Written by: Anurag Basu, Robin Bhatt, Akarsh Khurana, and Rakesh Roshan
Directed by: Anurag Basu
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, BÃ¡rbara Mori
Kites is one of the most awaited releases of the year, generating tremendous buzz with huge hype surrounding it. It marks the return of Hrithik Roshan on the big screen after a gap of two years and ropes in BÃ¡rbara Mori (a Mexican actress) as the lead. Produced by his father’s company Filmkarft, this is one of the most expensive films coming out from the Hindi film industry. The movie (as per reports) was designed to introduce Hrithik Roshan to the western world, and it has a complete English version which is being released as well. It’s directed by Anurag Basu, who has already proved his mettle in Bollywood as one of the new age directors to reckon with. Now, the all-important question: does it deliver as a movie AND in showcasing Hrithik? On the movie front yes, it does partly, and the showcasing…Totally!
[ad#longpost]The story is about Jay (Hrithik), who is a salsa dance teacher by profession in Las Vegas and also makes money helping people get their US Citizenship in an illegal way with the help of his friend Robin (Anand Tiwari). However, he’s always on the look to make a quick buck and dreams of getting rich by any means. One of his students is Gina (Kangana Ranaut), who is the daughter of a Vegas big shot, Bob (Kabir Bedi), who owns a casino. She falls in love with him, and Jay (though he does not love her), accepts her proposal considering it his chance to get rich given her background. He is welcomed to the family– there he meets Natasha (BÃ¡rbara Mori), who is Gina’s brother Tony (Nicholas Brown)’s fiancÃ©e. However, Tony is an arrogant and possessive guy and does not treat Natasha too well. Jay senses that Natasha is not comfortable with Tony. They gradually become good friends, and he gets to know that she is not actually in love with Tony but is marrying him for the same reason he is marrying Gina: money. They both get drawn towards one another, and a sudden series of events results in them eloping, with Tony and the police behind them trying to track them down and get them. How and why they elope, if they are found by Tony, or if they manage to escape forms the main part of the story.
Did you get all that? Good. The story is told in a non-linear manner, switching between past and present, which ensures there is an element of suspense added to the proceedings. The major part of the story is about their “run” from the Big Bad Powerful Family and police. There are some superbly choreographed action and car chases sequences (seen many times in Hollywood movies, but the first of its kind in Hindi film industry). There are quite a lot of Hollywood technicians involved with this project and it shows. The sequence of events in the first half bring back slight memories of Woody Allen’s Match Point but then the story (by Rakesh Roshan) changes tracks, thankfully.
Coming to the performances, Hrithik delivers! He acts well, and has an amazing and towering screen presence. Other than his excellent acting, he displays his breathtaking dancing skills, which leaves one spellbound. The dance steps in the “Fire” song show why he is the TOP dancer in the Indian film industry. BÃ¡rbara Mori makes a grand entry into Hindi film–she looks charming, stunning, and enacts the role of Natasha with limited English knowledge exceedingly well. Their on-screen chemistry is great and there are several scenes featuring them which get too hot to handle for the average Hindi movie audience. A lot of care has been taken to ensure that both Hrithik and BÃ¡rbara are showcased in the best possible way. There are quite a few prolonged close-up shots of both which are a treat to watch (though sometimes it appears like an advertising campaign).
Kangana is wasted in such a small role–she has little screen time. It amazed me as to how she even considered working on this movie, as all her movies till now had her playing an author-backed role. Nicholas Brown as Tony plays his part superbly–he makes you want to hate him, which is the requirement of the character and he does it well. Kabir Bedi as Kangana’s father and Anand Tiwari as Robin are apt in their small roles. Again, the credit goes to Anurag, who shows he can handle big budget movies on his shoulders (though this one has a thin storyline). The music by Rajesh Roshan (Hrithik’s Uncle) is pleasing. All of the songs are played in the background, and they tend to grow on you as the movie progresses while they play in bits and pieces throughout. “Dil Kyun Yeh Mera” is one track which stays with you even after the film is done, and so is “Kites in the Sky,” which is sung by Hrithik himself.
Coming to the minuses, the pre-climax–they had to make it Bollywood-ish! It appears that certain things happen because they (the script-writers) want the movie to end in a particular way. Totally unnecessary. Also, there are quite a few scenes which give a sense of them being shot in a studio. The art director should have done a better job at that, given the big budget. It just does not go well and such scenes tend to stand out shouting “Studio! Studio!” Also, there could have been more depth in the story, but the movie survives thanks to the narration style. The film has most of its dialogue in English and Spanish and limited amounts in Hindi, so I’m not sure how well this would go with the completely Hindi audience.
Overall, it is one of the slightly better entertainers coming out from the Hindi film industry in recent times. The movie just about flies as high as the title suggests before being snapped by the let-down of the pre-climax. But it succeeds at what it was actually meant to do–showcase Hrithik to the western world–it does complete justice to that! One can watch this movie purely for the actors par excellence.