Video: Hitesh Harisinghani
Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan almost missed appearing in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish (watch the trailer here).
It was revealed at the film's music launch in Mumbai on Wednesday, where Amitabh Bachchan was the guest of honour, that Hrithik was all set to say no to Bhansali when he arrived to narrate the story of a quadriplegic patient.
"I was all set to say no. But five minutes into the story narration, I knew that I just couldn't say no."
Incidentally, Hrithik has sung a song in the film. But this will not be available in the audio CD. The film's music has been composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
But unlike Hrithik, Aishwarya was ready to do the film without even looking at the script. "I said yes before I even saw the script because of the connection to Sanjay. We have worked in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas -- two films which we truly treasure. We were always connected as friends.
"Sanjay always wanted to present a different Aishwarya to the audience. And that is what he has done in Guzaarish. When I heard the narration of the film, I felt this film must be made," she added.
'Guzaarish was only possible if Hrithik and Aishwarya acted in it'Image: Guzaarish music launch
Guzaarish will be Hrithik and Aishwarya's third film together after Dhoom 2 and Jodhaa Akbar.
The film tells the story of Ethan (Hrithik), a magician who meets with an accident and becomes paralyzed. Sofia (Aishwarya), a nurse, then takes care of him.
This is Hrithik's first film with Bhansali.
Asked why he wanted to be a part of a film where he's restricted to a chair, Hrithik replied, "I have played superheroes before. But I feel my character in Guzaarish is the biggest superhero. I learnt how to live life after playing this role. This film will make you smile and give you courage."
While admitting that mercy killing forms an important chapter in the film, Hrithik said the film is not just about that. "The film is about smiling your way through troubles. It is the story of a man, who never gave up. Trying to explain Guzaarish is very difficult. It is like trying to define the beauty of nature around us, or defining birth and death."
"This film was only possible if Hrithik and Aishwarya had acted in it," Bhansali said. "If these two had said no, I wouldn't have made the film.
"The title track of Guzaarish was in my mind from the time I made Black," he added. "Such ideas don't leave your mind. My musicians and I worked on the music for two years."
The director concluded with a footnote on the film's leading lady who he described as "the most beautiful and talented woman in India. That is why she is such a big star. We have love and respect for each other. We understand each other very well while working. I am very grateful that she did three films with me."