Anurag Basu has already carved a niche for himself with movies like Murder, Gangster – A Love Story and Life… In A Metro. However, his first big film is the forthcoming Hrithik Roshan starrer Kites.
Basu is excited as well as nervous about the film, which is an international love story and is all set to release on 21 May.
The director shares his excitement and apprehension with Businessofcinema.com.
This is you first big film per se. How are you feeling right now?
Whenever we make a film, we always think that it should be better than our previous film. I have put in my best and now that the film is releasing, I am very nervous. I can’t explain the feeling, it’s the same feeling like when I was getting married or when my first baby was about to be born. It’s mixed emotions, when I see the posters I feel very happy but at the same time I am really nervous.
How did Kites happen?
Rakesh Roshan had not watched my film Gangster, thinking it was a B grade film but when he did watch it one day, he loved it. He called me up and told me that he loved the screenplay and script and then asked me if I had a script for Hrithik. I was really taken aback. I thought that he was asking me to write for him. But then he told me that he would like me to direct it. He gave me the idea for the story, at that time I was working on Metro. After that, I met him at IIFA and he asked me whether I had thought about the script. It was only then that I took it seriously and I wrote my first draft on my way back to Mumbai.
Did you have creative differences?
I would not call them creative differences but we had a lot of arguments in the scripting stage, which is very natural. I had a producer who was creatively involved and that helped. Half the battle was won when they said OK to the film.
How was the experience of working with a big actor like Hrithik Roshan?
He never made me feel like he was a superstar. He was just like any other team member in the unit. We shared a very good rapport. I had heard stories that he was a perfectionist and he was very particular about minor details and I was a little worried but, he has been a pleasure to work with. I had requested him not to watch the video assist while shooting and he didn’t. He trusted me completely. He is very honest, obedient and I would love to work with him again.
How did you cast Barbara Mori?
When I decided on a Mexican, Spanish actress, I went on the internet and searched. There I got her name along with a few others. I had her film My Brother’s Wife in our library. When I saw it, I remembered that I had seen another film of hers called Inspiration. So she became my first choice.
Barbara Mori has said that one of her dance sequence has been deleted from the film probably because she did not dance well. Is that true?
(Laughs) Really! Did she say that? Well, it’s not because of that. Barbara is a good dancer, it’s just that sometimes we get carried away and shoot certain scenes even when it’s not required and realize it later that it was not really needed. So we cut that part out.
Why has Kangana Ranauat not been promoted as much as Hrithik and Barbara. There have been rumors that she was annoyed about it. Is it true?
Kangana has acted in most of my films, but while working on Kites, I had not spoken to her for a while. Then she called me one day and asked me what I was working on? So I told her that I needed a Spanish girl for my next film, then she asked me whether I needed an Indian girl too. I said yes but the role is very small. She said she would do it.
I am glad she did because she made my life easy. She is not annoyed at all but she will be if I don’t take her in my next film. About her not being in the promos, let me tell you, that if I would have shown Kangana in the promos or teasers, then it would have been misleading and people would think that the film is a love triangle, which it is not. Kangana has a guest appearance in the film.
With Kites releasing in Hindi and English do you think Bollywood films have finally arrived globally?
As new generation directors, we all have this hunger to be recognized globally. However, we are far from being global. I won’t say Kites will change everything, but it’s a step to make Indian films global and to lure non-Hindi speaking audience to experience the film. That was the drive behind making this film.
I’m hoping the film is not only liked by the Indian audience but it also appeals to the international audience. Having said that, we didn’t start making the film keeping in mind language barriers or cultural barriers, we just made the film because we believed in it. BIG Pictures saw the film and thought that it had an international appeal, so we decided to make it in English as well.
What is the length of the film?
The international version of the film, is shorter than the Hindi version. The Hindi version is two hours while the English version is one and half hours long. Ideally, I wanted to have the same length for both the movies. But it’s a norm internationally to have 90 minutes 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. There is no song in the English version, only some music montage.
What are your plans ahead?
I will be making a film with Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and another female lead next, which will again be a love story and besides that, I will be producing a show for a television channel.