Brett Ratner On Bollywood and 'Kites'

Published On: 2017-08-10

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Brett Ratner On Bollywood, 'Kites' And The 'Hottest' Girl He's Ever Seen



Source: MTV 

Date: May 22, 2010 

By: Eric Ditzian 



Talking to Brett Ratner is a wacky experience. A conversation with the director veers, minute to minute, across topics and insights and forceful opinions. Thoughts are dropped, others are picked up. Sentences morph into completely unrelated ones with nary a warning. It's a disorienting experience, but it's also pretty entertaining. That same thing might be said about his films, by both his fans and his detractors. Now comes something utterly different. Ratner has re-cut a new Bollywood movie called, "Kites" (out May 21). Yes, that's as strange as it sounds. But the movie is a delightfully charming one. It stars Hrithik Roshan and Bárbara Mori (he a huge Indian star, she a huge Latin American one) as two foreigners living in Las Vegas. She's about to marry his girlfriend's brother, when Roshan and Mori fall in love. What follows from there is part fairy tale, part action flick, part road movie. Ratner recently called up MTV News to talk about taking on what has been dubbed "Kites: The Remix." The director spoke about the challenges of re-cutting a movie for American audiences, the beauty of his stars and one particular thing about Roshan with which is completely obsessed. 



MTV: I have to confess when I heard that Brett Ratner was re-cutting a Bollywood movie, I was at a loss. Was this, like, a secret dream of yours? 


Brett Ratner: It was totally by accident. I'm in business with [Indian entertainment giant] Reliance, and the chairman brought this Indian producer to my house and he said, "Do you want to see my movie?" So I go see it and I'm like, "Whoa, I didn't expect that." I expected the whole movie to be singing and dancing, because that's what you think Bollywood movies are. Not that I'd put you through it, but the three hour movie was so much like a Western. And the producer said, "What would you do if you wanted to release the movie in the United States?" And then it hit me. The way I got the idea for "Rush Hour" was that I was seeing all these Jackie Chan Chinese movies that were getting released domestically but they would change the music, they would overdub the voices, they would cut the 20-minute fight sequences down to five minutes fights, and they kind of Americanized it and released it in 500 theaters. So I started pitching Reliance all these ideas. And the producer looks at me and goes, "Well, can you do that for us?" And I'm like, "Aw, well, really?" 



MTV: Sounds like you were a little reluctant... 


Brett Ratner: I kind of just fell into it. But then when I got into it, it was really cool. I was more Brett Ratner the producer, rather than Brett Ratner the director. The guy and the girl have great chemistry. They're amazing. What I would have done differently if I was in it from the beginning, I would have made the villain Mickey Rourke. If you had an American villain, it would have changed the whole movie. And not to knock any of the other actors, but that would have made the movie even more accessible. Is this a mainstream Hollywood movie? No. Is it a movie that will introduce a certain audience to Bollywood cinema? I think so. Because they had the idea of putting Bárbara Mori in it, who's hot as hell. I'm about to have lunch with her. I'm so excited. I've never met her before. 



MTV: She's great in the movie. 


Ratner: Yeah, and maybe it will open some eyes. Right now there are, like, 200 screens for Bollywood movies. In 10 years, there might be 1000. Indians might take over the world. Who knows? And people will be like, "Wow, Brett Ratner was the first one!" For me, it was an experiment. It's not my day job. It was a fun thing to do. It makes it more tolerant. I said, "Why are the Bollywood movies so long?" And they said for Indian audiences, the longer, the better. They want to get their money's worth. 



MTV: How extensively did you rework the material? Is it just a matter of subtracting the dance sequences, or are you changing tone, characterization — that sort of thing? 


Ratner: I haven't changed anything about the story. Tone, I was able to change, because if you look at Bollywood movies, if it's drama, it gets pushed too far into melodrama. Sometimes that's because of the dancing, sometimes it's the performances. And if it's comedy, it goes very broad. So I just pulled it back. I got Graeme Revell, an American composer. The Indian music is really cool and you see what they're going for, but I pulled it back so you don't feel like you're forced to feel that feeling. And then all the voices. You had Bollywood actors doing the cops who are supposed to be from Nevada. So I got American actors. 



MTV: The remixed version still retains that Bollywood core though.


Ratner: Exactly. And I was surprised by the action sequences. This is the biggest budget Indian movie ever. What I took out were action sequences that were really cool and really well done, but they're stuff you see a lot on American TV but that you wouldn't see in a blockbuster action feature. We know what's cliché because we're American, but to Bollywood audiences, they love that, they've never seen that. 



