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It's not the best Bollywood movie--not by a long shot--but by stripping itself of the typical trappings of Hindi films (and making itself stylistically familiar to Westerners), it reveals the heart of Bollywood--a beating, bleeding operatic heart. Hindi cinema is ultimately not about language or culture or musical numbers; it's about exalted melodrama that draws you in despite yourself and affects you with life's corniness and agony.
The story is set in Las Vegas; the actors speak a combination of Hindi, English, and Spanish; there is only one dance scene; and the plot follows a single sequence of events--all of which help make the film accessible to non-Indian audiences. Director Anurag Basu was the perfect choice for this project as his style naturally lends itself to the objective. Had his previous film, 'Life in a...Metro' (2007), been marketed abroad as aggressively as 'Kites' has been, it would have garnered the same critical praise in the U.S that his latest film has. Cinematographer Ayananka Bose produces sharp, gorgeous shots of the glitz of Las Vegas, the desolation of the desert, and the beauty of the leads, Indian superstar Hrithik Roshan and Mexican actress Barbara Mori.
Roshan and Mori play struggling immigrant hustlers Jay and Linda, who are about to marry into money--they are engaged to sister and brother Gina (Kangana Ranaut) and Tony (Nick Brown), the children of a ruthless crime boss/casino owner (Kabir Bedi). The night before Linda's wedding to Tony, she and Jay stay up until dawn drinking champagne, sharing their tales of woe in a broken hodgepodge of languages, and dancing in the rain. And after one brief, trembling, feel-it-in-your-toes, forbidden kiss, they foolishly, nobly chuck their gold-digging schemes for each other.
Even in love scenes devoid of explicit sex, Roshan is expert at appearing to teeter on the edge of control, and his precarious desire is hotter than bared skin could ever be (see his performances in 'Dhoom 2' and 'Jodhaa Akbar' for more examples)--although bare his skin he does--at least, his eye-popping torso--in between exciting stunts and car chases, as the lovers flee Tony, who's hell-bent on murderous revenge, and adorably struggle to communicate along the way.
'Kites' proves it is possible to fall in love--with people or films--even when you can't understand their language.
'Kites' is rated Must See.
- The Bollywood Ticket: The American guide to Indian movies (Subscribe: The Bollywood Ticket)
The primary plot point is pure romance novel pulp. A streetwise Vegas hustler does whatever is necessary to bring in the cash. While romancing the daughter of a wealthy and dangerous casino boss, he becomes entangled with her brother's beautiful fiance. This begins a chain reaction with dire consequences. Seeking retribution, the hot headed brother relentlessly pursues the young lovers with vengeance and murder on his mind. With some pretty ridiculous (in an entertaining way) car chases, a couple of shoot-em-ups, and some double crosses--"Kites" kicks into action mode as the chase heads toward the border. Never fear, though, the sweethearts have plenty of opportunities for chaste canoodling, sassy banter, and a musical montage or two. Fans expecting star Hrithik Roshan to showcase some hot dance moves may be disappointed that there is only one such number near the beginning of the film--but really, how much would you want to dance if you were taking bullets? Will the couple escape? Is is happily ever after or bittersweet sorrow? You'll just have to tune in.
The film is layered into alternating timelines that heighten the mystery which unravels to reveal the lovers' fate. This is a wild and fun ride with moments of quiet tenderness, sweeping melodrama, silly humor, and over-the-top action mayhem. Really a great popcorn flick--this is entertainment for the sake of entertainment and not meant to be taken very seriously. Roshan and co-star Barbara Mori are immensely appealing and pretty easy on the eyes as well. Even when the film veers into wacky territory, the pair keep you grounded. The film is gorgeous to look at as well--with the Blu-ray, it is exceptionally vivid and colorful.
The DVD set contains the original version AND what is referred to as a Hollywood version. I'm not exactly sure why someone would be interested in a Brett Ratner supervised alternate cut of the movie as opposed to the director's vision. The Hollywood edition is thirty minutes shorter, loses much of the sweetness and musicality, and highlights the action set pieces. It mystifies me, quite literally, but if you want it--you've got it. My advice, though, stick with the original and true version of "Kites." It has charm to spare and achieves real heights of operatic melodrama! KGHarris, 2/11.
I really thought you were sending me the Original version (the next time im gonna write it down this: I WANT THE ORIGINAL MOVIE MADE IN INDIA)
Thanks any way.
I bought this movie as I loved the Hindi version and wanted to experience an English version. (I don't speak Hindi, but thanks to the movies I'm learning a few words).
I enjoyed this movie as one of Hrithik Roshan's newer films, especially as I was able to understand the dialogue without having to read it, but I think it lost a bit in the remix.
Hrithik plays the part of J a young guy who falls in love with the wrong woman Linda/Natasha played by Barbara Mori. It has a sad ending, so be warned, but it is still a beautiful love story and one of my favourites.
The story is basically the same (30 minutes cut with a bit extra included), but the sound track is completely different to the Hindi (Original) version. That was a big loss to me. I love the music Rajesh Roshan put to the original movie - I also bought that soundtrack. The car chase (should I say truck chase) scene is not quite the same without Tum Bhi Ho Wohi as the background tune.
Hrithik can dance and this was a big part of the attraction of this movie for me. The part where J takes up with Gina and they compete in a dance contest is cut (just a very small part of their dance is kept) and I felt that this is a big loss to the movie. The part that is cut also shows how J is accepted into the family.
I agree with the statement on the back of the DVD cover "hot, sexy, exotic and wild" but I was quite happy with the more modest Hindi version. It is not as explicit as some Hollywood movies (thank goodness), I prefer movies that leave things up to your imagination!
This is the 2 DVD set from Amazon and it has both the Hollywood Remix and the Bollywood version packaged in it. Unfortunately, there are no Special Features on either disc.
The original Hindi movie has special features - Song Making and Making of the Film with a Hindi Version and an International Version - very entertaining.
Would I watch it again? Probably, (I have seen it twice already), but I prefer the music and action of the original Hindi version. Friends who have seen it agree that the original is better, but it is still a great movie.
My advice is: watch both and make up your own mind.