Fly away… Kites

July 26, 2010 at 6:15 am (Uncategorized)

Oh Anurag Basu, what have you done? Your fans are going to cry that you sold out, that you wasted such an extensive canvas and a limitless budget to come up with such an end product. Kites was supposed to be the first truly international Bollywood movie, shot extensively in English (and Spanish) and with a large motley crew of internationally reputed technicians. It is hard to come out with a clear verdict though. The movie is an out and out masala movie and it delivers enough for you to not emand your money back. But does it leave a lasting impression? Unlikely.

Kites is more like a Mexican telenovela or closer home, a K(or double K) TV series. You know it is emotional crap, but you are hooked on to it. You don’t really miss it when it’s gone, but while it is there on your screen, you are hooked. The script is nothing to write home about, it is your familiar boy-meets-girl, overcomes odds, live/die happily ever after. Basu and the Roshans play to the gallery, with an over-the top love story between the Indian J (Hrithik Roshan) and the Mexican Linda (Barbara Mori). J and Linda epitomize the American dream, looking for that quick fix way to attain the pinnacle of financial success. But when their love comes in the way, they choose love over their aspirations (of course!!!). In doing so, they acerbate a powerful casino family in Las Vegas and the rest of the movie meanders from some really tepid chase sequences to some outstanding ones.

“Love has no language barrier” is the central theme, but ironically, the language gap between the lead characters is the biggest drawback of the movie. The second half, in which J and Linda are on the run by themselves, is quite a bore, with the characters struggling to strike a chemistry. This is quite in contrast to the first half, when Hrithik and Barbara light the screen on fire, with some fluid dance numbers, some excellent cinematography by Ayananka Bose and quite frankly, the hot toned bodies of J and Linda. Not quite the oomph of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing or even the romantic charm of DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic, but close. Kangana Ranaut is in a completely forgettable piecemeal of a role.

Basu does show moments of brilliance – the fight sequence in the end is shot in visually captivating darkness and rain and the end is all silence, as he tries to move away from the clichéd magnanimous dialogues of Bollywood films. I think this actually captures where the filmmakers went wrong. They were torn between doing an out and out Bollywood movie and a slick Hollywood movie. The end product is somewhere in the middle and there is your problem. It is not a path breaking movie, neither an embodiment of entertainment and regalement.

The crisp photography cannot make up for the horrendous acting performances. It has to be one of the worst acting performances by Hrithik. The moment the poor guy opens his mouth in this movie, it seems his left and right cerebral hemispheres are slugging it out to decide whether he should have an Indian accent or an Indian American accent. It’s all hunky dory when he has to just show up, flex his muscles, twitch his moustache or step on the dance floor. But this is no musical, where the audience is 60 feet away from you, and you can get away with it. Mori, seems to lose her radiance whenever she launches into a Spanish tirade. I am sure the Mexicans will be offended when they see her blabber away. Yeah right, that is how we speak in daily life too.

With the majority of dialogue in English, it is unlikely that there would have been a mass audience for this movie in India, and with no elaborate wedding scenes to appeal to the American or European population, Kites shall remain limited to the metropolis in India and the NRI population. So much for an international appeal (though this does cover more than 800 million people). As for you Mr. Basu, enjoy that fat paycheck. Given the 20 million USD budget, don’t expect any bonus payments.

Genre: Romance

Rating: Yawwnnnnnnnnn

Go watch it with: Your better (or worse) half

Go watch it for: Some lessons in dance




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