Friday, May 21, 2010

Kites review

Director: Anurag Basu

Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Kangana, Kabir Bedi

Rating: **1/2

Sandhya Iyer

Flutters, but sputters a lot

In the making for over three years now, Kites was expected to soar high and possibly turn Hrithik Roshan into a global star. Sadly, all those ambitions come crashing, as this kite loses its way badly in a script that is both run-of-the-mill and formulaic.
The film is not only about clash of language. It also appears to be a clash of creative minds, where the project was getting pulled in different directions. The result is that it ends up looking confused about what it wants to be. It's clear that producer Rakesh Roshan wanted a film with a certain international appeal, so as to showcase his son's abilities to the world. So you have Hrithik doing everything in the film from action to dance to drama. Even his singing abilities are on display. It's almost like Sr Roshan keeps re-launching his son every few years. The film's director Anurag Basu clearly has a distinctive style, one that is more subtle and intense (Metro, Gangster). When these two men come together, it's a bit of an uneasy mix, and it shows in the film. For a less than serviceable script such as this, Basu's treatment is too heavy and intense. He's the right director for the wrong film. Again, each time he tries to infuse some life into the love story, you are distracted from it with some mindless action sequences.

The drama unfolds in Las Vegas, where Jai (Hrithik Roshan) and Linda (Barbara Mori) are hustlers. Before they even get to know each other, Jai is already set to marry the super-rich Jina (Kangana), whose father (Kabir Bedi) runs all the major casinos in the city. His son (Tony), on the other hand is already engaged to Linda. Theirs is a notorious family, as Jai finds out, but the idea of becoming rich keeps him interested in Jina. This is until he sees Linda and flips for her looks. She speaks Spanish and can't follow English. He doesn't understand Spanish. In quick time, you see even Linda responding to him and both reveal they are in their respective relationships only for the money. This brings them close and Tony's brutish behaviour towards Linda leads to an ugly showdown. Both Jai and Linda have to flee to save their lives. As the couple is on a chase, Basu does a Bonnie and Clyde, with a bank robbery and a few other light scenes thrown in.

It appears that when you're in love, not following each other's language should be the last of your concerns. So even if the Hrithik-Mori love story looks incompatible, without the couple being able to communicate (unless, they are happy to be making shadow-birds on the walls all their life), the makers go ahead with their ambition of making an epic love story with these two. Quite conveniently, Hrithik and Barbara keep finding Indian and Spanish people everywhere to translate for them.

The first 15-20 minutes at the start with Hrithik and Kangana are extremely engaging, as are some portions with Barbara Mori (who looks abolutely gorgeous). The film gets sluggish then, but picks up again when the light-hearted portions come along. In fact, the semi-comic portions are the best parts of the film, and it makes you wonder whether it would have been wiser for Roshan and Basu to just go ahead and make a cross-cultural comic-drama, rather than get into the serious zone. The biggest problem with Kites is that the love story (in spite of Hrithik and Barbara's chemistry), is never felt as strongly by the audience, even if the script asserts it. Both appear pretty practical when you are introduced to them. Their sudden change of heart when they see each other and the intensity that follows is not convincing. Language may not be the most important thing, but surely only looks alone don't drive people to mad love.

Yet, in spite of the story not really working, Kites is worth a watch for Hrithik Roshan, who is fabulous as ever. The film does not deserve him. Barbara is alluring, and fits the bill. Kangana has a small role, but Basu does not let his favourite actress down and manages to flesh out her character and give it an arch for whatever it's worth.
But finally, the film itself is a dull affair and will leave both its desi and international audiences disappointed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Havent seen the movie yet but will definitely see this next week. Cant comment on this review until I see the movie but going by this reviewer's track record - her knowledge/taste of Hindi movies is suspect at best. I think this writer gets confused with her taste of movies and the overall audience a movie is aimed at.It is obvious that a movie like Kites is aimed at the foreign audience. Now it may still not work with that audience - but all the US reviews are highly positive. Question is whether the non-desis abroad will take to this movie.
In a sense its heartening to see actors like Hrithik and ShahRukh take some risks in making movies like Kites and MNIK - which are essentially intended to increase Hindi movie audiences abroad. MNIK has somewhat been successful - in opening up new markets - remains to be seen if Kites can outdo it.
As for this reviewer - it is not proper to rubbish a person's profession so I will stick to giving this analogy. Mani rathnam is probably the best director in India when you look at his Tamil movies. But his Hindi movies lack the punch. I could say the same about this reviewer and would suggest that she sticks to non-Hindi movies.

May 21, 2010 at 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reviewer keeps spreading false innuendos of a movie's success and failure.
Case in point - lets take MNIK - as of last reports its made 90cr overseas and 75 cr in India - for a total of 165cr net.
From all the numbers out there its done 20cr more than Ghajini's worldwide total becoming the 2nd biggest hit of all time.
We have to wait and see if Kites breaks the Ghajini mark too.
3 Idiots of course is a mile away and will remain a mile away for a long time.

This is the silliest problem that exists currently in India with immature, ill informed so called reviewers who double up as trade experts. The movie industry has evolved to the extent where today movies are made for a global market and not just a local market. I dare say the overseas market is absolutely key to drive innovations in production values of Hindi movies because India just doesnt make it cost effective to make technically superior movies. Its funny to hear a reviewer say that this movie was made with a eye on the foreign audience and its going to fall flat with the Indian audience. Duh!

To illustrate the ignorance displayed by this reviewer - one just needs to compare Houseful with MNIK. The latter is being called a hit when it has made a total of about 80cr in india and abroad - MNIK has made double that amount.

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