At what point of time did you think you’d be able to pull off a sequel to Koi... Mil Gaya?
It was not pre-conceived or pre-meditated. In fact, when I saw LORD OF THE RINGS, where just a ring could carry forward the story into a trilogy, I thought, in KOI...MIL GAYA, I had a real living character, who could take the story forward, upon whom the alien `Jadoo’ had bestowed supernatural powers. I couldn’t have left it at that. The concept of that passed-over power would have been incomplete without taking it forward. What would Rohit (Hrithik of KMG) do with that bestowed power? How would he use it for the good of humanity. He was innocent. He had no selfish motives in KMG. So, in Krrish, his power from Jadoo is passed on to his son Krishna, who uses it for saving the world from disaster.
How does the transition take place from an Indian hamlet to a foreign country, Singapore?
KRRISH begins where KMG ends. The story had to move from Rohit and Nisha. They die in a mishap (which is narrated in flashback) and their offspring Krishna is being nurtured with the same kind of fervor by his grandma Rekha.
But having inherited the extra-terrestrial superpowers from his father, Krishna does several rescue acts. His dare-devilry is the talk of the town, and a TV correspondent comes probing. Later, the story shifts, taking Krishna to Singapore, where a scientist is devising his own designs to usurp supreme powers, and Krishna’s mission is to save the universe. Krishna thus transforms into Krrish, a universal entity.
It is said that most of the film has been shot in Singapore...
Yes, almost 60 per cent of the film has been shot in Singapore and their hospitality has been both humbling and heart-warming. There’s not a single corner of Singapore that I have not shot in. Singapore has never been presented the way KRRISH presents it. Earlier, I had promoted New Zealand, Australia and Bangkok too, in a similar manner, and it has helped boost their tourism in a profitable way.
How are you planning to reciprocate the Singapore government’s gesture, through KRRISH?
KRRISH showcases Singapore, actually. It is in fact dedicated to the friendly people of that country. Moreover, I will be holding premieres in Singapore, where my entire unit would be present.
Back to KRRISH the movie, would you concede that it is a mélange of Superman, Spiderman, Batman, The Mask Of Zorro, et al?
This is a wrong notion. I have not been inspired by Superman, Spiderman, Batman or whatever. Neither have I used their illustrative dare-devilry gimmicks. They were comic book characters that were later translated into celluloid heroes.
My Krrish is a real-life hero. Krrish has done all the stunts himself. There are no CGs (computer graphics) where Hrithik is involved. You’d be surprised to know that even for risky shots, we have not used dupes, as my special effects team comprising Mark Kolbe and Craig Mumma were present throughout the shooting of the film. They wanted a first-hand account of what was being shot, and with whom. They suggested Hrithik perform his own stunts, which he did with great mental and physical stress and strain. The thrills are unparalleled.
Hrithik did hurt himself during several shoots...?
He hurt himself, but not during the shoots - it was while rehearsing. A couple of times it was a cause of great concern!
How was Priyanka Chopra finalized for the role of heroine?
Hrithik is from home. And he plays the principal role. Why should I have opted for a heroine who was doing 10 films and had no matching dates, whereas I wanted bulk dates? I don’t work on that basis. I want my entire team to be focused on my film. Priyanka had the dates that I required.
How did it strike you that, besides her availability, Priyanka would suit the character?
I had seen her dressed in a simple salwar-kameez with glasses while attending the funeral of Yash Johar. Her appearance struck me as someone down-to-earth, practical and simple. I was looking for a character with just those kinds of looks and appearance. I decided then and there that Priyanka would play the TV journo that I was looking for.
However, there was a negative image attached to Priyanka, thanks to films like `Aitraaz’ etc...
I have always believed that the image of an actor does not carry a film to success, but it is the film that gives an image to an actor. KHOON BHARI MAANG gave a different, diffident image to Rekha. At a time when films on reincarnation were based on male-female re-birth, I made two brothers’ reincarnation story in KARAN-ARJUN. Then, in KAHO NAA... PYAAR HAI, the two look- alikes - first pre-interval and the other coming during post-interval, had no relation. In KOI...MIL GAYA, Hrithik was a weakling, that was contrary to his established macho image in KAHO NAA...PYAAR HAI.
Priyanka looks both glamorous and simple. It all depends on how you present your character. I am not concerned with stars or their images, but their characters in my film.
Does her character as a Star TV reporter have anything to do with your tie-up with the channel for KRRISH?
Yes, of course it does.
Why is your brother Rajesh Roshan, known for his exemplary talent in background music too, only doing songs, and not BG, which is done by Salim-Suleiman?
That’s only because the film is being dubbed into Telugu and Tamil, and Rajesh is busy with the recording of the songs in those languages. That’s how Salim-Suleiman are in the picture. Moreover, they are extremely talented too. So, there’s no question of undermining anybody’s talent.
Hrithik does look into your department, too...?
Yes, he does. And I appreciate that. After all, he has assisted me in more than a couple of films as director and he is involved with and well-versed in all the departments of my film. I don’t take it as interference, as the media projects, I consider it as involvement. I have formed FilmKraft and expect my son to carry it forward. Some day, he too will take over the mantle as director. And I would be a proud father.
Just as KRRISH has taken off from where KOI...MIL GAYA concluded, would you be making sequels to KRRISH too?
There’s certainly a scope for sequels to KRRISH.
Could you enlighten us about the thrilling sequences in the film and how you convinced the famed Tony Ching Siu of Hong Kong to supervise the action sequences in KRRISH?
When I approached Tony Ching Siu in Hong Kong and introduced myself as Rakesh Roshan, a filmmaker from India, he asked to see my credentials. And when he saw KMG, he was convinced I could create a global impact. But he had conditions. And I made sure of what exactly he wanted, so that there would be no delays during the actual shoot.
He wanted a 250 ft high crane for a shoot in Manali. You’d be surprised to know that Tony has never choreographed an action sequence without a crane of that dimension, and it was impossible for us to transport such a huge equipment along by-lanes with short bridges. Eventually, it took us days to arrange one from Delhi. If these possible bottle-necks had not been cleared before the shoot, it would have entailed loss of time. This was one of the experiences that I learnt during KRRISH. At the end of the day, I have no regrets, since the results are awesome.
What is the scope for music in an action oriented film, such as KRRISH?
First of all, let me clarify that KRRISH is not an action-oriented film. It is a romantic thriller. There are four songs in the film that come at appropriate times, and two remixes in the album.
KRRISH is definitely one of the most eagerly awaited films of 2006....
I don’t know whether it is the most eagerly awaited film of the year. But for me, it is the most important, at the moment.