Apart from acting, Roshan is a stage performer and playback singer. He endorses several brands and products, has also featured as the host of the reality Just Dance, and has launched his own line of clothing.
Hrithik’s maternal grandfather, the producer-director J. Om Prakash, first brought Roshan on-screen at age 6 in the film Aasha (1980), by secretly having his camera crew film without his knowledge as he danced spontaneously. What followed over the next several years is what adult Hrithik describes as his childhood “lucky mascot” period: iny one- or two-shot uncredited appearances in various of his family’s film projects, where his only task was to have fun and supposedly bring luck to the movie. He was seen in the song “Ram Kare Allah Kare” in his father Rakesh Roshan‘s production Aap Ke Deewane (1980). In his grandfather J. Om Prakash’s Aas Paas (1981), he passes a love note fromDharmendra to Hema Malini during the song “Shehar Main Charchi Hai”. Roshan’s only speaking role in this period came about at age 11–12 was as Govinda, the title character’s adopted son in director J. Om Prakash’s Bhagwan Dada (1986).
After completing school and college, Roshan turned down a Master’s degree scholarship for further study in the United States, to concentrate instead on film. To learn filmmaking from the ground up—he started off sweeping floors, then gradually progressed to more demanding responsibilities like story development, camera work, direction, and editing; he assisted his father, director Rakesh Roshan on several films, including Khel (1992) and Koyla (1997).
On 14 January 2000, Roshan made his film debut as leading man in the romantic drama Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai opposite another débutante, actress Amisha Patel. The film, which was directed by his father Rakesh Roshan and saw him playing a double role, proved to be very successful at the box office and was proclaimed a blockbuster. With a revenue of ₹620 million (US$9.3 million) the feature became the highest grossing film in India for year 2000. The film won several awards and Roshan’s performance was extremely well-received; the film made him a star overnight.The Hindu called Roshan, “A perfect professional” while India Today‘s feature cover story in March 2000 compared him favourably to the industry-reigning “Khan” triumvirate before concluding: “Finally you have an actor who is also a star.” Hrithik eventually received both the 2001Filmfare Best Male Debut Award and the Filmfare Best Actor Award for his double-performance in Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai (2000).
Roshan was next seen in Khalid Mohammed‘s Fiza, portraying an innocent Muslim boy who becomes a terrorist after the Bombay Riots between Hindus and Muslims in 1992–93. The film was moderately successful at the box-office and Roshan’s performance was much praised, earning him a second nomination for Best Actor at the Filmfare ceremony. Critic Taran Adarsh noted, “The mainstay of the film is undoubtedly Hrithik Roshan. His body language, his diction, his expressions, his overall persona deserves great praise. With this film, Hrithik proves that there is more to him than just being a fashionable rage, a Mills & Boon lover-boy and a sex symbol. His talent comes to the fore in several scenes, especially those with Karisma. All said and done, the show belongs to Hrithik, who saves Fiza to a major extent. A brilliant performance undoubtedly!” Roshan’s last release of 2000 – director Vidhu Vinod Chopra‘s Mission Kashmir with Sanjay Dutt, Preity Zinta, and Jackie Shroff – became the third-highest grossing film of the year.Roshan’s performance, as a young man traumatised by the discovery that his adoptive father had been responsible for the death of his entire birth family, was well received.
All these achievements established Roshan as one of the most prominent stars in the Hindi film industry and the Indian media called it “Hrithikmania”.
Subhash Ghai‘s Yaadein was his first release in 2001, a straightforward romantic drama which for the first time paired him with Kareena Kapoor and also reunited him with veteran lead actor Jackie Shroff from Mission Kashmir. Despite major hype surrounding the film, Yaadein failed to do well critically and commercially within the Indian domestic market. Roshan next co-starred in director-producer Karan Johar‘s mammoth reaffirmation of traditional family values amid the global Indian diaspora – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham – which became the second-highest grossing film of 2001 and the highest grossing film overseas at that time.
It was at this stage in his career that one magazine’s cover famously described him as “Finished”, which Hrithik took forward as motivation to change his approach toward signing projects.
2003–2010: Koi… Mil Gaya and other roles
During a television appearance on Koffee With Karan with director-producer Karan Johar, Hrithik Roshan explained his decision to break from industry standard practice (overlapping film shoots) to focus his art on one single film at a time.
Consequently, Roshan appeared in Koi… Mil Gaya, India’s first successful alien science fiction movie, which saw Roshan portraying a mentally disabled young man named Rohit Mehra who befriends an alien who had been stranded on Earth. The film earned ₹800 million (US$12 million) and proved the highest-grossing and most critically successful Hindi movie of the year. It won several awards, including 2003 National Film Awards for “Best Film on Other Social Issues”, “Best Special Effects”, and “Best Choreography” as well as many of the 2004 Filmfare awards including among others “Best Film”. Roshan won his second Filmfare Award for Best Actor and his first Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his portrayal.Taran Adarsh noted, “Hrithik Roshan dominates the show and packs in a power-packed performance. The role of a mentally challenged person is no cakewalk, but the actor takes to it like a fish takes to water. He manages to pull off the zero to hero routine exceptionally well. As an actor, he scales dizzier heights with this splendid performance.” Roshan’s performance in Koi… Mil Gaya was later included in the 2010 issue of the “Top 80 Iconic Performances” by Filmfare magazine.