By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, June 18 (IANS) Producer-Director Rakesh Roshan has a lot riding on the much-awaited "Krissh", his sequel to Koi...Mil Gaya". Made with a huge budget of about Rs.500 million, Roshan says the film's special effects are like nothing seen before in India.
"Krissh" is to be released either on June 23 or on June 30. The stickler for details that he is, Rakesh Roshan is busy with the film's post-production and says he will decide on the release only after the special effects are complete.
"If you liked the visual effects in 'Koi...Mil Gaya', you'll find them far better in 'Krissh'. I don't think audiences have seen anything like this in Hindi films," says the soft-spoken director.
Rekha who was stunningly credibile as Hrithik Roshan's mother in "Koi...Mil Gaya" returns in the sequel "Krissh" as his grandmother.
"She's the only link between the two films, the only character from 'Koi...Mil Gaya' who recurs in 'Krissh'. Audiences will love her in the film," Rakesh states.
Though Rekha plays the grand-mom, there's no overt aging involved.
"No, no. Rekha has just greyed her hair slightly, that's it. No more aging was required. After all Rekha played a young mother in 'Koi...Mil Gaya'. So she's a young grandmother in 'Krissh', says Rakesh.
He refutes any parallels between "Krissh" and other films about super heroes like "Superman" or "Spiderman".
"'Superman', 'Spiderman', 'Hanuman'... they have their own distinct identities.
'Krissh' is like none of the above. There are no special effects for the stunts. You'll see Hrithik doing all the stunts on his own. We haven't used any effects to show Hrithik's character's special powers. The film will be just one of its kind, where the hero with super-powers doesn't resemble any comic book heroes."
"Krissh" carries forward the story from "Koi...Mil Gaya".
"My incentive to do 'Krissh' came after I saw 'Lord of the Rings'. If they could do an elaborate fantasy trilogy, why couldn't I do a film that continues the story from 'Koi...Mil Gaya'? he quips.
In "Krissh", Hrithik plays the son of the character he played in "Koi...Mil Gaya".
"That's right," says Rakesh. "I was told sequels don't do well in India. It's not like that. Any well-made film runs. How does it matter to the audience if a film is related to something else?"
With the film's whopping budget of about Rs.400-500 million, Rakesh Roshan has much at stake. The film is going to be released either on June 23 or on June 30.
"I'll take a call in a week. I'm waiting for all my special effects to come. I don't want to announce the release until the F-X is completely done. I want the effects in 'Krissh' to be just right. I don't think audiences have seen anything like this in Hindi films."
So far Indian cinema has lagged behind Hollywood in terms of spectacle.
"That's because we never have budgets of $100 million and $200 million for special effects like in 'King Kong' and 'Superman'. We can't play around with our visuals as much as them. But given the financial constraints, we've achieved quite a lot in 'Krissh'. If you liked the visual effects in 'Koi...Mil Gaya', you'll find them far better in 'Krissh'," Rakesh asserts.
As for his whopping Rs.400-500 million budget, he says: "Whatever I've spent is visible on screen. I haven't edited anything. I don't believe in over-shooting or bad planning. I make only one film every two-three years and I plan every detail in advance. Each location and its requirement are decided in advance. When I actually shoot I'm relaxed."
Asked how trendy "Krissh" is, he replies: "If you don't have a good story to tell all these visual effects will go for a toss. In that sense my formula hasn't changed. A solid storyline and strong emotions are always a film's backbone. But of course we've to upgrade the technique. That's the main difference between my 'Koyla' and 'Krissh'."
But he isn't nervous. Rakesh has recently moved into a sprawling new office complex. He knows he's on to a novel concept in "Krissh". "Let's see if audiences like what we've done."
Rakesh hasn't seen failure in a long time. "Our last supposedly unsuccessful film was 'Koyla' and that made as much money as hit films do today," he points out.
Would he consider falling into the current remake trend?
