If success starts from the alphabet ‘S’, Rakesh Roshan would deny it hands down. For him though, ‘K’ has always been the word which would define success ever since his Khudgarz days. Thanks to a fan who wrote a letter to Rakesh while he was an actor and suggested him to make films as a producer and a director starting with ‘K’. There was no looking back for Roshan after he read the letter. Then followed hits and only hits, blockbusters and only blockbusters and Hrithik Roshan and only Hrithik Roshan. With his new film Kites being the talk of the town, Rakesh relishes some good memories about the alphabet ‘K’, talks about his star son, his conviction in Anurag Basu, the new find Barbara Mori, the talented Kangna Ranaut and why Bollywood is still a small pond where our industry is happy being in. All this with UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent – Devansh Patel. Oh! I forgot something…and his big quote – “I can vouch for Kites that not a single film in India is made up to the standard of this film.” (V)ouch!
Hrithik Roshan – The star son
Hrithik’s goal is not to cross over and do Hollywood films. No. That is not his goal. Our goal is to show to the world market that India can make good films too because we too have good actors and good technicians. If we succeed in Kites, and if there is an offer for Hrithik from the West, he isn’t going to leave India and settle down there. He might do one film to work with some better filmmakers out there. It will be a big pride for me and my family if Hrithik does a Hollywood film and with Kites, I am pushing him into the world market.
If we succeed in Kites, and if there is an offer for Hrithik from the West, he isn’t going to leave
India and settle down there
K – The superstition.
It’s not about being superstitious. As a producer, the first film I made was Aap Ke Deewane. Then I made Kaamchor and the third film was Jaag Utha Insaan and the fourth film was Bhagwaan Dada as a producer. Once a fan wrote to me that I should only start my films with the alphabet ‘K’ because all my films as an actor have done well. Like Khatta Meetha, Khubsoorat, Khel Khel Mein and Kaamchor and Khandaan. Then I made a film called Khudgarz and the same fan wrote to me saying that the film worked because I titled it with ‘K’. That’s how this fan mail stayed into my head for a long time, even till today.
Director v/s Director
Kites was first planned to be directed by me. I happened to be in some of the award functions and four names popped up every time I saw the best film categories – Munnabhai, Rang De Basanti, Krissh and Gangster. But somehow I was a little curious to know why a film like Gangster would fit into such nominations. So I saw the film and loved it. I was completely blown by Anurag Basu’s direction. He deserves a good break. I called him and asked him, “I want Hrithik to work with you. Have you got any good story?” Anurag said, “No Rakeshji. I make small films with small budgets. With Hrithik, I’ll need a bigger canvas.” Seeing his honesty, I told him, “I have a story, and if it touches you, and you think that you will do full justice to the film, then I want you to direct it.” Anurag wasn’t sure if I was willing to give him Kites to direct. After a month, Anurag came back with his own thoughts and a few changes and I was convinced that he will be the man to direct Kites.
There are two things. When I was making Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, I could’ve shot the same thing in Madh Island too. But I didn’t. The content would’ve been the same but what about the canvas? Canvas is not that I’m putting thousand dancers instead of ten dancers. That’s throwing away money. If it’s a desert, it has to be different. We have seen the Thar desert, but what if we get the desert from Mexico. That stays in your mind. The ambience has a local flavour.
We were looking out for a lot of girls who could speak Spanish. We were sure that we didn’t want any Indian actress because it would look fake. So I went to Los Angeles and met two to three actresses out there. But then I thought, I wouldn’t be comfortable to make Kites with such big names too. A friend of mine called me on my return to Mumbai and urged me to watch a Spanish film. There was Barbara Mori in the film. In the very first instinct, I liked her. She had to be my heroine. I showed it to Anurag and he too approved of her. Even Hrithik said, “This is the girl for Kites.” I flew from Mumbai to Los Angeles with Anurag Basu and she flew down from Mexico to Los Angeles. We narrated the script to her. She liked it initially. What we wanted was right in front of us. She didn’t know English at all and that’s what we wanted. An hour’s narration took me four hours to narrate to Barbara Mori. She was a keen listener and had tears in her eyes in-between the narration. Then she would laugh. Barbara immediately said ‘Yes’ to Kites.
Our Indian Film Industry has become stagnant. We don’t want to grow
I was never sure how Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish, or Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai would fare. But I was very sure that people will see all these films and quote, “Rakesh Roshan has made a good film.” With Kites, I expect the same, and that is the best compliment I get every time I make a good film. Success is not in our hands. Success is in our audiences hands. We have put our best foot forward with Kites and today I can vouch for this that no Indian film has been made on this standard.
I am thankful to Kangna Ranaut for accepting the role in Kites. She is a very honest girl, a thorough professional and would come up to me and say, “Rakeshji, Anurag ko bulao. Kya karna hain, kaise karna hain.” (Rakesh, please call Anurag and tell me what am I to do and how) Kangna’s English accent isn’t good. So we kept a tutor for her as her role is of a girl born and brought up in the United States of America. Kangna religiously learned how to speak English with an American accent.
Bollywood – A small pond
Our Indian Film Industry has become stagnant. We don’t want to grow. We want to use the same comedy formula in all our films, the same thriller angle in all our films. Yes, there are some good films coming out since a few years like Dev D, Love Sex Aur Dhoka, etc which are a good start. We are trying to change lanes and that’s very promising. But maybe we are not getting the success we want. Not to forget, we are changing the audiences mind too. If we give them all bikini girls, those days are gone.