MTV: Let's talk about Bárbara and Hrithik. 


Ratner: The sexuality between them! I was shocked when I found that stuff in the footage. They shot it but they had no intention of using it in the Indian version. She's the hottest girl I've ever seen. Jesus Christ! 



MTV: Do you think either of them has breakout potential in the US? 


Ratner: She is like Salma Hayek. She could absolutely be in an American movie. And by the way, did you notice that he has a sixth finger? 



MTV: I can't say that I did. 


Ratner: Go watch my movie again. He has six fingers on his hand and it's the freakiest thing. He came to my house for dinner and I could not stop staring at his finger. I actually asked him about it. He has two thumbs. It's the freakiest thing ever. I go, "What's going on? Can't you just cut that off?" And he goes, "No, in Indian culture, whatever you're born with, you keep." I was like, "Whoa, this guy is good-looking with a perfect body and three thumbs!" And it's just like an appendage. You could cut it and his hand would look normal. He has an extra thumb! It's the freakiest thing I've ever seen. 



MTV: I don't know where to go from here. 


Ratner: Listen, the whole thing was fun for me. I'm a guy who has the worst ADD. I just want to keep the movie moving. I don't think this is going to breakout like "Rush Hour." But it was a cool experiment. They didn't have to put my name on it. It's not like I'm driving people to the theaters. Quentin [Tarantino] is putting his name all over Tony Jaa movies from Thailand. What I'm doing is nothing new.






A Minute With : Brett Ratner and the Bollywood film "Kites"



Source: Reuters 

By: Alex Dobuzinskis 

Date: May 20, 2010 



Hollywood director Brett Ratner has "remixed" the Bollywood romance film "Kites" by shortening it, changing its music and adding sound effects. The original version of "Kites" from director Anurag Basu opens on Friday, and Ratner's edited down version of Basu's film will open a week later. Ratner previously directed "X-Men: The Last Stand" and the three "Rush Hour" movies. Reliance BIG Entertainment, the Indian company behind the film, hired Ratner to rework "Kites" after it had been shot, in hopes that his changes would draw a wider audience. "Kites" is unusual for an Indian-produced film because it is set in the U.S. and Mexico. A Las Vegas hustler named J (Hrithik Roshan) falls in love with Mexican immigrant Natasha (Barbara Mori), who is engaged to Tony, the violent son of a casino owner. J and Natasha run away from Tony, who wants to kill them for their forbidden love. The original version of "Kites" will play on 2,300 screens worldwide, with most of those in India. Ratner's "remixed" American version will open in limited release May 28 on 80 screens, including in New York and Los Angeles. Ratner spoke to Reuters about the remix and exposing people in the United States to Bollywood films. 



Q: What was it about the movie that you really liked initially, on first seeing the original version? 


A: "What I love is the chemistry between these two stars. They really have great chemistry and that's something that you can't create. The director didn't do that, that just happened. And rarely do you have a movie where two characters work so well together." 



Q: How is this "remix" of "Kites" that you created different from the original? 


A: "In a Bollywood movie, normally there's like three or four different genres and it goes off on tangents and there are sub-plots. In this movie, I focused on the simple love story and I drove that all the way through the film. So there are the action sequences, if anything I cut the action sequences down. So you didn't lose track of the love story, what the theme of the movie is, which is a forbidden love between two people who don't speak the same language." 



Q: Having worked on this film, do you think there are real opportunities for Bollywood movies to take off in the U.S.? 


A: "It's not that they'll necessarily take off, but I think they're going to be introduced because of 'Kites' to a whole new audience that normally would never see a Bollywood movie. Because the intention of the movie is not something that I did. It's something that the filmmakers did, they wanted to make a Bollywood movie that had an international appeal to it. "So it was already inherently in the footage, but they just needed to go further with it. And culturally it's hard to figure out what that is. It's like when (Stanley) Kubrick would dub his movies internationally, he would have a local director direct the voice-over people. So it makes sense, it's been done before." 



Q: What's your sense of what Reliance, as an Indian conglomerate, wants to achieve in the United States? 


A: "I think, half jokingly, India and China are kind of taking over the world. I think (Reliance is) a conglomerate and they want to kind of expand their horizons." 



Q: Do you get the sense that Reliance is trying to learn from Hollywood and apply those lessons to its own business? 


A: "Yeah, like the Western world is too. This is an example of the globalization of film, where it's not just Hollywood movies that are working everywhere in the world. It's now Bollywood movies that are kind of working in the U.S."