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‘She’s too old for Hrithik!’

Penelope Cruz will NOT star opposite Hrithik Roshan in Rakesh Roshan’s next home production being directed by Anurag Basu. But more than the lost opportunity it is the reason which takes the cake. “Penelope is too old for Hrithik!” Anurag tells t2 from Mumbai.

The film, the first Kraftwerk production starring Hrithik Roshan but not being directed by Rakesh Roshan, is a love story between an Indian boy and a Latin girl.

“We did consider Penelope but contrary to reports, we never came close to signing her,” says Anurag. “Yes, there were date problems, but more than that she is too old for Hrithik (he turned 34 this January). Penelope is 45-plus (the Spanish actress turns 44 this April 28)... Boyeshta khub beshi hoye jachhe...”

So it will be “another known Latin actress” who will star opposite Hrithik. “Unless we sign her, we cannot take her name because then they can sue us,” explains Anurag. “But I can assure you it’s someone very big and she would look great opposite Hrithik.”

Anurag was approached by Rakesh Roshan after he saw Life in a... Metro. “I was slated to do two more films for UTV after Metro when Rakeshji’s offer came,” the talented director recalls. “I asked Rakeshji to sort it out with UTV. So Ronnie (Screwvala) and Rakeshji had a chat and it was decided that I first make the film for Kraftwerk and then the two films for UTV.”

Despite being largely in Hindi, the yet-to-be-titled film, Anurag feels, doesn’t have a language. “He is Indian, she is Latin; the two people do not have a language to talk to each other and still they fall in love,” he explains. “I believe it’s the first film which can truly appeal to a global audience. We keep saying that we are reaching out to the world but all we end up doing is targeting the NRI audience. This one can possibly make the difference.”

Defining it as a romantic thriller, Anurag says it’s unlike anything he has done before. “I haven’t tried this genre before and neither has Hrithik,” he sounds excited. “So working with him for the first time, I wanted to do something special.”

And for once, it won’t be Pritam wielding the musical baton. Rajesh Roshan, after all, comes as part of a package deal in a Rakesh Roshan production. “He will be doing the music and there will be quite a few songs.”

The shooting for the film, to happen mostly in the US, will start sometime in end-June or early-July.

After the Roshan movie, Anurag will first make a crime thriller for UTV. “It will be like a return to roots for me,” he says. “I won’t work with a single star in that film. It will mostly be newcomers as I have always wanted to do.”

Anurag, of course, had introduced Kangana Ranaut in Gangster.

The second film for UTV will be a sequel of sorts to Life in a... Metro. “I don’t know whether it will be a sequel,” Anurag says. “It will again be a urban drama for sure but it will not take off from the stories I told in Metro. Even the characters will all be new and it will be an all-new cast.”

And yes, Anurag will come to Calcutta to shoot part of that film. “Unlike last time where the film was entirely set in Mumbai, the new film will be set across all the metros — Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi... The issues of living in a city will be new ones as fresh problems arise in our lives every day.”

For now, though, Anurag is on to an all-American dream with his Akbar and his mystery Latino love.

Which foreign actress would you cast opposite Hrithik Roshan? Tell t2@abpmail.com

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