Kites – The Film Review
'Kites' has been cited as being one of the most ambitious and truly international movies to emerge from Indian film-makers. It released on the 21st May, and combines the talents of producer Rakesh Roshan, director Anurag Basu and of course Bollywood heart-throb Hrithik Roshan and actress Barbara Mori, a smouldering siren from South America.
The plot centres around two individuals, “J” (Hrithik Roshan) and “Linda” (Barbara Mori) who both are navigating life in North America in pursuit of their dreams. Orphaned in childhood, J is a hustler who has learned to live by his wits and charm.
Teaching salsa by day, he is not averse to a shady deal here and there. Linda is a feisty, beautiful Mexican who has crossed the border illegally in the hope of living a life full of riches and comfort. 'Kites' is special in that it sets itself apart from other Bollywood movie ventures by combining pacey action scenes, Latin passion and Bollywood romance. It is truly a film that crosses geographical, cultural and social boundaries.
But it is also a film that cannot really be defined to any one genre. And this is where the main problem lies. In a bid to try and seem balanced and appeal to as many people as possible, the film takes on too much all at once, trying its hand at romance, comedy, road chases and western shoot-outs.
As a result, the film is much like a world food buffet. It has 20 mediocre dishes, but it excels at none. In this case, the film tackles four or five different genres, and does none particularly well, though there are some high points to the more romantic scenes, though even these prove to be predictable, as is the entire script.
The film has nearly every cliché that you can think of. From the portrayal of the neurotic obsessed spoilt rich-kid Gina (Kangana Ranaut) to the cartoon-like abusive fiancé Tony, there is nothing surprising about any characterization. While the narrative is impressive and sophisticated, flitting from the present to the past, to the past's past without getting caught in the trap of breaking the structure of the story, it's a shame that the script and scenes themselves could not be as well timed, with the film moving slowly with scenes that add nothing to the story, except for more minutes to the running time.
But it's not all bad news. Barbara Mori sets the screen aflame with her wicked performance, playing a strong female lead who, instead of screaming at her male counterpart to save her, saves him instead. She also does a fair share of risky driving and is not afraid to make extreme decisions and act upon them.
What's more, she makes the character of Linda seem realistic. Hrithik Roshan also maintains his high standards of acting, and brings a real chemistry to the screen.
Bottom line: At the time of writing, it remains to be seen whether the edited and scaled down version of 'Kites', will prove to be popular with Western audiences. But it will be interesting to see if other Bollywood films take the same direction with their female leads considering the performance put on by Barbara Mori.
If they do, I think Bollywood lovers everywhere will be in for a very enjoyable time ahead. It's a beautifully filmed adventure and it's definitely enjoyable though it is certainly not the best film I have seen. Rather, it's fun because of its many clichés with serious moments that are made unintentionally hilarious.
It's a bad film that remains endearing despite it's many failures.