`Kites' may open global skies for Indian movies

May 18, 2010 Arun Kumar

Washington, May 18 (IANS) Set for simultaneous release Friday on over 2,000 screens worldwide, including 200 in North America, "Kites", starring Hrithik Roshan and Mexican star Barbara Mori, may well open the global movie market to Indian films.

"If 'Kites' does even five percent well of what we have thought, well, we have opened the door, not for me and my film, but for many young filmmakers in India," producer Rakesh Roshan - and Hritik's father - told IANS in an phone interview from New York.

"They have good ideas, but they are not as good as producers because they are scared that 'No, no, this will not work'," he said. "So once you have a bigger territory globally and have an audience to see it, then you can take a chance to make a film like that."

Shot completely on location in Las Vegas, Sante Fe and Los Angeles, a re-worked English language version of "Kites", presented by A-list Hollywood director Brett Ratner, will open in several major markets for the Memorial Day holiday weekend beginning May 28.

Ratner, who offered to re-edit the English version of the film to attune it "to US sensibilities" after watching the print after a casual dinner conversation at his house in Los Angeles, "made the film a little crispier, a littler racier and a little faster", said Roshan.

He said it was all his idea to cast Barbara Mori, "a very good actor, a very fine looking girl, a very stunning looking girl" after watching "My Brother's Wife", a Mexican film that he "loved very intensely".

So director Anurag Basu and Rakesh Roshan went to Los Angeles to meet her. "She was very excited about the script and the screenplay. And then she was there in the film," said Roshan, who thinks she's par excellence.

Casting Barbara was no gimmick for Rakesh Roshan. He would not comment on "those films" where foreign actresses were just one of the characters. "But here my leading lady is the main protagonist of the film. Getting some girls and some character actors in one reel or two scenes will not really make a difference."

He also dismissed the controversy about some explicit footage in the English version of the film in Indian media. "No, there is nothing. When I told them there is no topless scene, they printed one photograph of a backless scene," Roshan said. "A backless and a topless scene are two different visions absolutely."

So how did he think of "Kites"? To make a film to release globally "I thought the best story to pick up is a love story. And when kites fly they don't know who is holding the string - an Indian, an American or a Mexican".

The Mexican kite girl and the Indian boy "don't speak each other's language and still they fall in love and we show that language is no barrier. Love has no language".

Roshan thinks "Kites" will do well among non-Indian audiences too. "My gut feeling is that whenever you go out in a different path and make a film and make it honestly and put your heart and soul in it, audiences do accept it."

With many Bollywood films tackling unusual subjects, Roshan thinks Indian audiences have "grown up". "What has happened till now is that most of the filmmakers underestimated the audience. They feel, 'No, they will not understand'. But I feel today's generation is far ahead than what we think."

Roshan, who has for once handed over the directorial reins of a film starring his son to another director, said: "It just happened on the spur of the moment."

He liked Basu's "Gangster" and wanted him to make a film with Hrithik.

Basu thought Rakesh Roshan was joking when he asked him to direct the movie "because I have nothing to prove. The only thing is we have to make a good film for Hrithik. It's my banner. So either I direct it or you direct it."

And does he see Hrithik crossing over to Hollywood? "I haven't made this film to launch him in Hollywood. I have made the film to show the global world how good an actor he is," Roshan said.

"And if a good character or a good role comes to him by a good director... doing an Indian film or doing a Hollywood film is one and the same thing."

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