Till the year 2000, he was a follower of Salman Khan, but things changed after the promos of Hrithik Roshan starrer Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai went on air.
“I used to consider Salman as my idol. In fact I wanted to build body just like him. But it were my friends’ comments that changed everything,” says Roopesh M a Hrithik Roshan lookalike.He opens up saying, “I got a lot of calls from my friends asking me if I was making a Bollywood debut opposite Ameesha Patel. I was garbled hearing that, but later I understood that they all were surprisingly confusing me with Hrithik Roshan!”
An avid dancer, Roopesh became familiar with the market of ‘duplicates’ and ‘look-alikes’ in Bollywood. Thus, he channelised all his energies to grooming himself like the Roshan junior for over three years. And thus in 2003, ‘Maharashtra cha Hrithik Roshan’ (Maharashtra’s Hrithik Roshan – the term which he likes addressing himself as) was born. “After replicating the hair do, body language and the look, I first approached a Marathi producer, who liked my performance and made a video CD featuring me along with the other Bollywood lookalikes. It was an instant hit,” says Roopesh who began getting calls from various producers, thanks to the CD, due to which he was getting popularity. And then there was no looking back, from Boogie Woogie, Pehchaan Kaun, Chanda Ka Kanoon, Son Pari to Shaka Laka Boom Boom – it was raining opportunities on Roopesh and he was certainly hogging on all of them.
The ‘Body Double’ act
After being a Hrithik Roshan lookalike and doing gags on the actor by aping him, it was time to graduate. Thus, slowly and steadily he started considering offers which required him to be Hrithik’s body double. “You might have seen the Emami He deodorant advertisement; all the longs shots in the ad feature me. Hrithik had just come for the shoot for 5 minutes to deliver his dialogue rest the ad was majorly shot using a body double and a stuntman, who did all the stunts wearing Hrithik’s costumes,” says the ace dancer who also shot for Hrithik’s Mountain Dew ad as his body double.
Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Mohenjo Daro
Apart from ad films, Roopesh also received film offers, the latest being Mohenjo Daro. “I was offered the period film however I was not too keen on it and therefore turned it down,” he says. Wasn’t it foolish to do away with such a great opportunity? “It may be, but at the end of the day you need to accept the reality and the reality is that today there is hardly any scope for look-alikes and duplicates,” says Roopesh who charges Rupees 25,000 per day for a shoot and has been personally appreciated by Hrithik himself during a reality TV show shoot.
About his career plans he says, “Today I want people to know me by who I am and not as Hrithik’s duplicate. With this being the idea, today I am settled with my own dance school – Nakshatra Modern At and Dance Academy – and also teach dance at several schools in Mumbai. I want to continue doing that and want people to know me as a great dancer.”
Roopesh is seriously working towering achieving his goals. In fact he also represented India internationally as a dancer. He says, “In 2013 I went to Moscow to be a part of World Dance Olympiad and in 2014 I went to Bulgaria as a Bollywood international judge.”
Before signing off, he also reveals that he is a national voice over artist and has given voice for several cartoons and ad films.