Forget the item number in Krazzy 4 and the passing appearance in Luck By Chance because they don’t count. Kites is his first release in over two years, after Jodhaa Akbar
But the west will see Hrithik Roshan and Babara Mori on screen before we do. While the Hindi version opens in India on May 21, Brett Ratner’s English version premieres in the US on Sunday, May 16, and the film opens in the UK on May 18.
The actor, however, insists that there is no English version. "It’s the Hindi film that will be screened all over the world. Brett has only come up with a remix. He fell in love with our film, Barbara and men and came up with his own take on it. He’ll be presenting his cut to his audience and that’s going to be an added bonus for us," explains Hrithik, adding that Ratner’s Kites will not release in India, even at a later date.
Hrithik is unperturbed that the climax and Mori’s bare-back pics were leaked out well before the release. "Every film has its own destiny," he shrugs. "Our biggest challenge is to erase all pre-conceived notions and draw the audience into a world where you enjoy every moment. These external factors don’t matter. I just hope that the media realises that there are certain ethical boundaries that they should never transcend."
He dismisses reports of him moving to Hollywood. Quiz him on whether Ratner’s Kites will open the doors for him to the world’s biggest film industry and he retorts, "Any good film is a stepping stone to newer avenues," he points out. "If Bret offers me a film, I’d love to do it. But before I sign on, I have to see if I the subject works for me."
You’ve always been keen on experimenting with roles. What kind of challenge did Kites pose?
It presented me with the opportunity to unlearn all that I had learnt in the past 10 years. I thought what I was doing was right. But somewhere, at the back of my mind, there was this nagging feeling that there was more to acting than what I was doing. Kites gave me a chance to explore. But for that, I had to let go of all that I was good at and not worry about showing my weaknesses to the world. Anurag (director Anurag Basu) wanted to make an honest film. He told me, "I know what you can do really well but Idon’t want that. I want something that you have been afraid to show.’
It was brave of you to fall in with his plans.
I looked at it this way… All that I had been doing in the pre-Kites years was like a preparation for what I had to do in this film. So I just let go and in the bargain truly enjoyed this flight as an actor. It happened during Koi… Mil Gaya too. That was the first time I didn’t know what exactly I had done during a shot. And when I viewed it on the monitor, I found a new spontaneity in my work. Gradually, these moments of spontaneity in my films increased and the initial apprehension gave way to enjoyment because I was no longer watching myself. From the first frame to the last, Kites is a film played from the heart.
There must have been differences of opinion between Anurag Basu and your dad, Rakesh Roshan, given that both have been directing for years? How did you, as an actor, balance the issues between the two?
Without differences of opinion there can never be honest teamwork. My father and I have a system in place. We have our arguments too but at the end of it, one manages to convince the other to go with what seems better for the film. There have never been any ego clashes between us, ever. And there were none with Anurag either. He is a nice man and together we managed to make an honest and a beautiful film.
From actor to singer
It didn’t matter if I sang well or not. Even if I was off-tune, it will still look cute in the film because through the song, I express my feeling for my beloved. Singing required a lot of hard work though. I trained for about two-and-half weeks.
Barbara Mori had seen films like Jodhaa Akbar to get to know you as an actor. Did you watch any of her movies too?
The first picture of hers that I saw had so much vulnerability and dignity, that I was completely bowled over by Barbara. She has a lot of sex appeal as well. And that is a lethal combination! I was certain that she would be the perfect choice for our film. She’s the best actor I’ve worked with, because I was introduced to a different approach to the art. She’s not from our little pond but from another ocean. And this new approach to acting helped me evolve as an actor. That’s why I attribute the ‘best’ word to her.
A lot has been written about your chemistry, both on and off camera. Does that bother you?
No. Why should it? What is written by one person and read by another does not concern me because I don’t know either of them. It is between them and does not involve me at all. I’m a happy man with a happy family. And Barbara is a great friend. Someone can say that I have a crooked nose. But I know my nose is straight. People will either speak the truth or lie. Either way, there is no need to react.
My grandfather (Roshan) always told me that people would always try to provoke me. If I succumbed to provocation, it would lead to my downfall. So now, if I’m walking down a road and someone refers to my father as taklu (bald), I look at him and smile, “Yes, he is bald and I love the way he looks, it’s fantastic!” May be a third person who’s heard the exchange may think I’m disgusting, I should have punched the other guy in the face for running down my father.
But this is a better way to react, don’t you agree?
But does your wife Sussane also react in the same way? It’s said that she was upset by reports of your link-up with Barbara, she walked out of your home and moved in with her parents.
My wife is a more spiritual person than I am. We are the perfect couple.
What’s next from FilmKraft after Kites?
Right now, my dad is so involved with Kites that he can’t make up his mind what to do next. But I’m hoping it will be Krrish 2.
From actor to director?
I don’t want to direct. It’s too difficult a job. I’m happy being an actor. I hope I never have to direct.
From superstar to simply daddy.
I love magic and I know a few tricks. But my sons, Hrehaan and Hridaan, are too young to understand and enjoy them. Maybe when they’re a little older, I’ll perform some magic tricks for them.
On his juniors Ranbir Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Imran Khan, Shahid Kapoor…
They’re all talented actors who have found themselves pretty early. That’s a good sign. Ranbir and Shahid are very conscientious. I’ve known them for quite some time now. They are good friends and I respect them as actors.