“In Kites I had to just completely let go and play by heart” – Hrithik Roshan

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Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, stars of Kites, were in New York yesterday to speak about their experiences working on this groundbreaking film and BollySpice was there at the round-table discussion to get all the news for you. Hrithik was looking fit and healthy, if a little tired, in a pair of well-fitting denims and a red shirt topped off with a black leather jacket. Any weight (and hair) gained for Guzarish is long gone. Barbara Mori, who seems to be taking her new found Bollywood celebrity in stride, looked picture-perfect in a fashionable black and white blouse. The two have a very nice rapport, with Hrithik acting as the perfect gentleman by making sure that questions were given to Barbara as well as himself, and occasionally helping her out with an English word or two when she was at a loss.

Much has been made of the two versions of the film – one for the Indian market and one for the Western market. Hrithik opens up about that. “Both are wonderful. The Indian version is a film we have made that is going out to the entire globe and it is also going to release in the US. And Brett Ratner’s version is his interpretation of Kites that he thinks will cater to a select Western audience, so it’s like a bonus. And we are very thankful and feel very special that Brett Ranter had that much faith in Kites. He came into our lives like an angel and took it further.”

Since the film is going worldwide, Kites is a big step for even the normally adventurous Hrithik Roshan, but he has made a career of thinking outside the box. “When I was making Koi… Mil Gaya! people said, ‘You’re destroying your career; you have this image of an action hero and that is what is working and you’re breaking that because you want to do a mentally challenged character.'” And he adds, “There’s a lot of mental conditioning that my industry succumbs to where it’s all about trying to fit into the mold of this hero, who eventually looks like a superhero. I think it’s evolving now… films are [becoming] more slice-of-life; something that you need to identify with and live a journey that will maybe inspire you or help you vent your emotions or make sense of your own life.”

But he has played the traditional hero before – and subverted that role for Luck by Chance. He continues, “I’ve been a movie star, but that’s a consequence of being an honest actor. What came first, the chicken or the egg? I have been taking risks that look like risks to somebody else’s perspective, but it’s not a risk for me because I have my passion there. For Koi…Mil Gaya! I was passionate about it and I was thinking, ‘How can this be a risk? It will be a risk if I’m afraid.'”

On preparing for his role, his says, “For me it was a process of unlearning, of training my mind to switch off to let go. In my past films I have done a lot of work, which I knew was right. I knew the right chord to hit and I knew the reaction it would provoke. There was this whole circle of craft that was going on, but sporadically in the middle sometimes, there were films like Koi… Mil Gaya! and Lakshya, where I touched upon another area and ventured out and enjoyed the flight of an actor – where there was no mind and I was just creating something for moments. I came out and didn’t know what I had done because I had not planned that. I said ‘There is something more to this art than what I’ve been doing.’

“And I think all the work that I’ve done, I kept being attracted to that art and trying to relive that. Over time, I think that I was preparing myself to finally be ready for a film like Kites where I had to just completely let go and play by heart. Anurag’s vision was demanding that – he wanted it to be a completely honest film. He did not want to see a star in it he did not want to see dialogues perfectly said. I just knew at that time there was a destiny to this film and reason that this would manifest.

“And then we had someone like her [Barbara] who entered our team and provided the right kind of push and the right kind of impetus towards the right direction because she comes from the same school of thought she’s a very honest person. I think whatever you create is only a reflection of the person inside. I think if you’ve seen all her films, they’ve always been really honest and convincing because that is the kind of person that she is so I just had to sit back and watch and learn and try to unlearn all the rubbish that I thought was the commercially right thing to do. In that regard this has been such a big departure from all the films I’ve done in the past.

“[Getting into character] is a lot of hard work. You’re always trying to find that honesty inside you, but I think that the best way to prep for an actor or for any creative work where you want to be honest is to live honest. So, you are practicing your life. If you have enough practice in your life with all the emotions then you can express it on camera. And if you don’t have any reference with your own life then you’ll actually be acting—it will be fake.”

If Hrithik is a big risk taker, then so is Barbara Mori. She spoke about what caused her to choose this project – the script. “I read the script and the story and I got touched by it. I think that it’s a beautiful love story between two human beings who fall in love even if they don’t speak the same language. I found that story beautiful and I want to be part of this true love.”

Barbara continues on about how this will be a different type of project for her. “It’s my first English movie, my first action movie, my first Bollywood movie, and big budget movie, so there’s a difference between this movie and what I have done before. But I think [her Mexican fans] will love it because in Mexico we love action and love stories and I think Kites has a little bit of everything. It has humor and drama and this beautiful love story and I think that everybody will feel like they want to fall in love again because love is universal. I think they will love it.”

On preparing for her role, she says, “I started working by myself in Mexico one month before I went to New Mexico to start the shooting. Then I take some dancing classes in Mexico because I was supposed to dance in the movie. Then when we get to New Mexico, we start rehearsing and going through the lines and the script and discovering things about the characters and making them our own.” She adds, “I have to change some of the scenes because of the Spanish language.”

Hrithik clarifies, “It was basically a translation of the English that Anurag had written so she gave it heart and interpreted it in the right way. So, she is basically the writer of all her lines.”

Along with two different versions are the three languages spoken in the film. Hrithik seemed blas

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