Rakesh Roshan and Anurag Basu Interview on Kites

Rakesh Roshan

This long wait for Kites, is it good for the film or is it a tad too long?
No, no, the film was always scheduled for a release in May. Some part of the media spread the wrong news that the film was releasing in October and then December last year. But we had never officially announced the release date. We were always working on two versions — the English and the Hindi ones. It’s like completing two films and that takes time. We finished our shooting last year in April-May but the post-production took time because we were aiming for the simultaneous release of the two versions. And while we are now ready with the films, we are not releasing them because of the IPL matches and then the T20 World Cup. So it will be May 21.

Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai in 2000, Koi… Mil Gaya in 2003, Krrish in 2006 and now Kites in 2010. Why these long breaks between Hrithik Roshan-starrers at Filmkraft?
It’s not a conscious thing. It is because I take my own time in working. When I select a subject, scripting takes me a long time… 10 months… then come the locations. See, you have to remember that I make big films. I like to spend money on my films, money that can be seen. I don’t like wasting money. People otherwise just go to any location, they shoot, they don’t like, then they shoot again… I don’t work that way. I like to choose my locations carefully and shoot there. For Kites, I have shot in New Mexico and Las Vegas. Then after the shooting is completed, I take a lot of time in post-production. Re-recording, background music… I don’t rush things. It takes a lot of heart and a lot of care to make a good film. On our part, we try to give the audience the best possible film. Then it’s up to the audience whether they like it or not.

Your combo with Hrithik has a 100% success rate. Why didn’t you direct Kites yourself given it was your story?
I was supposed to direct it. Then what happened is when I used to go to every award ceremony to collect awards for Krrish in 2006-2007, besides the big films like Lage Raho Munnabhai and Rang De Basanti, I spotted another film called Gangster. I had never heard about this film. So I was like why is this small film called Gangster coming in all nominations? I got hold of the DVD, I saw the film and I loved the film.
I called Anurag Basu to the office and I told him that I want Hrithik to work with you… do you have any subject? He said, no I make small films of Rs 3 crore and I don’t have a big canvas subject ready. Then I told him that I have a subject and if he liked it, he can direct it. Because for me, it didn’t make any difference. I had nothing to prove to anybody. Just that my production house has to make a good film with Hrithik. Whether I made it or he made it, it didn’t make a difference.

Do you regret your offer given what’s happened between the two of you?
No, not at all. They are all baseless rumours. I am very, very happy with Anurag. He has done a very good job and if the film does well, he will be one of the most sought-after directors around. See talents like him need to be promoted. Otherwise Anurag would have been making small-small films throughout his life. And then one day he wouldn’t have been there. He was, in fact, initially surprised that I offered the film to him. He asked me, are you joking that you are giving this film to me? I had told him straightaway that don’t worry about the big canvas because I will be there and whenever you are stuck somewhere, you can always ask me. My only thing was that once the script was locked, you cannot change anything. And if you have to change anything, you have to ask. So, from my side, everything was clear. I used to go to the shoots for an hour or two just to see that everything was okay from the production side. I have always tried to give him confidence and told him not to worry.

You went to Cannes last year and now you are releasing an English version of Kites. Why this desperation to launch Hrithik internationally?
I went to Cannes with a very raw film. We finished shooting in April and we just cut it roughly and took it to Cannes in May. We wanted to show it to two-three studios over there. As for the English version, the story of Kites is about a boy and a girl and their love story. And a love story is accepted all over the world. So I thought since we are making the film with an Indian boy and a Spanish girl and it has such an international look, we can go the distance. This is the right time for Indian cinema to put a step forward and go global. The world is becoming smaller… their technicians come here to work, we take their heroines. A day will come when the West and Bollywood will all make films together. I think Kites is the first step towards that. Even if I succeed by 5%, I would have landed there and opened the doors for other filmmakers.

Why not release your Indian film there? Why did you have Brett Ratner make a separate cut?
When Brett saw the film, he said the film needs to be cut from its two-hour length and made closer to 90 minutes. So I told him I don’t know what to cut and that’s how he came on board.

So, what is the difference between the two versions?
There are four-five songs in the Hindi version which are not there in the English one. So 20-25 minutes are gone there itself and some scenes here and there which have gone. Just to make it more fast-paced. Otherwise the content is the same, the emotions are the same.

From Kaho Naa… to Kites, what kind of growth do you see in Hrithik?
He is not only growing, he is shocking me with every film. He is growing in leaps and bounds. The more challenging the role, the more he gives in. Just like me. When I make a film with him, I look for a challenging subject which can give me sleepless nights. I would not like to give any number to Hrithik, that he is one, two or three. But I believe he is a very powerful actor and he is capable of doing any role.

