Little More Hollywood For American Audiences


Can you tell me why you felt the need to do a re-edit of Kites?

Kites is not a typical Bollywood movie in my opinion. They shot it in
United States. It was a western type of Indian movie. They didn’t go as far as
they could. Culturally they just didn’t do things differently. I didn’t change
the story. I didn’t change the integrity of the film. I changed the music. The
music I thought was excellent, but it didn’t translate.

Another thing that is different is that Indian movies don’t have as
much sound as ours. I don’t know if you have noticed that. They don’t use as
many sound effects. I made it feel like a big action love story with sound
design that is more American style and I changed the voices of the actors.

This to me is intriguing. There is somewhere at the back of your mind
an idea that there is something uniquely American or uniquely Hollywood in a

 Brett Ratner


Hollywood, I wouldn’t say American. I think it’s an opportunity the
same way there is the movie Slumdog Millionaire shot in India and I don’t know
how it worked in India, but it worked very well in America and internationally
it worked very well. I think I have done the opposite. I have taken an Indian
movie and I have made it a little more Hollywood for American audiences. What I
would like to do is take an Indian movie and incorporate American stars into an
Indian movie from the beginning.

I am intrigued by the fact that we translate film from one culture to
another instead of asking the audience to adapt to another culture.

The problem is this film in particular is just a love story, not necessarily
about the Indian culture. What I am saying is culturally there are some things
that just don’t translate. It’s something that you can’t explain. My movie Rush
, for instance, if you show it in Japan they laugh at everything that they
didn’t laugh at in America — you understand? I show the movie in
Italy. They
don’t laugh at all. You show in
France they
laugh only at the silly things. It’s hard to explain how audiences are going to
react. I am talking of the specific things that happen in Indian movies that
you cannot do in American movies. You can’t all of a sudden break into a dance.
You can’t break into a dance in a movie if it is not a musical.

Is the editing any different in your version of Kites?

I cut the movie from 2 hrs 20 minutes to 90 minutes. The story is the
same. Kites exists as it is. The Indian version has not been changed. In fact
they liked some of the stuff I did so much that they changed some of the Indian
version. But I didn’t do it. They did it. They just copied what I did, because
the director liked it so much.

If you give the same footage to 10 different directors they are going
to make 10 different movies. The thing is that I kept the integrity and I
respected the film that they made. If I didn’t like the original Kites I
wouldn’t have done this. But I liked it so much that I thought that it was
important to respect what they did. When they saw my version of the movie they
were jumping up with excitement.

Do you think this is a trend that it is something people would want to
do in the future?


It depends. I see the way the business is changing. There are big
theater chains that are screening just Indian movies. Reliance is opening
theaters in the United
. So I think the
globalization of films is in full effect right now and I think what is going to
happen is not necessarily what they did with my Jackie Chan movie or with the
Indian movie. What they are going to do is to introduce Indian actors to our
culture, to
Hollywood. You are going to see some Indian actors in Hollywood movies. I think you are going to
see some American actors in Indian movies. So it is going to open the doors for
a lot for the globalization of films.
Hollywood movies are the only movies that work in every country of the world.

Why are American movies popular? Is it because of the some sort of
“universal language” they develop?

It’s the language and also the way we make our movies. Kites is
probably the biggest budget Indian movie. We make our movies with $200 million
plus. The spectacle of American movie is what fascinates everyone. I am sure
when Star Wars came out, there was nothing like that in any other country of
the world. It brought American Hollywood cinema to the world. It’s just that we
make very impressive films.

Is it possible that we would lose the uniqueness of films and they
would all look alike everywhere in the world?

Never. I think local movies will always be there. What is fascinating
is that local movies in countries are starting to work more in the
United States. That’s what is exciting. 3 Idiots got $7 million in the U. S. That is
huge. That is the future. That is so
exciting because of the open mindedness in the business. Local filmmakers never
dreamed that this movie would be a success in the
United States.

Organically what is going to happen is that if you look in the Jackie
Chan movies before Rush Hour, those movies didn’t make more than $5 million at
the box office in the
United States. Then I put him in Rush Hour, which is an American movie but that has
Chinese culture in it, and it makes $250 million worldwide. So there is no
doubt in my mind that you can take an Indian star and an American star and put
them in a movie together and shoot in India or shoot in America or shoot
anywhere in the world and it can be a huge international hit and that is where
it is going in the future. Look at the pattern of what happened with Jackie
Chan. He never had a movie gross more than $30 million in the
United States. We made $30 million in the first weekend. So why was that? Because
his Chinese movies were being seen on a circuit in the
United States. It was cult following, but it opened the doors for much bigger


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