A quadriplegic man whom Hrithik Roshan befriended while preparing for his role as a paraplegic in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Guzaarish' (2010) has seen his life take a dramatic - and distinctly filmy - turn for the better.
Kandivli resident John Julius (30) had been confined to his bed, paralysed, for nine years, following a motorcycle accident at Dahisar Check Naka when he was a student of event management at a Bandra college.
But not only has Julius's condition improved since the Bollywood star began to support him financially and emotionally, he is now married to the woman of his dreams - who also happens to be his physiotherapist. He has also landed a job.
Recalling old times, Julius shared in an interview that he had almost lost the will to live when, out of the blue, he got a call from Bhansali's office.
The man on the phone said Hrithik wanted to meet him. Quoted Julius, "Hrithik expected me to be low on morale when he walked in, but I gave him a pleasant surprise by greeting him in a wheelchair! We spoke about his character in Guzaarish, and quickly became friends. We are still very much in touch. Whenever I text him, he replies. He also checks in on my condition frequently."
A few days after they met, Julius underwent stem cell therapy at the Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute in Chembur, followed by rehabilitation. Hrithik helped fund Julius's treatment to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh.
He also gifted him a computer and a customised wheelchair. "And then my life took another turn. During my rehab period, I met the love of my life, Nancy Thomas, my physiotherapist," stated the lucky man, who went on further to add, "We fell in love, and she said she wanted to marry me.
I was shocked. It took some time for me to agree, but she turned my 'no' into a 'yes' and won me over. We got married one-and-a-half months ago. Nancy's love for me is unconditional; you have to see to believe it."
Not only is Julius married and on the road to better health, he has also started a new job, as an IT manager at Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute, where his wife also works. His improving condition allows him to be helped into a car to travel to work - something he couldn't have imagined at his lowest point. His employers also let him work from home when necessary.
He added, "Today, I can move from my wheelchair to the bed with a little support. I have regained my balance. The mobility in my upper limbs has also improved, though I still have a long way to go. There is also movement in my abdominal muscles. I am improving and in a much happier place. Thanks to Hrithik and Nancy, my life has changed."