmaking zeitgeist.
“Cinema now is far more real, because I think the collective consciousness of people as a society is growing. The pandemic - has made - may I say such a beautiful change in all of us. We are far more compassionate, understanding, understood and I think that has changed our perception and view of what our entertainment should be like.
“We are not going to be fooled anymore, we understand a lot more now. So the content is changing, and we are asking for something better and that better will come.
Asked whether there is a director in Hollywood he would like to work with, Roshan said: “I don't have any favourites, it could be anyone with a great idea, with a great express that they've been able to express on paper. It doesn't depend on geography, I look for scripts that have come from a place of true passion, imagination and depth.“
One of the actor's first memories of cinema is watching Steven Spielberg’s E.T. and Christopher Reeve as Superman on VHS. “I went crazy about those films! I’m a big fan of cinema, I love big cinema, I love arthouse, all kinds. I’m a very good student of cinema.”
Roshan will next be seen in action epic Fighter, scheduled for release in January, 2024.