Kites (Indian/Hindi movie review)

Bollywood’s ‘drop dead’ gorgeous Hrithik Roshan has not been able to keep the ‘kites’ fluttering merrily in its open sky. Rakesh Roshan has always directed his son well and the results have been phenomenal, starting from Kaho Na Pyar Hai to Krrish. But, this time he has handed over the directorial responsibility to Anurag Basu and unfortunately, the results haven’t been very pleasant.

Anurag Basu has a very unique style of storytelling, which the audience have had a taste in films like Murder, Gangster and Life in a Metro. All these films had a good speed and a more or less good storyline. But Kites is a drag. The story is set in the United States, the city of Las Vegas, to be precise and also in Mexico. The scene opens with a gang of wagon breakers attacking a goods train in Mexico, and as they break open one of the coaches, an injured and unconscious body of a person rolls down from the hay stack.

The film quickly moves back to the past in US where we see J (Hrithik Roshan) an Indian but a citizen of US, as a dance teacher in the city of Las Vegas. He also has another way of earning money; by marrying illegal immigrants for a fee so that they can get a green card (permanent residency card) in the country.   In one such fake wedding, we see J marrying a Mexican woman named Linda.

While being a dance teacher, J comes across Gina (Kangana Ranaut) the beautiful daughter of a Casino Owner Bob (Kabir Bedi). It was nice to see Kabir Bedi back in a Rakesh Roshan film. Last time they worked together was in Khoon Bhari Maang, way back in 1988. Gina takes a fancy on J and even declares that she loved him. J, in turn falls in love with her dad’s money and all the good things in life, travelling in a chauffeur driven Limo, being just one of them. And while in a party at Gina’s place, he sees Natasha (Barbara Mori), the fiancée of Gina’s brother Tony (Nicholas Brown).

The first time the boy meets the girl is actually shown uniquely, down under the ocean, amid corals…picturised beautifully.

J and Natasha fall in love instantly (interestingly, she is the same girl Linda that J had once married for earning some extra buck) The hero/heroine compatibility here is a total failure as after so much of media hype about Hrithik Roshan’s and Barbara Mori’s pairing opposite each other, there is absolutely NO chemistry between the two. Rather Kangana Ranaut could have been utilized in a more effective way.
Even when there is no chemistry, the script demanded that they be madly in love with each other and there they were, eloping and thus inviting the wrath of Tony (for stealing his fiancée) and Bob (for ditching his daughter).

Majority of the film has dialogues in English and Spanish, mainly because the lead pairs do not understand each other’s language. Thankfully, the scenes aren’t dubbed but subtitled.  How the story takes a turn and finally ends cannot be disclosed here as this write up would then become a spoiler.

Ayananka Bose’s cinematography is just superb; the underwater scenes, the barren borders of Mexico and US have been captured beautifully. The readers can perhaps relate well if they refer to some scenes from the Oscar nominated film ‘Babel’ where similar locations were shown. Las Vegas is a city of lights and its vibrancy has been captured well. Editing by Avik Ali is good when scenes keep moving to the past and coming back to the present, but scenes with the J and Natasha are dragged a bit too much and could have been easily trimmed to keep up with the speed of the film. When Hrithik Roshan features in a film there has to be a dance number and it is there. Most disappointingly, Rajesh Roshan’s music has not been able to make any impact. Not a single song is worth remembering, forget humming!

Barbara Mori only lends a fresh face to the screen. I have never been able to appreciate Hrithik Roshan as a fine actor so I will leave it to the audience to judge his acting capabilities. Kangana Ranaut has a very pretty face and does well when she has a role of an eccentric to play (Gangster, Fashion). She does not really have much to do.

Keeping in mind the latest Arizona Immigration law that has been doing its round in the US currently; the film may not be well accepted by the international audience. The protagonists of the film are shown as a Mexican illegal immigrant and an Indian who is making money by helping these immigrants. Not sure, how much Rakesh Roshan is expecting this film to fare in the United States….it may just be a total wash out.