Do you miss directing Hrithik?
No. Because for me, when I am producing a film, I am as deep as the director is. Just saying “start sound” and “cut” is not everything. I looked after every aspect of Kites.

Since the story is credited to you, would you like to clarify whether Kites is copied from Woody Allen’s Match Point?

No no, not at all. It’s basically a love story between two people. Their goals are different but they are in love. When they are very close to their goals, they fall in love. What to do? And they opt for love.

Anurag Basu

Kites is finally releasing…
Haan, ghuri-ta finally urbe! Actually I think I have a black tongue. I always wanted my film to release in May because all my films have released in May. Gangster, Murder, Metro… they have all released in summer, around April-May. So I wanted Kites too to release around that time. Whenever I did mention May, I always meant 2009 May, not 2010 May. But now it’s finally releasing, even if it’s a year late.

Have you had any creative role to play since the shooting got over last April?
Hmmm… Well, all I can say is that a lot of stories have been floating as to how the film is being re-edited without my presence. How Rajkumar Hirani has been re-editing the film without my knowledge. But that’s entirely untrue. Raju Hirani and me had a huge laugh over this. You cannot re-edit the film once the print is out and the mix is done.

What about Brett Ratner supervising the English version?
As for Brett Ratner, he is presenting the film. He did make a few editing suggestions. But he didn’t edit anything without my knowledge. I would have been the happiest person in the world if that would have happened. I would have just sued him and become a crorepati! It’s a very common thing in Hollywood. The suggestions he made were very valid given that he comes from the western sensibility. And I was part of this journey all along.

Let’s put it this way — are you happy calling Kites your film?
Yes, it’s my film, it’s my baby! My editor Akiv Ali, who has worked with me for the last five years, he wouldn’t touch a frame without my consent. We have worked on the film together. Our edited English version was taken to Hollywood and shown there. They found it a bit long and they wanted to shorten it by 10 minutes for distribution reasons. Which is fine. I have a lot of respect for Brett Ratner. I love his work. He is a very fine filmmaker. And while it’s true that we never met, we spoke on the phone and he sent me a version of the film with the suggested changes. I sent across my suggestions and it was all done with a lot
of mutual respect. See, he loved
the film that’s why he decided
to present it.

So, what is your equation now with the Roshan family?
Rakesh Roshan and me are two very different kinds of people. Our approaches towards filmmaking are so different. So it took time for him to adjust to me and it took time for me to adjust to him. Eta toh mantey-i hobe that he is a veteran. Seventeen films, all commercially hit. Emni toh Rakesh Roshan hoye jaaye ni… kichhu byapar toh achhe. He understands the pulse of the audience and what he understands of the audience took time for me to understand. But he didn’t come to the sets all that much. It was always Duggu (Hrithik) and me on the sets.

We also heard that father and son would not agree on things and you would be the scapegoat…
There wasn’t so much chaos really. I mean, if things were so bad, the film wouldn’t have reached this stage. Naa? And there is no such talk within the film industry, where you can’t keep a secret.

Will you make another film for the Roshans if they ask you?
No. See, I want to be successful. And a big thing about being successful is doing things on your own terms. That thing was missing on this film. For me, money is not that important. It’s about creative independence. Here, in Kites, I had to go for a democratic approach. Shobai miley, katha boley… Usually, I write my films and I direct them and so every creative decision rests with me. Here I had to ask around. That was the difference.

Has Kites taught you which people you want to work with?
I came from television and then I did small films. So I don’t have such a big attention span for one product. That’s the way I am. But with people like Rakesh Roshan, Karan Johar and Sanjay Bhansali, they spend three years on one single film. I cannot give so much time on one project. Aami holaam story lekho, film banao, release koro… My thing is why wait? If you have your film ready, why wait? But they have their own reasons. When you have Rs 120 crore at stake, you think differently. I am sure they know more than me.

Are you comfortable with the hoax publicity stunts like the one with the Hrithik-Barbara affair?
As long as people are talking about my film. I am very selfish that way. Initially I used to get a little disturbed. Then I realised it doesn’t matter. The film is gaining. But there’s also a perception that Kites is a sex film. I don’t know how that got circulated. It’s a simple love story. People shouldn’t come in expecting steamy scenes after seeing the hot pictures of Barbara in the papers and on the Net.

23 Comments

  1. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Hmmm, Yeah Kites is fully packed with 135 cr for recovery.

