The biggest challenge of Kites is that it also has an English version for the international market. The world is getting smaller. I’ve taken this step forward. If the experiment works then it will open the door to other filmmakers.
The intention was not to take Hrithik to Hollywood but to showcase his potential as an actor to the world. Even if Hollywood beckons, this is his home, he is not going to cross over and settle abroad.
There’s been a lot of talk about the film being delayed but it couldn’t have come any sooner than May 7. We were shooting for the Hindi and English versions simultaneously. The English version needed different negatives… a different background score. All this takes time.
‘The idea came to me when I saw two kites in the sky’
It’s being said that Kites is inspired by the best-selling novel, Kite Runner. That it is inspired by Woody Allen’s Nicholas Cage-starrer, Matchpoint. That’s not true, it’s an original story.
The idea came to me when I saw two kites flying in the sky. It intrigued me the way they came closer, almost embraced each other, then drew apart, blissfully unaware that someone else was pulling the strings and could cut them loose. I sat down and penned a story around this idea.
Soon after Anurag (director Anurag Basu) came to my office. I had liked his Gangster and wanted him to direct Hrithik. I asked him if he had a story in mind. He didn’t. I narrated this story to him.
He loved it. I asked him if he would direct the film. He was surprised I could hand over my project to him. I told him it made no difference who directed as long as we made a good movie. He wrote the screenplay and we went on the floors.
‘We’d made it very clear to Kangana that the film belonged to Hrithik and Barbara’
Kangana has a small but significant part in Kites. We had made it very clear to her that the film belonged to Hrithik and Barbara. It was all very transparent during the first script narration itself.
She agreed to be a part of the film because she thought I was a genuine filmmaker who made good films. She said she was a fan and wanted to be a part of a FilmKrfat production. She’s a fine actress who takes her work very seriously.
‘I did give suggestion to Anurag but never on the sets’
Once the script was locked, I never stayed on the sets for longer than 10 minutes and that was only to ensure that everything was perfect from the production side.
I’d promised Anurag (Basu) that I would provide with anything he wanted, and I kept my word.I have 40 years of experience and once in a while, I’d sit down with Anurag and Hrithik.
Anurag respects me and accepted most of my suggestions. But there was no creative interference on the sets. The shot takings are his. I’m happy I went ahead with him This is the first time I have given an outside director a chance to make a movie for FilmKraft and Anurag has lived up to all our expectations.
The reactions to the promos have been overwhelming. Anything out-of-the-box has always caught the eye. My films veer away from the conventional yet are packed with commercial ingredients so there’s a piece for all. The promos were to release on February 12, along with My Name Is Khan.
They were leaked out a couple of days before. It made no difference. I’ve had strangers coming up to me after seeing them to say, “We want to watch this film, when is it coming?” May 7 is the day!
‘I’m still scripting Krrish 3, so how can I cast Deepika?’
I’m still working on the plot of Krrish 3. I’m waiting for the right chord to strike. I will not take the project forward till that happens. I’m in no hurry.
All these stories about the film revolving around the Seven Wonders, about it going on the floors in September, about Katrina (Kaif) turning down the female lead and Deepika (Padukone) being cast, is completely without substance.
‘If Hrithik buys a bungalow it’ll be for the whole family’
My son is rooted in the family. So I don’t think all this talk about him building a bungalow and wanting to move into it with his wife and kids, is true. I think if he were to buy a bungalow, it would be for his whole family.
Holi is in two days. When I was in school and college, I’d celebrate it with a lot of gusto. Now it’s quieter, just a simple ‘puja’, then up to the terrace to put a ‘tikka’ on each other. I’m looking forward to putting a little dab of colour on my grandchildren though. That’s what will make Holi special!
‘No intimate scenes were cut, there weren’t any’
There’s been a lot of gossip about Hrithik and Barbara Mori in the last few months. It doesn’t bother me. I’ve seen it happening over the last four decades and it has never touched our family.
We all love Barbara a lot. She’s a very nice girl and an honest person. She’s a fine actress and a true pro. The whole family has the highest regard for her. Buzz is that I insisted on certain scenes being cut in the Hindi version because I found them too intimate for our still conservative audience.
That’s not true. Kites is an intense love story but there’s nothing too passionate in it. I make my films for a family audience. I would never go too far. Both the Hindi and the English versions are the same.
When I approached Barbara for the film she told me she wasn’t going to be singing any songs. I assured her she wouldn’t have to. A number of Bollywood filmmakers have evinced interest in her but her take on cinema is different. She’s only open to challenging roles. I don’t know how much she would be willing to adjust to our way of filmmaking.
‘I had never imagined Hrithik as Akbar’
Hrithik has grown by leaps and bounds since I launched him in Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai. He has convincingly carried off so many
different roles. I was blown by his performance in Jodaa-Akhbar. I had never imagined him as Akbar. He brought dignity to the character. He’s an actor who can do any kind of role.
He has a fantastic body and a malleable personality. It makes me so proud to see that my son has evolved into such a fine actor. You’ll see a different Hrithik this year in Kites… and another in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish.
I haven’t heard the story or seen the rushes of Guzarish but a friend of mine has and he told me that Hrithik is fantastic as a wheelchair bound paraplegic hoping for death. He has sung a song in Guzarish. He has sung one in Kites too. Singing is his hobby and he puts in a lot of work to ensure that he gets every note right.
When we were at the Cannes Film Festival, Hrithik got a lot of admiring attention. It was even said that he looked a lot like Jesus Christ. It felt good to hear such nice things being said about him.