'Kites' a step to make Indian films global : Anurag Basu

Published On: 2017-06-11

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‘Kites’ a step to make Indian films global : Anurag Basu



Source: The Indian 

Date: May 13, 2010 



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.






Kites : Anurag Basu



Source: Screen India 


While I was making Life In A…Metro Rakesh Roshan gave me a story idea and told me to work on it. I forgot all about it, till I met him at the IIFA Awards in Yorkshire, and he asked me “Kuch kiya kya? We’re serious about this project.” Guiltily, I started working on the return flight itself! As we kept meeting to brainstorm over the script, it struck me that Kites was my most expensive film. So I had to be that much more responsible! I’m always asked whether working with Roshan was tough or easy, and my answer is always the same – our approach is very different – he’s super- organised and I work best disorganised! But we’re totally in sync with what the end result should be! 


Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan are an enviable father-son team, and every film they’ve done together has been a blockbuster. Kites is the first Filmkraft film starring Hrithik in the lead that is not directed by his father, but by an outsider. So of course, there is pressure, as there are expectations. But I think as a team, we have worked well together and delivered a great film. What else can I say, except that by the end of the shooting, we had learnt all the Spanish bad words from Barbara and she’d picked up all the Hindi abuses from us! Guess that’s what international collaboration is all about! THE BUZZ 


Hrithik Roshan is not only making his debut as a singer with the film’s title-track, but has also given creative inputs for the trance track Fire. 






I have this weakness for Spanish girls : Anurag Basu



Source: Santabanta 

Date: May 13, 2010 



Is Kites the costliest film of yours till date? 


I confess that Kites is the costliest film that I have made ever since I had started my career with Saaya. Till date, whether it was Saaya or Murder or for that matter Gangster or Life In A Metro, any of the films that I directed must not have touched more than four or six crores. In fact, meri chaadar mere paironse aaj tak bahut chote the. I always used to plan the budget of my film even when I was writing the subject. When Rakesh Roshan asked me to direct Kites for him, I asked him what the budget of the film ought to be. However, he told me very graciously not to think about the budget when I set out to write the subject of Kites. Mujhe shuruwaat mein hi chhoot mil gayi thi. 



What was your reaction when Rakesh Roshan called you over to his office? 


When Rakesh Roshan asked me to come over to his office, I actually thought that he wanted me just as a script writer and I did not even dream that he wanted me to direct his film. It sunk in only later that he wanted me to write as well as direct Kites for his banner. I should confess that I was pampered to the hilt by Rakesh Roshan. Till date, I had never shot for more than 60 days for any of my film. To tell the truth, I was initially scared to tell Rakesh Roshan that I needed 60 to 90 days to shoot for Kites and hence I asked him in how many days we should wrap up the shoot for Kites and he told me to take 120 days. I was very relieved. 



How tough was it to weave a story around the actor for the first time? 


Till Kites, I have always written the story first and thought of the casting only after the script was ready. However Kites was an exception to my rule. When Rakesh Roshan asked me whether I had a story for Hrithik Roshan, I was game immediately because I thought that I should now cash in on the fact that I had an International star like Hrithik Roshan. A director tends to be greedy when there are a lot of resources at his disposal when he sets out to make a film. I told myself not to let myself get into the flow, because it was very essential for me to maintain my grip on my story and not lose it because of opulence. 



To what extent did Rakesh Roshan interfere with you as a producer? 


There was no interference at all from a senior film maker like Rakesh Roshan though he is the producer of Kites. If you remember, I had walked out of my first film as a director when there was interference from Ekta Kapoor and my career could have come to a screeching halt if Mr. Mahesh Bhatt had not come to my rescue at that point of time, and I was on the right track with films like Saaya and Murder. All said and done, I'd state that it is only when there is a lot of discussion between the producer and the director that your script becomes fool proof. 



Is it true that you cast Kangana Ranaut in Kites because you consider her your lucky mascot?


Though Kangana Ranaut has always been my lucky mascot right from the time that I had made Gangster with her, I did not consider her at all for Kites, because she has done bigger roles and I did not want to waste her in a small role in a film where already there were bigger roles for bigger stars like Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori. However, Kangana kept on calling me up and asking me why I was not casting her in my film. What touched me was the fact that she knew the length of the role and yet wanted to be a part of the film. I am grateful to her because she has done this only because of me. Kangana allotted ten days for the rehearsals for the dance though she is only doing a guest appearance in the film. 