    Only Good thing is Kites does seem looking to have a Proper International Release, which if works even to some extent can extract a decent sum from there.

    But Yeah, given the Scaling and Mounting of the movie,breaking Ghajini is high time now.

  2. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Ach, i have seen 2005 Nahata Verdicts.

    He only had No Entry and BNB as Superhits.

    Let me try to see if i can find it.

    As for 2006 only Dhoom2,Krrish and Fanaa.

    2004, Only VZ.

    But yeah, confirmation will be better.

    Anyways,

    by the above we will have,

    SRK = 12
    Salman = 9
    Aamir = 7
    Hrithik = 5

    Pretty much where we started from couple of days ago,i had just made an educated guess!

  3. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Here Ach, Tango Bhai had posted this back in the day in Planet Bollywood.(our old Ground)

    Box-Office Classification For 2005

    We bring you the actual box-office classification (2005) from India’s number one and most respected trade journal . Please note that these classifications are very strict and use distributors share(profit) as its basis .

    We (Planetbollywood) , on the other hand are much more liberal and use distributors cost , including cost of print and publicity , as compared to the actual collections , for determining the verdict .

    AAA (Super -Duper Hit) :-

    AA (Super -Hit) :-

    No Entry

    Bunty Aur Babli

    A1 (Hit) :-

    Kyaa Kool Hai Hum

    A (Semi-Hit) :-

    BB (Overflow) :-

    Dus

    Zeher

    Garam Masala

    B1 to BB ( Commission-Earner to Overflow):-

    Waqt- The Race Against Time ( ‘AA’ in Overseas )

    Sarkar (‘AA’ in Bombay )

    Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya

    Hanuman

    B1(Commission-Earner) :-

    Kaal

    B to B1 (Coverage to Commission-Earner) :-

    Page 3 ( ‘A1′ in Bombay , ‘BB’ in Delhi -U.P.)

    Black ( ‘A’ in Bombay , ‘BB’ in Delhi -U.P.)

    Lucky No Time For Love

    Parineeta

    Iqbal ( ‘BB’ in Bombay , loosing in some circuits )

    Salaam Namaste (‘AA’ in Bombay , ‘AAA’ in Overseas , loosing in some circuits )

    Kalyug ( ‘BB’ in some circuits )

    Apaharan

    XXX – 2 (dubbed )

    Kung- Fu Master (dubbed)

    Harry Potter Aur Aag Ka Pyala ( dubbed)

    King Kong ( dubbed)

    B (Coverage) :-

    Star Wars : Episode III – Sith Ka Intequam (dubbed)

  4. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    Well thats what we have, No Mangal Pandey or BF to be seen, but then going by his standard thats no news.

    He had already talked about MP not making the cut.

  5. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    Komal Nahta Declares Dhoom 2 a Hit

    Dhoom 2 seems all set to become the biggest hit of 2006. It has already outstripped the performance of Krrish, the year’s biggest grosser before Dhoom 2 burst on the scene. In fact, in certain pockets like Mumbai and Rajasthan, Aditya Chopra’s action thriller has raked in more moolah in just two weeks than what Rakesh Roshan’s super hero film garnered in its entire run. In the other territories of the country, this feat is expected to be achieved in the third week.

    For Hrithik Roshan it’s a win-win situation, as he has played the lead role in both films. Even in the overseas market, Dhoom 2, directed by Sanjay Gadhvi, has done what no other Hrithik-starrer managed to do in the past. It had the third highest opening ever in the US and its first day’s collections in Dubai were the highest for any Bollywood film yet.

    In fact, Dhoom 2 has taken the box office collections in India to another level altogether. In the first week, the distributor’s share in Mumbai was Rs 9.42 crore. That’s a mammoth figure, especially when you consider that Krrish and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (the latter, though not a hit, did exceptionally well in the first week) made Rs 6.6 crore and Rs 6.40 crore, respectively, in Mumbai in their first week.

    As for Dhoom 1, the business of its entire run was less than even the first week’s business of its sequel. In places like Delhi and Gurgaon, the stalemate over revenue sharing between Aditya Chopra and multiplexes like PVR and Wave continued. But despite that, the revenues accrued from other cinemas and multiplexes of Delhi, U.P. and Punjab have been so outstanding that Dhoom 2 will comfortably overtake the business of Krrish in these areas too.

