Is it true that you were actually hesitant to take up Kites, when your dad narrated the subject?
To tell you the truth, when my dad narrated the story to me, I just got an idea about the subject, but was not quite sure whether it would be good or not. My knee was in very bad shape at the time and I could not even walk then. In fact, I was so frustrated that I had even thought that I should take up an alternate career like say singing or direction since I was doubtful whether I would be back on my feet. I thought that I could no more jump or dance and I did not want to take the risk of doing a film as an actor because I was shattered to the core.
Did you ask dad why he wanted Anurag Basu to direct the film instead of himself?
Yes. When I asked him why, dad told me that he wanted Anurag Basu to direct the film because he is already 60 and has done all kinds of films till date and was very keen to learn what the perspective of the new generation of directors like Anurag Basu would be on a subject like this.
Is it true that Anurag"s screenplay appealed to you instantly?
Dad asked Anurag to work on the screenplay and when he showed me the screenplay, I could see Anurag"s strong vision. I could see myself actually in all the scenes he had visualized in the screenplay. Interestingly, Anurag told me that he had also seen me doing all that he wanted in the screenplay. I felt that God himself up there had given me the sign and jumped up with my hands and feet and was happy that after eight months after the tragedy had happened and I had my knee problem, a subject like the one Anurag had visualized hit my heart instantly.
Did you like Anurag"s screenplay more than your dad"s idea?
Yes. Anurag"s sensitivity and the language of the film were so real that I actually fell in love with the film. I felt that it was exactly my kind of film. Though it was hard for me to understand dad"s vision when he narrated the story, I could instantly identify with what Anurag had visualized as far as the film was concerned, as the screenplay writer.
How has your professional relationship been with your dad as an actor?
I am thankful that my dad has no ego at all, right from the time when I was doing his film Kaho Na Pyar Hai. While doing Kaho Na Pyar Hai, I had told my dad that then character of Raj that I had played in the film should have a pair of spectacles and also be clean shaven. Though dad did not listen to me initially and wanted the hero to be with his stubble, he agreed, because I pushed him by convincing him that the hero needed to be clean shaven. Some times I am wrong too. Some times dad convinces me too.
What have you learnt from your dad, as far as creativity is concerned?
I have learnt from my dad that you have to first kill your ego in creativity, because there is no truth in the whole world except each individual point of view, especially as far as filmmaking is concerned. I would say that, as a dad, he keeps me strong and gives me no choice. What I like about my dad is that he is still passionate about his work. I am glad because I am aware of the fact that there are several fathers and sons who fight and have separated.
How did you find Anurag Basu as a director?
I found Anurag, too, to be a simple guy and hence we could be on the same page while shooting for Kites. I should say that my comfort level was actually more with Anurag than my dad because he is of my age and hence my friend.
What home work did you do to prepare for your role in Kites?
I play the role of the street smart Jay who is born and brought up in Los Angeles. My home work was to do no home work for the film. We shot for the film in North Mexico which is surrounded by magnetic mountains, which have the capacity to heal. When I started shooting for the film, my fears were put to rest and I could not only jump but also dance and my knee problem was solved.
Was it quite tough to zero in on Barbara Mori as the leading lady for Kites?
We – my dad, Anurag and I, had looked at almost 100 faces for the role that Barbara played in the film but we were not sure, because apart from beauty we needed a graceful girl with dignity. You see beauty also has its own pitfall. It is about the way you smile. We discovered Barbara only on the last day. Till then we had short listed three other girls. I was lucky we found Barbara because Anurag"s vision got an extra impetus with her and also both Anurag and Barbara could empathize with one another because both of them had braved cancer and survived to live.
What is Kites all about?
All that I"d state is that Kites is a universal love story with which every one will be easily able to identify all over the world. What happens when two Kites are together and at loggerheads is what the film is all about. It can be dangerous too. Every film has its own destiny. Jay is the biggest hero that I have played till date because he is an ordinary man.
Is it true that you had to unlearn whatever you had learnt as an actor for Kites?
As an actor, I got a lot of help also from a mountain girl like Kangana Ranaut. I had to actually unlearn whatever I had learnt as an actor in the last ten years when I set out to act in Kites under the direction of Anurag Basu. Both Barbara and Kangana helped me discover a new part of my art.
In what way are the Hrithik Roshan of Kaho Na Pyar Hai and the Hrithik Roshan of Kites different?
The Hrithik Roshan of Kaho Na Pyar Hai ten years ago was running to finish line as if a dog was about to bite him, because he had to win and had no choice whatsoever but today he runs because he enjoys running though he knows that the dog is not chasing him and also there is no finishing line.
What is your goal now as an actor?
My goal is to do something more meaningful and honest, whether it is our own film Kites, Sanjay Leela Bhansali"s film Guzaarish or for that matter Zoya"s film Zindagi Na Mile Dobara, which are in my kitty as of now.
There is a compliant against you that you do very few films!
Hey, I'd want to do ten films a year, but I am not able to. It isn"t a choice, but the problem is that just one film itself takes a year for me to complete. Take for example my film Jodhaa Akbar. I was initially asked to dole out just 80 days for the film but eventually I ended up giving as many as 200 days for the film, because an actor like me, a film that I set out to do becomes my film and not just the producer"s film and I cannot just abandon it by leaving it mid-way, especially since all the directors that I have worked with till date are like my dad, including the younger ones whether it is Zoya, Farhan, or for that matter even Anurag Basu. Now I have become smarter and stronger and what"s more wiser and have decided to put everything in writing on paper even before the film goes on the floors.
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