"Quiero volar Con ustedes esta noche dĂ©jame gozar este momento"
"Kites in the sky, soaring together Loverâs Forever Forever is a lieâŠ"
On Sunday May 16th 2010, the world premiere of Kites was held at a gala red carpet function at the AMC Theater in Times Square, New York City. Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Anurag Basu, Rakesh Roshan and Rajesh Roshan walked down the red carpet to much fanfare and adoration (with Hrithik getting the loudest applause). Once inside the theater, each one was introduced and walked to the front of the auditorium to introduce the film. Barbara Mori hoped that everyone would like the film. Rakesh Roshan proclaimed it an experiment that he hoped would succeed and asked for the audienceâs blessings. Hrithik Roshan conveyed that he had poured his all into the two years that it has taken to get this film completed and out for the world to see.
The hype is certainly there, but the question remains, will âKitesâ which is a dramatic departure from the usual Roshan FilmKraft Bollywood masala film, live up to audienceâs expectations? Adding to expectations is the fact that this is Hrithikâs first appearance on the silver screen in two years.
For Hrithik and Rakesh Roshan, âKitesâ is an interesting gamble as itâs a film that features a Mexican lead actress, is filmed with a lot of English and Spanish dialogue, is a FilmKraft production that has a director known for thinking outside the masala box (Anurag Basu), has a unique English version called, âKites â The Remixâ (directed by âRush Hourâ director Brett Ratner who cut the film down to ninety minutes and added a more westernized soundtrack), and is set/filmed entirely in/around Las Vegas and the Santa Fe area.
So on that Sunday evening, the lights dimmed, and the filmâs first reel started playingâŠas the audience went into a cinematic tranceâŠ.
"Holds the twine in his hands What has destiny planned Will the heart understand Kites in the sky Soaring together lovers forever Forever is a lie.."
The dialogues deserve special mention, as it is always kept natural and does not at any point seem overly dramatic. The balancing between Hindi, English and Spanish could have been a disaster, but is handled well. Itâs a credit to the screenplay that the love between Hrithik and Barbara is set up in a few very pivotal scenes that rely on actions other than dialogues to convey emotions of a burgeoning love (simmering glances, shadows against the wall). Humor comes out in the exchanges between the two star crossed lovers and it never seems forced.
Cinematography by Ayananka Bose is beautifully creative. The depravity of Las Vegas and scenic wonder of Santa Fe is captured perfectly by his lens. Of particular beauty are the scenes that take place in the rain, which holds a symbolic theme throughout the film and appears at critical points during the movie.
The stunts in the film are high caliber and also are choreographed realistically. You wonât find any super kung fu kicks or mind bogglingly gravity defying stunts. Rather, youâll find that the action blends in organically with the story, and emphasizes the inherent threat of death for J (Hrithik) and Natasha (Barbara).
"Este amor Me estĂĄ matando Lo siento cĂłmo no tocarlo"
Letâs be honest here, the film would not have worked had the actress not been able to interact naturally with Hrithik Roshan in the film. This could easily have degenerated into the kind of cheesy campfest that we have seen when non-Indian actors appear in Bollywood movies looking like fish out of water, but thankfully that never happens here. Barbara Mori not only emotes a charismatic performance, but also is able to hold her own against Hrithikâs formidable acting assault. All this is accomplished with her speaking mainly in Spanish throughout the film. Indian actresses should take note from Moriâs very strong and adept performance, as she shows more fire (pun intended) than most of them do in their typical portrayals.
As for Hrithik, what can one say that hasnât been said already? If there is any other actor that rivals the kind of excitement that Amir Khan generates, then that is Hrithik Roshan. He brings a fragile humanity to his character of J. Heâs no superman, or even a great guy. In fact he is simply after what we all dream aboutâŠmoney. Hrithik portrays his character as the emotionally fragile everyman caught up in a love that is destined to be doomed. For those that are interested there is a dance scene set to the song, âFireâ at the beginning of the film where he brings down the house. After all what would a Hrithik film be like if he didnât showcase his killer dance moves? This scene is probably the most Bollywood stylized scene in the film, and thankfully appears towards the beginning so that it doesnât disrupt the narrative flow later on.
Rajesh Roshanâs music is kept mostly in the background and the tracks âDil Kyun Yeh Meraâ and âTum Bhi Ho Wahiâ are potent in conveying emotions at crucial moments during the film. There is no awkward break into song and dance (thankfully) that would destroy the emotional impact of a film that travels along a dark emotional path like âKitesâ does.
"Kites in the sky Lovers ForeverâŠ Forever is a lie.."
All in all âKitesâ is a film that shows the audience the clash between destiny and the fact that love simply does not always conquer all, especially forbidden love. Anurag Basu presents the audience with a film that is stylishly directed amidst a cacophony of emotion. Hrithik and Barbaraâs chemistry creates cinematic magic within each frame and you will truly believe that they are in love. The screenplay provides just the right amount of surprises to keep the story fresh. The actors are each showcased in the right manner. The lack of the typical overly dramatic overdrawn scenes of emotion that are the staple of the usual Bollywood fare is a welcome change from the norm.
The only downside to the film is the slightly predictable ending that might turn off Bollywood fans who are used to seeing the words happily ever after riding into the sunset. Yet, overall, Basu and the Roshanâs have provided us with an honest, intriguing and entertaining ride that is worth opening your mind to.
The danger with a film like this is that in an effort to balance between Bollywood and Hollywood, it might leave fans of each unsatisfied. âKitesâ is certainly an interesting and commendable âexperimentâ (as Rakesh Roshan describes it) worth watching. Directed with style and acted with panache, itâs the kind of film that will make your pulse race at all the right moments and for all the right reasons. Give it a chanceâŠyou wonât be disappointed as long as you donât expect an instant Bollywood dishum dishum classic. Rather âKitesâ works best on a low key personal levelâŠ.