    As mentioned earlier, the euphoria over Dhoom is evident in almost every part of the country. For instance, such was the demand for the film that a multiplex in Kota had to arrange two extra shows of the film in two of its screens on the first Sunday. Believe it or not, both screens ran to full houses for the midnight show as well. And those who could not manage to get seats on that show watched the 3 a.m. show. That too went house full! The situation was no different at Muzaffarnagar’s Meenakshi cinema, which got to display its ‘house full’ board for a night show after eight years. Because of the poor law and order situation in the city, the night shows normally witness low attendance, but Dhoom 2 saw a full house on its opening day.

    If D2 is going great guns all over the country, so is Rajshri’s family drama, Vivah. Sooraj Barjatya’s tear-jerker was in its third week when Dhoom 2 hit the screens. Most films witness a major drop in their collections when a fresh multi-starrer is released. And if it is one as eagerly awaited as Dhoom 2, you can be sure that the drop in the running film’s collections will be a sharp one, at least on that particular Friday. But remarkably, Vivah registered only a negligible drop in its collections on the day Dhoom 2 was released. In fact, though Vivah started off on a slow note and had to withstand D2’s hurricane-like onslaught, it picked up speed later and is now doing pretty well at the box office. Vivah, made at an estimated cost of about Rs 7 crore, is expected to do a business of around Rs 13 to 14 crore at the theatres. Add to this another Rs 5 to 6 crore from electronic rights and other revenues, and you have Rajshri walking away with a neat profit of more than Rs 10 crore.

    Komal Nahta is the editor of Film Information

  6. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Kal Ho Naa Ho BB

    Top 10 classification 2003

    2000 Top 25

    MSK BB

    KMG A1

    Lakshya 2 week position-The film has not been sold in 3 circuits from where the producers will get an approx 10 crore share.But apart from Rajasthan all its other distributors look set to lose unless there is some dramatic turnaround in the third week.

    LAKSHYA B-Below Average

    Dhoom A1

    2003 All Classifications

    Main Hoon Naa A

    BOXOFFICEINDIA CLASSIFICATIONS 2004

    A111-All Time Blockbuster-

    AAA-Super Duper Hit-

    A11-Super Hit-

    AA-Super Hit/Hit-

    A1-Hit Murder Dhoom Veer Zaara

    A-Semi Hit Hulchul Hum Tum Julie Main Hoon Na

    BB-Above Average Mujhse Shaadi Karogi Masti

    B1-Average Khakee Girlfriend Mughal E Azam(revived) Tauba Tauba

    B-Below Average Hawas Garv Lakshya AK47(dubbed) Aitraaz Ab Tak Chhappan

    2004 REPORT-A total of 19 films made money or recovered their costs out of 95 major hindi film releases for the year.

    MPKDH Fiasco Report

    2003 Detailed Numbers

    You can see at one point how rich BOI’s Data was with all the breakdown etc, so its hard for me to see how they make mockery of verdicts nowadays.

    Anyways, if you feel like not sleeping tonight knock yourself of by following this archieve link:

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.boxofficeindia.com

    Although i have tried to cover all Big Movies of 2003-04

    2006 onwards you can check on the above link but will be of less use as by then they had changed verdicts methods.

  7. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    Check upper comment, then dont sleep all night :)

    Myself gone thorough a lot of that.

  8. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Komal Nahta : Salman sympathy wave sweeps the nation

    The film industry is rejoicing the extraordinary advance booking of the Salman Khan starrer, Tere Naam. The film, due to open this Friday (August 15) took the entire film trade by surprise with historic window takings on Monday (August 11), the day its plans opened.

    Bombay and Delhi witnessed heavy crowds at the plans windows, comparable to the advance booking of films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…and last week’s Koi…Mil Gaya. Cities like Meerut had never seen it so good. All records of the last five years were broken with serpentine queues outside Nandan cinema on Monday morning. In the first two hours of the ticket-windows opening, tickets worth Rs. 3 lakhs had been sold, a feat not even Gadar Ek Prem Katha, K3G, Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon or Koi…Mil Gaya could boast of.

    What was the reason for the almost unprecedented advance booking of the Tamil super-hit Sethu remake? Surely, the audience couldn’t have been excited that it was the remake of a blockbuster. For, umpteen other remakes of South films have taken dismal initials in the past. Frankly, the point about remakes makes a difference only while selling the film to distributors. Beyond that, the initial of a film is not governed by the fact that it is or isn’t a remake.

    What’s more, unlike films like K3G, which starred half the film industry, Tere Naam had just a Salman to sell itself. Even the heroine, Bhoomika Chawla, is a rank newcomer for the Hindi cinegoer. No doubt, she is a successful heroine down South, but, like the point of remakes, this too doesn’t hold much meaning for an average Hindi cinegoer.

