Rakesh Roshan. If you are a fan of Bollywood (and I assume you are since you are reading this), you know that name. The actor is also one of the most respected directors and producers in the industry and has given Bollywood great films, including Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya, and Krrish. Besides all starting with K and all starring his son Hrithik Roshan, his films are unique. With each new story and concept, he always tries to open new ground and stretch the concept of what a Hindi film can be. Once again with a K, Hrithik, and with a new idea, in Kites Mr. Roshan is trying something new. Not only is the story new because the two lead characters (Hrithik Roshan and newcomer Barbara Mori) do not speak each others language, but the film is being released in two versions: a classic Hindi version, and then a remixed English version aimed at the US market. I got the chance to speak to Mr. Roshan and he let us in on the making of Kites, from how the story came about to how Hrithik has done acting and singing and much more. Check out what he had to say!
What made you want to make Kites?
After Krrish, I was thinking about what to make. Should I make Krissh 2 or something else? Then I thought of taking a break from Krrish and of making Kites. I got an idea from watching two kites flying in the sky. I thought they were looking so romantic, they were fighting with each other, they were making love to each other, and when they came very close, one got cut, and where it goes when it falls nobody knows. I thought it could be a very nice romantic subject, so I started thinking of a story. Then a story occurred to me and I started working on it. That is how Kites began.
From the trailers, there is a lot to this story… Can you give us a glimpse of what we can expect to see?
It is the story of boy from India who has been brought up in Las Vegas and he meets a girl from Mexico who doesn’t speak English, only Spanish. He doesn’t speak Spanish. There is a love story between them, how they understand each other. In the end, we show that love has no language and no boundaries.
What made you decide Anurag Basu was the right man to tell this story?
I happened to see Gangster and I liked his film very much. I called him to the office because I really wanted Hrithik to work with him. I told him that if you have a story for Hrithik, I will give you all the dates I want him to work with you. He said, No, I make small films from 4 – 5 crore. I don’t have a picture with a subject to spend 30-40 crores with Hrithik. I was a little disappointed. He asked me what I was making, so I told him the story of Kites. He said it was a very novel idea and it is a very, very good story. I said, if you like it, you do it. He started laughing and said, are you joking? I said no, I have to make a film with Hrithik, either you make it or I make it. I don’t have to achieve anything more now. You are talented and I would appreciate if you like the story you do it. I will support you. I will give you all my experience and you make it. He said, but I have never made such a big film before. I said, don’t worry my vision is there and your heart and soul is there – we can combine together and do something great.
How do you think Anurag has done directing the film?
He has given his best; he has done a fabulous job. I am very proud of him; I am very proud of the film. I don’t know how it will do at the box office, but when I see the film I feel very proud that I chose the right director, and the right heroine Barbara Mori, and everything has come together very well.
What was it about Barbara that made you decide to cast her opposite Hrithik?
I went to Los Angeles to look for a Spanish girl and I met 2-3 heroines over there but they were not right. A friend of mine showed me a Mexican film which had Barbara Mori in it and I said, she’s the girl. I showed the film to Anurag Basu and Hrithik and they also liked her because she is very talented, very beautiful, very gorgeous. So, I went to Mexico, I met her, then I met her in Los Angles and narrated her the whole script and story. That is how she came on board.
When I met her she didn’t know a word of English. I thought this is the right girl, this is the character we have in our film. Slowly, slowly – she is very intelligent – during shooting she started picking up English and now she is fluent.
How is her connection with Hrithik in the film?
The chemistry is very good. I think they are the best pair up till now. They both have done a very good job with their look. They look amazing in the film.
So, how has Hrithik done?
Hrithik is amazing. As usual, he has been surprising everyone in every film and in Kites he has done a fantastic job.
Brett Ratner edited the English version; how did that come about?
Well, Brett Ratner is a good friend of mine. I showed him the film, and he liked it so much that he said, you should shorten the film by half an hour for the US market. For the US sensibilities, we shouldn’t have the film more than 1 hour 30 minutes. I said I don’t know what to cut. He said, don’t worry, I will help you out and I will do the editing. I will do everything for you because I love this film: I love Hrithik, I love Barbara, and I love the way you are so passionate about filmmaking. I don’t want this film to go to waste, so I want this film to release here and I want the American audience and the English audience to see this film.
What kinds of things did he cut out?
There were about four songs that he cut out, and there were some scenes that he thought were good for the Indian sensibilities but not for the US sensibilities.
Have you seen the final cut? What do you think?
I have seen it and it is fabulous. You don’t miss anything – the whole essence of the film is there, the whole essence of the story is there. The emotions are still intact and remain in the film. So, everything is there.
Even if the film doesn’t do well in the English version, I will feel that I have succeeded because I stepped with this film into the global market. It will open doors for many young producers and directors in the future to move in that direction.
What do you hope audiences will love about the film?
I can’t pinpoint one thing. This film has got everything: it has got great romance, a great love story, great chemistry between Hrithik and Barbara, great direction by Anurag Basu, great music, beautiful locations, and it has got a production value which no Hindi film has had achieved. In totality the film is very good. I think it is about everything. I cannot pinpoint at this time what is the USP.
What do you think of Hrithik’s singing?
He has got one song, and that was Anurag’s idea because Hrithik is a good singer but he is not a professional singer. When we made the song Anurag suggested, why don’t we ask Hrithik to sing this song. When we made Hrithik hear the song he agreed and said, okay, I will sing the song. He sang ‘Kites in the Sky'; it is a very beautiful song. On the CD they can hear the whole song but in the movie there is only half the song.
What is the message of Kites?
Is that when you look up in the sky and when you see two Kites flying you will always remember Kites as lovers.
What is the best thing about Kites?
I think it is a very intense love story, and it has been many years since an intense love story has been made in India. Plus, we have big action, we have big car chases, and it is on par with any Hollywood film.
What do you think of Hindi cinema today?
Indian cinema is very stagnant today because nobody is moving forward. I hope if Kites does well people will rethink and they will start moving forward.
What will you be starting next?
I am not sure as yet. Once Kites releases I will decide what to make – Krrish 3 or to go into some other subject. That will all depend on my instinct, because I always work on instincts.
Kites is certainly high on everyone’s list of must-see movies, and we are sure it is going to give us quite a night at the cinema! Kites releases May 21st worldwide and then the Remix version comes out in the US on May 28th! We will have full coverage of the red carpet premieres as well as interviews and reviews so stay tuned for more!