Mumbai | His blockbuster debut "Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai" was behind him and the road ahead stretched uncertain for its star Hrithik Roshan as he tried to keep up with audience expectations. That was when “Koi... Mil Gaya” came along, an idea he says excited him instantly and helped “break the loop” he was caught in.
Twenty years after the release of the film, centred around a friendly alien, broke new ground in Hindi cinema, Hrithik recalls in detail how it turned his career around when he was in a lean phase and wondering what lay next.
"When my father shared the idea of 'Koi...Mil Gaya', it excited me instantly. It had all the elements that motivated me as an actor. I felt a sense of purpose when I read the script, because here the script was the star, not me. Realising that gave me a sense of freedom. I was finally breaking the loop and nourishing the desires of the actor within me," Hrithik told PTI.
He said the film, aimed at children and adults alike, gave Indian storytellers hope to view "sci-fi as a genre that was commercially viable in India".
Directed by veteran filmmaker-actor Rakesh Roshan, "Koi... Mil Gaya" released on August 8, 2003, three years after he made "Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai", his son's debut film.
"'Koi...Mil Gaya' won me over and being part of this film was a wholehearted decision. After 'Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai', I had put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up with all the expectations people and the audience had. It was my overthinking mind that was driving my career. I found myself in a loop," Hrithik said.
‘'Koi...Mil Gaya” revolved around Rohit Mehra (Hrithik), a developmentally challenged young man, and his chance encounter with an alien called Jaadoo who gives him powers. Also starring Preity G Zinta and Rekha, it was an instant box office success.
Hrithik also acted alongside then child actors Hansika Motwani, Omkar Purohit, Jai Choksi, Mohit Makkad and Pranita Bishnoi.
The 49-year-old star said the film was created as a community experience and its success was a result of the team effort.
"‘Koi...Mil Gaya' was a movie made for kids and families to have a community experience. The concept was very fresh... Once the film was released, it spoke to the audience at an emotional level, with the mother - son track, Rohit and Nisha's (Preity) pure friendship, the child artists and Johnny Lever's quirky part... It all added up and contributed to the film's success," he said.
Rakesh Roshan roped in Australian artists James Callner and Lara Denman to create Jaadoo and there was minimal use of VFX in the rest of the film.
According to Hrithik, the team would take close to six hours to shoot scenes featuring the alien, which was an animatronic character (an electro-mechanical puppet), operated via remote control.
"During the shoot, we would often take four to six hours for the scenes featuring Jaadoo as his eyes and hands needed to be in perfect sync with the situation. We all had to be patient and it was all a part of teamwork to get each scene right," the actor recalled.
The love "Koi... Mil Gaya" received motivated Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik to take the story forward as a film franchise with "Krrish" (2006) and "Krrish 3" (2013).
There has been a lot of speculation around the upcoming installment.
"We are taking this franchise forward responsibly. There is a lot of hard work ongoing to ensure the franchise is at par with global standards," he added