Rakesh Roshan: Knew I had cancer before test


A little over two years ago, Rakesh Roshan was diagnosed with the big C. On World Cancer Day today, we spoke to him about his fight with the deadly disease. Roshan senior started off by saying, “I knew I had cancer even before I went to test for it.”
It all began towards the end of 2018 when Rakesh Roshan got a blister under his tongue and despite medication it remained as it was. “It was not giving me any trouble- no pain, no burn, nothing. I don’t know why but I had a gut feeling that such an obstinate blister can only be cancer. I told my gut feeling even to the doctor.” The ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ director, who was hence sort of prepared, says that he didn’t go into a shell, “It didn’t disturb me mentally. I took it bravely. It was- yes, I have cancer and I have to correct my health problem.”
The next stage was to look for a doctor to consult. “I decided on Sloan Kettering’s top oncologist Dr Jatin Shah; he flew down to India and did a surgery. I was quite okay on the second day itself after hospitalisation. After that, my chemotherapy and radiation sessions began. I underwent 3 chemo sessions at a gap of 3 weeks each and 45 days of radiation therapy,” shares the filmmaker.
Rakesh Roshan says that he was found to be physically so fit that the chemotherapy given to him was a double-strength dose. “The team of doctors treating me said that I would be able to take it. They had done all the required tests and felt that I would have no problem. And touch wood, it turned out to be just as smooth as they had said.” However, the radiation regime had an adverse effect on Rakesh Roshan’s taste buds for about 6 to 8 months. “My sense of taste changed drastically. Sometimes I felt there was too much salt in the food. Sometimes I felt there was lots of sugar in the food.”

After the chemo and radiation sittings were done, Rakesh Roshan’s cancer-related medicines were stopped. “I must tell you though that I had lost 12 kg in 3 months sometime around March 2019 and I felt very tired when I walked. But I pushed myself.” Continues Hrithik’s father, “Slowly but surely, I started enjoying my food as I regained my sense of taste,” adding, “You see, I took my cancer head-on. I never sat at home. I have gone to the office after undergoing a chemotherapy session. I never confined myself to bed. I never felt nervous. This ailment has to be fought with a very strong mind. The victory had to come with the mind triumphing over matter. Thankfully, I have a strong mind and I don’t let any jerks in life get the better of me.”

Add this to Rakesh Roshan’s new lifestyle and you know he’s on the right track. “Of course, I have become disciplined in my lifestyle. I follow the diet that has been advised. I am particular about my tests as well. I do a PET scan every 6 months, which is meant to determine if cancer has recurred or spread,” he adds.

Has Roshan senior started walking more now? How often does he hit his gym, which he has in his Palazzo residence itself? Pat comes the reply, “Now, I walk about an hour every day on my terrace. And I do all the exercises I was doing before cancer, which takes another hour.” All said and done, the ‘Krrish’ filmmaker still has one weakness which he has not been able to overcome- his penchant for a drink or two in the evenings. “Cigarettes have become bygones for me, but I still take 2 pegs almost every evening. It’s not allowed but I feel mentally fit- and that’s all that matters isn’t it? My latest PET scan says I am fine.”

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