Brett Ratner, Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori interview

As they come together to promote The Remix, Luke nabs some time with Brett Ratner, Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori

We may not have seen a Brett Ratner film in cinemas since 2007’s Rush Hour 3, but that doesn’t mean he’s been putting his feet up. One project that’s been keeping him busy is Kites: The Remix, a Bollywood film re-edited and re-mixed under his supervision. Ahead of the film’s release in cinemas this Friday, we talk to Brett and the film’s stars, Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, about how this collaboration came to be.

I enjoyed the film.  And I have to admit I haven’t seen many Bollywood films before.

Brett Ratner: See, that’s what I like.

Was that the intention, to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise see it?

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BR: Yes, introduce people who normally wouldn’t see a Bollywood movie. That’s the audience who’s different. It opens it up. It opens up the Indian market, it opens up the international market. It’s great, it really is, and that’s why I wanted to be a part of it. It was an innovative, ground-breaking idea that they had, which was, before I was even involved, to make a Bollywood movie that had a western appeal. It had an international appeal It wasn’t just in that box that certain local films get stuck in.

And the film, the second half especially, feels very much like a couple-on-the-run chase movie. It’s like Thelma & Louise

BR: Bonnie and Clyde …

Yeah, and a bit of Rush Hour too, that odd couple aspect. Did you feel that American influence even when you were making it, before Brett came on board?

Hrithik Roshan: You know, we love to categorise or label everything in our lives: people, movies. But I think that those are just the decorations. They, of course, work. They’re great, but that’s not the thrust of the film. The film, from my perspective, is just a very simple, straightforward sweet love story. 

It has all these things: the action, it’s fast paced, it thrills you, it makes you laugh. But from my perspective as an actor who has been through the journey of Kites, that’s how I see it. It’s a love story.  And everything that happens in the film, which is what I love about it, is a natural progression of the love story. So, where there’s a chase or whatever, it’s not being thrust into it.

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BR: It’s not contrived at all.  You walk out of that movie really feeling something for these guys. And that’s a movie that works, in my opinion. You don’t feel like you’re being manipulated. 

This is so honest and it’s because their chemistry and the characters they created just work so well together. And you walk out of there and it feels so good. 

I just remember being in the edit room with Hrithik and just watching it and going, ‘God!’ And that’s what I was hoping, that I could stay true to what their intention was without messing with that. That’s what works so well.

HR: I was so afraid. [All laugh] “Forty minutes! You’ve cut out forty minutes!”

So, did you get involved once they’d finished the film, or was it while they were shooting?

BR: Oh, I wish. I just happened to see the finished movie.It was fantastic. Hrithik’s father [the film’s producer, Rakesh Roshan] asked me, “What would you do to the movie if you were going to release it in the United States? Is there anything you would do?”

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And I just started rattling off all these ideas, because I was inspired by it. I just thought, Wow!  I said, “Oh, I would shorten this, and then I would maybe lose that, and then I would change the music here, and then I would do this.” 

And then he said, “Would you do it?”  I’m like, “What?” So, it just happened. I thought it was a great piece of work. I have a day job, right? I just thought, ‘This is a special movie, I want to be a part of it.  And I’m happy just to be part of it.’

I’m sure I saw a cameo from you in there, though.  Was that a reflection of you in the opening section?

BR: Don’t tell anybody. It was a CGI…no, no, no. I’m happy you saw me in the movie. But that was my personality…

It was someone who looked like you?

BR: He must have been a very handsome man. [all laugh]

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How did you both react to the remix? Like you said, it’s 40 minutes shorter.

HR: I loved it.

But there’s no dance sequence, which for many is a staple of a Bollywood film. Did it feel very different from the film you thought you were making?

HR: Well, you know not having the dance sequence, as I said, those are all the decorations. They might earn you a brownie point, but it’s not the thrust of the film.

What Brett did to the film was he interpreted the film in the context of a certain western audience. What he did to it was something we could never have a perspective of because we’re from another world. So, we had to trust him with it, and we’re absolutely delighted with the result.

Barbara Mori: But the soul and heart is there.

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HR: And yet it’s a different pace. It’s a different ride, with the same heart. Which is amazing. I’m still asking, I ask myself a lot of times, ‘Why would someone like Brett Ratner [Brett laughs] who’s one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, why would he take out four months of his life and give it to some people from this far away land?’

The only thing that I can conclude in my head, because I haven’t really asked him personally, is that he’s so passionate about movies. He’s got such a strong love for what he does and for cinema that he could take out four months of his life without any personal benefit or advantage and do this. So, he came into our lives like an angel. But I think every film has a destiny, and it was kind of our destiny.

BR: This was meant to be. They didn’t try to find me

HR: Yeah, it just happened.

BR: It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s get Brett to do this, he made Rush Hour.‘ It just happened over a dinner. And I’m just interested in movies. I’m obsessed with movies, and when I see a good movie I appreciate it. And when I saw this movie I said, “There’s something special in this movie, and I want to be a part of it.”

HR: Secretly, I suspect that it has something to do with Barbara Mori. [all laugh]

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Brett Ratner, Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, thank you very much.

Kites: The Remix is released in cinemas on Friday 28th May.