The bigger the budget... the bigger the names... the bigger the hype, hoopla and razzmatazz... the bigger the expectations from the film. KITES has some of the biggest names in the business - Rakesh Roshan, Anurag Basu and Hrithik Roshan, to name a few - and the film, therefore, carries this gargantuan responsibility on its shoulders. It has to soar higher than the hits delivered by this trio. Anything less will just not do!
The million dollar question is, does KITES fly high? Let me hit the nail on the head: The film has some terrific moments and of course, Hrithik Roshan's star power to cast a spell, but it has plenty of low moments. In fact, KITES could've been a cult film, but its writing relies too heavily on clichés and formulaic stuff and that, frankly, throws a spanner.
KITES is visually stunning and makes a sweeping impact, but it totters in its writing department. The story bears an uncanny resemblance to K. Balachander's EK DUUJE KE LIYE, Tony Scott's REVENGE and Rakesh Roshan's very own KOYLA. Also, the story hardly moves in the first hour, but gets into the groove towards the second hour. Of course, you might grumble that the film gets very 'Bollywoodish' at times, but the negatives and blemishes get camouflaged, at times, by that one name that spells magic: Hrithik Roshan.
Final word? KITES will meet with diverse reactions, but the one unanimous thing that it will gather in abundance would be the immense praise for this matchless actor called Hrithik Roshan. He alone is worth the price of the ticket and more. Wish I could say that for the film in entirety!
In the harsh terrain of the Mexican desert, a wounded man is left for dead in the heat of the desert sun. This is J [Hrithik Roshan], once a street-smart, carefree, young guy and now a wanted man. The only thing that keeps him alive is the quest to find the love of his life, Natasha [Barbara Mori]. A woman, engaged to another man, but surely destined for J. A woman, who comes into his life like a bolt of lightning and changes it forever.
KITES is stylish and slick, filmed like any international film. In fact, I am dead sure, the intention is to go beyond the diaspora and cut across to an audience that still thinks that Bollywood is the usual song-n-dance routine merely. The film has an eclectic first hour, even though the pacing is sluggish and there's not much movement in the story. But the post-interval portions are erratic; it keep you hooked at places, it slips at times.
KITES is desi at heart, but also takes a few steps that might be considered risky by Bollywood standards. The leading lady speaks in Spanish and the makers have used sub-titles for people to comprehend. This, very frankly, might not go down too well with the traditional audiences. The second aspect that catches you completely unaware is the finale, which, though amazingly shot, will have its share of advocates and adversaries. Some may like it, while some may argue, not done!
But without revealing much, I admit that the end is not formulaic at all. Given the fact that Bollywood wants to play safe all the while, most storytellers tend to follow the tried and tested rules of the game, but the finale is truly emotional and befits a love story by all means.
Anurag Basu has proved his mettle in the past and although this may not be the most cohesive script he has worked on, there's no denying that KITES keeps you involved at places. Note the sequence when Hrithik sets his eyes on Barbara for the first time. Or the intro of Kangna's bro Nicholas Brown. Or the finale, of course.
But the writing could've been tighter. Kangna has a half-baked track. The culmination to Nicholas Brown's track looks convenient. There's no mention of Kabir Bedi - the most influential man - after a point. The couple's encounters with the American police look ludicrous. These weigh the film down, honestly.
Rajesh Roshan's music is strictly okay. The score isn't a patch on this combo's [Rakesh Roshan and Rajesh Roshan] earlier works. However, Salim-Sulaiman's background score compliments the style and composition of sequences and truly appears as an international score. Ayananka Bose's cinematography is splendid. The chase sequences are awe-inspiring, especially the one when car after car is smashed into smithereens.
Hrithik is unbeatable and that's the truth. Very few actors can rise above the script and Hrithik is one of them. He's the lifeline of this film. Barbara Mori looks perfect for her part, but appears slightly mature at places. Nonetheless, the chemistry between Hrithik and Barbara is electrifying. Kangna is wasted. Kabir Bedi does a decent job. Nicholas Brown, as Kangna's brother and Barbara's fiancé, is top notch and adds a lot of freshness to the film.
On the whole, KITES has style, visuals and Hrithik Roshan as its trump cards, but its content leaves a lot to be desired. The film has evoked tremendous curiosity, which will translate into great numbers in its initial week. The wide release, the number of shows at every cineplex and lack of any film opposition will help the film set new records initially, but the huge costs on the other hand will play a spoilsport.