Hrithik Roshan and His Lucky Thumb

How one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the new millennium almost didn’t happen.

Hrithik Kaho Naa pyaar hai mesh shirt
Hrithik Roshan as Raj Chopra in 'Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai'

Ishani Nath


July 29, 2022


14 min

When the hit Bollywood romance action movie Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai came out in 2000, two stars were born: Hrithik Roshan and his thumb. 

Written and directed by his father, Rakesh Roshan, Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai introduced audiences to Hrithik in not one, but two roles. In the first half, he plays Rohit, an aspiring singer. In the second half, he is the club-going, mesh-shirt-wearing Raj Chopra, Rohit’s New Zealand-based doppelganger. The film was a box office hit in India and the diaspora, making it into the 2002 Guinness Book of World Records for earning 92 awards, the most of any movie at the time. The film also created Hrithikmania, bringing attention both to his impeccable dancing and the two conjoined thumbs on his right hand.

When Kaho Naa came out, I remember rewinding and pausing our bootleg VHS so my friends and I could catch a glimpse of Hrithik’s rumored double thumb. Given the filmmaker’s concerted effort to keep his right hand in a pocket, turned sideways, behind his back, or otherwise obscured from view, it was no easy feat. Hrithik reportedly considers his extra thumb to be a good luck charm. Looking back on his career, luck certainly seemed to be on his side. When life dealt Hrithik seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could have stopped anyone else from pursuing Bollywood stardom, he persevered and made his own luck.

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