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Why Rakesh Roshan didn't direct Kites

Last updated on: May 18, 2010 12:06 IST

'I like to take on subjects that challenge me and give me sleepless nights'

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai

Rakesh Roshan has a better track record as a director than as an actor or producer. But even after burning his fingers as the producer of Krazzy 4, Roshan took the leap again with Kites. He explains why he trusted Anurag Basu to pull it off.

You are taking a huge risk with Kites because of the scale on which it has been made. Is it true that you cannot do a film unless it is a big risk?

I believe in taking huge risks while making a film. I like to take on subjects that challenge me and give me sleepless nights.

Why did you feel the urge to go global with Kites?

The world has shrunk. Earlier, when someone went to London, the whole family would be there to receive him at the airport. Now, I have flown to Los Angeles eight times in the last three months. The world has become smaller and our thinking bigger.

Is that the reason why you went international and used Spanish in the film?

I want Indian talent to go global and this is the right time to make a global film. It is not that I want Hrithik to be a Hollywood actor by doing Kites. I want to show Indian films exist too. Hollywood has embraced Chinese films and Korean films, so why not Indian films? We make emotional films and emotions appeal to human beings all over the world.


Image: Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan

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'I am very happy that I gave the project to Anurag Basu'

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Why the title Kites?

When you look at two kites in the sky, they look romantic. They fight with each other. They embrace each other. They don't know their strings are not in their hands. Sometimes they come very close and one of them gets cut.

As an Indian filmmaker, can you give us your assessment on why Danny Boyle could come and make a successful film like Slumdog Millionaire, while our own filmmakers ignored such a subject?

If we have idli and dosa every day, it is a common food for us. When an outsider (Danny Boyle) came and saw it, he got excited and made a good film.

Didn't you feel that you should have directed Kites rather than give the project to Anurag Basu?

In 2006, Krrish was nominated for awards along with Rang De Basanti, Lage Raho Munnabhai and a film called Gangster. I had never heard of it. When I saw it, I was very impressed. I immediately called Anurag and told him he had made a great film. I told him if he had a story, I would like Hrithik to work with him. I felt he knew the medium well. He said he did not have a story and was a small filmmaker who had never made a film on a big canvas. I told him that I had a story and, if he liked it, I would produce it. He heard it and told me to give him some time. I thought he didn't want to do it.

After one month, he came back and said he had worked on the story, about 20 scenes, and how the story would go. I was very impressed... I am very happy that I gave the project to him.

Image: A scene from Kites

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'Barbara Mori looked good'

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Is it true that Kites has two versions -- one in Hindi and a shorter English one?

Yes. The Hindi version is two hours long and has five songs, whereas the English version has no songs and is 90 minutes. The English version has been made for the American audience.

How did you find Barbara Mori?

I saw her film My Brother's Wife. She was a fine actress and looked good. I had approached two other heroines. I was not feeling comfortable with them. When I saw that film, I showed it to Hrithik and Anurag, and they too were happy.

Where did you shoot the film?

We shot in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and from there we were going to Cambodia. In Vegas, a friend told us about New Mexico. We finally shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Image: A scene from Kites

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'Hrithik is doing a better job by doing fewer films'

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Isn't Hrithik is depriving fans by doing fewer films?

No. I think he is doing a better job by doing fewer films and more quality work.

He had the potential of being a superstar like Shah Rukh Khan...

He still has the potential. Once, when I was an assistant director, I was doing a film -- Sangharsh -- which starred Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala, I spoke to Dilipsaab in the editing room. He asked me what I wanted to do in life and I said I wanted to be an actor. He told me that an artist cannot do more than 30 to 40 films in his lifetime. That you can do in two years or you can do in 50 years time.

Don't you think the memory of an actor fades from people's minds?

Nothing fades. Once your film does well, you are back.


Image: A scene from Kites

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