"Not me! Some filmmakers want to go back instead of moving ahead. Maybe they're short of ideas. I certainly see a dearth of good scriptwriters. That's why I sit with my team of writers personally. These including veterans and youngsters... It's very important for every filmmaker to keep up with the trends.... I wouldn't say my old formula is outdated. But when I see my old films, I find them outdated in terms of technique. And if I 'm forced to re-make one of my films it will have to be my first directorial venture 'Khudgarz'," he says.
He gives a clean chit to his son Hrithik.
"He's getting better with every film. Hrithik has a knack of getting into the skin of his characters. He's also a tremendous support on the sets. We work hand in hand during the shooting. An outside hero cannot provide the same inputs because his contribution will then be seen as interference. I do accept Hrithik's suggestions. But we don't argue on the sets at all. When I place my camera, he knows exactly what his father is doing."
Rakesh sees Hrithik's journey into direction as inevitable.
"It'll certainly happen. He's helping me with the post-production of 'Krissh'."
Speaking on the rest of the cast, the filmmaker is all praise for his leading lady.
"Priyanka Chopra is very disciplined. And that's a blessing. I've tried to change her look from her earlier films, taken her away from her skin-showing image. Still she looks very sexy. An actress can look sensuous in a saree.
"And I've worked with Naseeruddin Shah for the first time too. He plays a scientist and an inventor. It was wonderful. I had heard certain things about Naseer. But he was a delight. He came on the sets on time, sat in a corner reading... and when he gave his shot, it was a revelation. We never had any differences of opinion. He did want some changes in the script when I narrated it to him. But since those changes were within the parameters of my vision, I didn't mind making the changes."
About 60 percent of "Krissh" was shot in Singapore.
Rakesh explains: "I needed a concrete jungle. And the Singapore tourism board was eager to have us shoot there. They provided all the necessary permissions to shoot outdoors including the blocking of roads which would be impossible in Mumbai. In Singapore they blocked all the main roads for us during heavy rush hour."
He is not too happy with the films that have been released recently.
"I've been impressed only with two recent films, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Black' and Rakeysh Mehra's 'Rang De Basanti'. These two films tried new genres... There were other films with good content, but not as well made as those two films."
And finally the controversy. Salim-Sulaiman have done the background music of "Krissh" when Rakesh Roshan's brother and resident composer, the talented Rajesh Roshan has done the songs.
Rakesh laughs off the unnecessary controversy.
"I finished shooting in December and the special effect shots were in by April. At that time a thought occurred to me. Why are we so sold on tapping the overseas territory only? The south territory is also huge. A Rajnikanth film generates up to Rs.700-800 million. So I decided to release 'Krissh' in Tamil and Telugu. I took the decision in February. And I needed the background music right away for all three versions. Rajesh couldn't handle both the songs and the background.
"The three versions will have exactly the same vocal tunes and background music. Rajesh got busy doing the six songs in three languages sung by the same singers. He wondered how he'd handle both. So I suggested I bring in Salim-Sulaiman for the background score."
In the film, Hrithik's voice will be dubbed in Tamil and Telugu by the same voice.
Says Rakesh: "This is the first time that a Hindi film is being released simultaneously in two other Indian languages. Earlier I had released 'Karan Arjun' in south Indian languages but not simultaneously."
Rakesh will be releasing some 800 prints of "Krissh".
"We shot from March 2005 to December 2005. But it took me two years before that to organise everything. I had to hunt for an action director who could match my vision of spectacle in 'Krissh'. We zeroed in on Tony Ching from China who had done 'The Hero', 'House of Flying Daggers' and 'Kill Bill'. Tony was amazing. This is my biggest film to date."
So, will the next Rakesh Roshan film star Hrithik's son?
"No, no. Hrithik will star in my films. He will make a film for his son. I'll be too old to make films for my grandson... I want to spend more time with my grandson. But the post-production of 'Krissh' is keeping me busy at work."