Article Hindi

Initially we were all hesitant to cast Hrithik in Super 30, says Anand Kumar

At a recent media interaction, mathematician Anand Kumar shed light on how he was approached for the film and his inital inhibitions.

Anand Kumar at the Sun 'n' Sand hotel in Juhu, Mumbai

Suyog Zore

Anand Kumar is a well-known mathematician and philanthropist from Bihar who, for the past two decades, has been conducting free classes for poor students aspiring to clear the joint entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Anand Kumar shot to fame countrywide when the Discovery channel aired an hour-long programme on his Super 30 initiative in 2009. Unbeknownst to him, screenwriter Sanjeev Dutta got an idea for a film while watching that documentary.

When Sanjeev Dutta approached Anand Kumar with a proposal for a biopic in 2009, the latter thought it was a prank call. "I wondered why anyone would want to make a movie on a mathematician, hence I stopped responding to his calls. But he did not give up. He called my brother as a journalist and fixed up an appointment for an interview."

Dutta and Anand Kumar had a few meetings thereafter, but nothing came of them. "For some reason it didn't go forward and we all got busy with our own lives," he said.

Three years ago, Sanjeev Dutta called again and asked Anand Kumar to come to Mumbai. "Thankfully I was not busy in that period, so I flew down to meet producer Madhu Mantena," Anand Kumar said.

Hrithik Roshan as Anand Kumar in Super 30

The tutor had a few conditions for the filmmakers which, if they were not fulfilled, he would have refused permission for the biopic. "The director, actor and music director should be of my choice and the script has to go through me, these were the only conditions I had," he said.

Anand Kumar said he did not even want to be paid if these conditions were fulfilled. "Madhuji agreed to all my conditions and the search for a director and actor began. I was introduced to Vikas Bahl. Though I had loved Queen (2014), I did not know then that it had been directed by Vikas Bahl."

Once the director was finalized, the group began looking for the actor to play Anand Kumar.

The group was initially apprehensive of casting Hrithik Roshan in the role. "We all know Hrithikji doesn't look like me at all, and that was the biggest hurdle for us," said Anand Kumar. If we were not 100% convinced, how could we convince the audience that he is Anand Kumar? But as the first reading session was completed, all our doubts were put to rest."

After that initial reading session, Hrithik invited Anand Kumar home. "I remember Hrithik invited me to his home for a discussion. He just wanted to know about my upbringing and my struggles. Then he got so engrossed in the discussion that we chatted for about six hours! He was mesmerized by my stories to such an extent that when he came out to see me off, he forgot to put on his chappals."

Directed by Vikas Bahl, Super 30 will be released on 12 July. The film also features Pankaj Tripathi and Mrunal Thakur in important roles.