We catch up with Hrithik Roshan’s acting coach in a special Q&A, as one of the most eagerly anticipated launches of the year opens today…and our interviewee also reveals a personal connection to another Bollywood star in Rajkummar Rao…
By Tatiana Rosenstein
‘FIGHTER’ – the Bollywood action film that has been compared to Tom Cruise’s ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ got a worldwide release today (January 25) just a day ahead of India’s Republic Day – which is a public holiday and will see fans flock to cinemas over this weekend.
The film boasts a star-studded cast featuring Bollywood luminaries, Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, and Akshay Oberoi.
Drawing parallels with the iconic’ Top Gun‘ featuring Tom Cruise, ‘Fighter‘ the Indian version draws on a fictional cadre of elite Indian Air Force aviators, the ‘Air Dragons’ facing imminent danger.
Crafted under the watchful eye of director Siddharth Anand and a team of accomplished writers, the screenplay promises a cinematic feast hopes to blend heart-stopping action with a compelling storyline. www.asianculturevulture.com has not seen the film.
Much has been made of the technical brilliance of the production crew: cinematographer Satchith Paulose, editor Aarif Sheikh, stunt choreographer Se-yeong Oh, and action director Sunil Rodrigues. Much of the preview press has focused on a visually stunning experience for audiences.
The commitment of lead actors, particularly Roshan, adds an authentic touch to the film, his many admirers believe.
Roshan’s dedication to his role as an air force officer involved intensive training, including a 12-week simulator programme and hands-on experience at an airbase at the Air Force training academy in Telangana.
Amidst the excitement surrounding ‘Fighter’ Vinod Rawat – renowned for his directorial work in TV series like ‘Aarya’ and his coaching of megastars such as Hrithik Roshan.
Recently, Rawat presented his personal project, the first feature film ‘Pushtaini‘ (‘Ancestral‘) offering exclusive insights into his journey in the film industry.
His first feature is a drama about a struggling Bollywood actor who is forced to return home following a scandal and faces demons, both real and imaginary, as he travels across the Himalayas.
In an exclusive interview Rawat delved into the intricacies of his career and experiences, shedding light on his perspective as both a director and a coach.
www.asianculturevulture.com (ACV): You’re renowned for coaching megastars like Hrithik Roshan. How did your journey in the film industry lead you to this point?
Vinod Rawat (VR): My journey has been a multifaceted one. After graduating from the Film and Television Institute (FTII) in Pune and gaining stage experience in Delhi, I worked as a casting director and conducted numerous acting workshops, collaborating with celebrities like Hrithik Roshan and Sushmita Sen. However, if I go way back, it all began with Rajkummar Rao, a good friend of mine.
We did theatre together in Delhi and he left first to study at FTII Pune. Eventually, he convinced me to join him, and it was because of him that I filled out my application form and passed the entrance exams.
ACV: Is it true, that your recent feature film debut includes his performance and that you did not pay him for it?
VR: When I was working on my script to ‘Ancestral’, Rajkummar was the first to get wind of it. I did not ask him to be in my film; the suggestion came from him. It is just a minor role he took on, but he showed a huge support. Afterwards, I naturally wanted to compensate him for his work. But he said, “Just give me three hugs!”. Which I duly did.
ACV: Back to coaching, how did you start collaborating with Hrithik Roshan?
VR: I remember exactly how we started to work together. Hrithik was shooting his first series for cable television, and I was his coach on set. The take he did was okay, and Hrithik was satisfied. But I said, “Let’s do another take”. He wondered, “Why? It’s already perfect as it is”. But I meant, “You’re satisfied, but let’s just try the second take and consider it as an option.” He did, and when he compared both takes, it made him reflect. In the end, he found the second take better.
ACV: Why would someone like Hrithik Roshan need a coach?
VR: Coaching extends beyond technical aspects; it’s a continuous exploration. Many things that actors do tend to become repetitive. The process can turn into a habit. In the creative process, a habit is not a good thing. There are many methods to play the same scene, and many actors just follow their usual routine. Hrithik is a personality who constantly seeks improvement. He’s a superstar, and theoretically, he doesn’t need acting training any more. However, he is an explorer. He always wants more; he wants to grow. My coaching is like a second opinion, offering alternative perspectives and encouraging him to explore different facets of his performance.
ACV: Looking ahead, what can we expect from Vinod Rawat in the future?
VR: I plan to explore various paths, directing films like ‘Ancestral’ that delve into interpersonal relationships. Additionally, I aim to focus more on acting, combining my training and experiences to contribute to diverse creative endeavors in the industry. And I will continue with coaching, which is also an enriching and fun experience, as I believe that coaching also as the best way to learn.