Why did you think of zeroing in on Barbara Mori? 


We needed a Spanish actress in the romantic lead opposite Hrithik Roshan because it is an international cross culture love story. We could have cast a Russian girl or a Japanese girl too but then I have this weakness for Spanish girls like Salma Hayek. We had auditioned about a hundred and odd girls but decided to zero in on Barbara Mori when we saw Barbara Mori's pictures on the internet and read all about her. In fact, I made it a point to see her film My Brother's Wife and was impressed by her performance in it. 



Was it easy to convince Barbara to agree to do the film? 


Rakesh Roshan and I, with Hrithik Roshan, went from India to Los Angeles, while Barbara Mori came from Mexico to Los Angeles. At that time, she knew just 10% of the English that she knows now and hence my narration of the subject went on for almost four and a half hours. By the time the narration was over, both Rakeshji and I could feel that she could connect with the story. When the narration was over, she just said that she wanted to do the film and asked us to deal the rest with her manager. It was quite daring on the part of Barbara to have immediately accepted our offer to be cast in Kites because she is a huge star in Mexico and Spain. Barbara did not find singing and dancing in Hindi films very attractive. Before I met her, she had seen my film Life In A Metro to know what kind of a director I was and hence her knowledge of Bollywood was restricted to just that. We showed her Jodha Akbar after she was on board, and she found it to be too long. 



To what extent could you empathise with Barbara because she too had battled against cancer successfully like you? 


I did not cast Barbara Mori just because she had also battled against cancer and emerged victorious like me. (Laughs). I did not know that she had fought against cancer till she confessed to me that she had a tough time managing to prevent her hair from falling because she has had to wage a battle with cancer. I told her that I too had a similar problem and did not have hair on my head till Gangster was being made. Our bonding became stronger after that since we could empathise with one another.







Anurag Basu sets rumors to rest



Date: May 13, 2010 

By: Susan Jose 



Anurag Basu,director of Kites, clarifies the many rumors that portrayed him having a bad equation with Rakesh Roshan, Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan. As the release date of Kites inches closer rumors are flying fast and hard that Anurag Basu had huge fights with Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan, over creative differences. There were talks also of how the relationship between Anurag and Kangana Ranaut, his blue-eyed girl has changed…which is supposedly the reason for her 'short' role in Kites. The director gives his version behind all these stories. 



Hrithik threw tantrums before you: 


Not at all. I never felt like I was working with a superstar. He never threw tantrums or behaved like a snob. I had a great rapport with him. You know, to be honest I myself had heard that Hrithik is a die-hard professional and gets finicky about the minute of details. So I just told him, Hrithik just trust me. From that day on Hrithik never came up to the monitor to see the shots at all! Then one fine day he came up to me and asked- Anurag can I see the monitor I want to check out my dance moves. I said – yeah sure why are you taking my permission. To this Hrithik replied with a confused expression – I thought you were the one who told me to trust you and leave it at that. To this I laughed out loud and and said, yes, exactly, I just want you to trust me. But that doesn't mean you can't see yourself in the monitor …you don't need to take my permission for that, you can check out your moves anytime you want to! 



Kangana is not much in the promos because your relationship with her has gone sour. 


Kangana Ranaut has always been a part of my movies. She's very comfortable with me to keep mum and be miffed about certain things. Anything, she'd come straight away and clarify it with me. When she came to know I'm working with the Roshans for a new film she said- Hey are you making a new film Anurag. Am I in it? I said Kangana the requirement is of a Spanish speaking girl. She would be the lead. She was like is there any role at all of an Indian girl. I replied yes but it's a cameo. She said – Common now, put my name for guest appearance, I'm doing it. So you see her role is a cameo role and the promotions have to give an impression of just that. If she would get more footage in the promotional videos then it would give out the impression that the story is a love triangle which it's not. 



You were insecure working with Rakesh Roshan : 


In fact, for me, it was an honor to get to work with such an experienced film maker. When I worked alone, there were certain moments of self-doubt, where I questioned myself have I done this thing in a good way? Could it have been better? But here, during the scripting stage, many of my ideas were questioned not just by Rakesh ji but also by Duggu (Hrithik).This is where, yes, I think, there were arguments, loud ones at times, but not fights. But it was good because when I had convinced them my point of view and they understood, it just made my idea all the more valid. And all the arguments made the script's creativity more viable. It was a nice feeling to move away from a dictator kind of filmmaking to a democratic kind of film making (laughs).