    There were several factors that led to the phenomenal ticket sales of Tere Naam. For one, the songs of the Salman starrer have become huge hits. The simple lyrics, very Indian in thought, have won the hearts of the music buffs. Himesh Reshammiya’s tunes have actually seen the album selling like hot cakes. Why, music stores even reported a decline in the sale of music cassettes of the earlier hottest selling film album, Koi…Mil Gaya once the music of Tere Naam was released in the market. Secondly, although the only saleable star in the film is Salman Khan, his film is coming to the theatres after a gap of more than a year.

    Therefore, the long wait of his fans to see their idol after such a long time is translating itself in the form of a bumper opening. Thirdly, the promotional trailers of the love story give the impression that the film offers ‘something different’, that one quality in a film that is being sought by a majority of cinegoers fed up of routine stuff. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the trailers had done the trick no sooner they went on air on the various satellite channels. Yes, Salman’s different hair style in the film did come in for criticism from some quarters, but that could hardly be expected to come in the way of a flying start to the film.

    But, perhaps, the most important factor for the wonderful advance booking is the Salman sympathy wave sweeping the nation currently. From being everybody’s favourite punching bag – and not without reason, – the controversial star suddenly seems to have become everyone’s darling, again for comprehensible causes. For one, his second brush with law in the hit-and-run case followed by his imprisonment won him public sympathy more than hatred even though he was accused of causing the death of one person.

    Close on the heels of that accident came the news that Aishwarya Rai had called off her affair with him. Again, although the actress revealed that Salman used to beat her up sometimes, the sympathy after the break-up went to Salman, not to Ash.

    Thereafter came his controversy with Vivek Oberoi, in which the latter called a press conference to tell the world that Salman had threatened him with dire consequences. Salman’s stoic silence and resolve to not get into a slanging match with Vivek won him more fans than adversaries. Much as Vivek would hate it, it is a fact that he too has been responsible in no small measure for the grand opening of Tere Naam. Perhaps, Salman can send Suresh Oberoi’s son a thank-you card with the words Tere Naam, to gratefully acknowledge Vivek’s contribution to the initial of his latest release. Although it may sound too communal, it must be said that cinemas in predominantly Muslim areas have reported the best advance booking for the film.

    Finally, given the grand opening, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Tere Naam would be Salman’s comeback vehicle. The film looks poised to succeed at the box-office, may be in a major way. If that happens, Salman would have a success to his credit after a long, long time. Independence Day may, perhaps, mark Salman’s freedom from failures and flops.

  9. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Komal Nahta on Big B

    He is the only actor who gave at least one hit every year for 14 consecutive years – from 1972 (Bombay To Goa) to 1985 (Mard).

    # No star has as many hits and super-hits to his credit as Amitabh Bachchan. Of the over 100 films in which he had full-length roles, more than 35 films have been either hits or super-hits! His list of hits: Bombay To Goa, Abhimaan, Namak Haraam, Zanjeer, Kasauti, Majboor, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Chupke Chupke, Deewaar, Sholay, Do Anjaane, Hera Pheri, Kabhi Kabhie, Adalat, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish, Khoon Pasina, Don, Ganga Ki Saugand, Trishul, Kasme Vaade, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Mr. Natwarlal, Suhaag, Dostana, Ram Balram, Barsaat Ki Ek Raat (Bengali version: Anusandhan), Laawaris, Naseeb, Yaarana, Kaalia, Khud-dar, Andhaa Kanoon, Coolie, Sharaabi, Geraftaar, Mard, Aaj Ka Arjun, Mohabbatein and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…Besides these, there were several other films which were successful but not hits.

  10. Doga
    Doga
    April 16, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Tere Naam got Final Verdict of BB(Above Average) by Komal Nahta.

    Though i like to call it Semi Hit. :)

    PS: The BOI numbers above were still in change process,as they were adding more distributer contacts.(as you see in some of other numbers above in the lists of Yakuza)

    The numbers they have right now on their website are pretty much consistent.

    Verdicts used to be Rock solid though now its mockery of sorts.

  11. Doga
    Doga
    April 17, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    Ach, Going by above comment of Nahta of 35+ Big B hits and what Yakuza has said in the other thread regarding older Verdicts at BOI being same as FI(as he himself and others were directly involved), seems like we need to reevaluate back to his lists, but story will pretty much remain the same even then.

    Anyways, all this gives us the general idea of how the films were classified by Komal, but if we indeed put each movie 2 steps ahead, then definitely we will get the similar ratings as to what we are used to today.

  12. rks
    rks
    April 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM
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