Director Anurag Basu believes Indian films are far from being global and his new film Kites is finally an endeavour to reach out to the non-diaspora audience abroad. Not only does it star a Mexican actress and a Bollywood hero with international looks but it also has a crisper version for foreign release.
"I won't say Kites, will change everything, but it's a step to make Indian films global and to lure non-Hindi speaking people to come, see and like the film," Basu, 35, told IANS in an interview.
"The filmmakers of our generation are starving to get international recognition. We say we are global but we are far from being global. That was the drive behind making this film. I'm hoping the film is not only liked by Indian audiences but it also appeals to the international audiences."
Co-produced by Rakesh Roshan's FilmKraft and Reliance Big Picutres, the international love story Kites starring Hrithik Roshan and Mexican actress Barbara Mori is releasing May 21.
Before wielding megaphone for Kites, Basu had carved a niche for himself with movies like Murder (2004), Gangster - A Love Story (2006) and Life In A ...Metro (2007). He worked with Emraan Hashmi and Shiney Ahuja in them.
Kites is Basu's first big starrer and he says Hrithik has an international appeal.
"Whenever I wrote a story, I didn't know whom I would cast. This time it didn't happen that way. Rakeshji called me and asked if I have any story for Hrithik. I didn't have one.
"Then Rakeshji gave me this idea (of Kites). The advantage this time was that the hero was in my mind. I thought it's a good opportunity to work with Hrithik who has a big international appeal."
But Basu says directing a film for Rakesh Roshan put huge pressure on him.
"There was huge pressure. I was quite tense. When he called me initially, he said he liked the screenplay of Gangster and it's a very good story.
"That time I thought he wanted me to write the script for his film, instead of asking me to direct. It sunk in later that he wanted me to direct the film as well. Actually, the trust increases the responsibility."
The international version of the film, edited by Brett Ratner, is shorter than the Hindi version.
"Whatever the Indian audiences will see, the English-speaking audiences will experience the same thing. Ideally, I wanted to have the same length for both the movies. But it's a norm there to have one-and-a-half-hour movies. Had it been Tom Cruise or George Clooney, they could have stretched it to two hours. Barbara and Hrithik are new for them; so it has a one-and-a-half-hour duration.
"The story is the same and so is the flow; what they have done is chopped bits and pieces. Like there is no song in the English version, only some music montage which has cut the film into that duration."
Basu says Barbara was his first choice for Kites.
"I had seen Barbara Mori's film 'Inspiration' before, but I had forgotten her name. When I decided on a Mexican Spanish actress, first we searched on the net. There I got her name along with a few others. We wrote all the names that we had to approach.
"I had her film My Brother's Wife in our library. When I saw the film, I remembered that I had seen another film, Inspiration. So she became the first choice."
"I was looking for other Mexican girls as well because Barbara was far-fetched and I wasn't sure she would agree to do this film because she had no clue about Bollywood," said Basu.
But as Barbara didn't know Hindi or English, it made it easy for her to portray her character in the film, says Basu.
"The film came out the way it is because she is actually like that in person. In real life also she can't speak Hindi or English and the character also can't speak Hindi or English. So my work became easier. And it became organic and real in the film," said Basu.