May 20, 2010 / 9:31 PM / 9 years ago

A Minute With: Brett Ratner and the Bollywood film "Kites"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood director Brett Ratner has “remixed” the Bollywood romance film “Kites” by shortening it, changing its music and adding sound effects.

The original version of “Kites” from director Anurag Basu opens on Friday, and Ratner’s edited down version of Basu’s film will open a week later. Ratner previously directed “X-Men: The Last Stand” and the three “Rush Hour” movies.

Reliance BIG Entertainment, the Indian company behind the film, hired Ratner to rework “Kites” after it had been shot, in hopes that his changes would draw a wider audience.

“Kites” is unusual for an Indian-produced film because it is set in the U.S. and Mexico. A Las Vegas hustler named J (Hrithik Roshan) falls in love with Mexican immigrant Natasha (Barbara Mori), who is engaged to Tony, the violent son of a casino owner. J and Natasha run away from Tony, who wants to kill them for their forbidden love.

The original version of “Kites” will play on 2,300 screens worldwide, with most of those in India. Ratner’s “remixed” American version will open in limited release May 28 on 80 screens, including in New York and Los Angeles.

Ratner spoke to Reuters about the remix and exposing people in the United States to Bollywod films.

Q: What was it about the movie that you really liked initially, on first seeing the original version?

A: “What I love is the chemistry between these two stars. They really have great chemistry and that’s something that you can’t create. The director didn’t do that, that just happened. And rarely do you have a movie where two characters work so well together.”

Q: How is this “remix” of “Kites” that you created different from the original?

A: “In a Bollywood movie, normally there’s like three or four different genres and it goes off on tangents and there are sub-plots. In this movie, I focused on the simple love story and I drove that all the way through the film. So there are the action sequences, if anything I cut the action sequences down. So you didn’t lose track of the love story, what the theme of the movie is, which is a forbidden love between two people who don’t speak the same language.”

Q: Having worked on this film, do you think there are real opportunities for Bollywood movies to take off in the U.S.?

A: “It’s not that they’ll necessarily take off, but I think they’re going to be introduced because of ‘Kites’ to a whole new audience that normally would never see a Bollywood movie. Because the intention of the movie is not something that I did. It’s something that the filmmakers did, they wanted to make a Bollywood movie that had an international appeal to it.

“So it was already inherently in the footage, but they just needed to go further with it. And culturally it’s hard to figure out what that is. It’s like when (Stanley) Kubrick would dub his movies internationally, he would have a local director direct the voice-over people. So it makes sense, it’s been done before.”

Q: What’s your sense of what Reliance, as an Indian conglomerate, wants to achieve in the United States?

A: “I think, half jokingly, India and China are kind of taking over the world. I think (Reliance is) a conglomerate and they want to kind of expand their horizons.”

Q: Do you get the sense that Reliance is trying to learn from Hollywood and apply those lessons to its own business?

A: “Yeah, like the Western world is too. This is an example of the globalization of film, where it’s not just Hollywood movies that are working everywhere in the world. It’s now Bollywood movies that are kind of working in the U.S.”

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Patricia Reaney

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