The latest Bollywood film directed by the voluminously talented Rakesh Roshan (actor, producer, director, writer) starring his Adonis son, Hrithik Roshan ( Jodhaa Akbar, Karrish, Kolya); is an interesting but flawed endeavor.
After five years of Bollywood indulgence and witnessing the slow erasure of the distinct boundaries existing between the Bollywood and Hollywood aesthetics; I have concluded that the two have miles to go before they intertwine. Indian movies have conquered the Asian market and are striving to duplicate that success in the west, primarily the United States.
As a neophyte, viewing in excess (gratitude to Netflix) hundreds of these films, initially I could not comprehend the saccharine endings, excessive costuming, the myriad of dance numbers, the absence of depth in the characters and the ungodly length of the average film; many over three hours, blessedly with an intermission. “Gone with the Wind”, wildly multiplied.
With time and exposure (some would say over exposure) I have attained a cursory grasp of the preliminaries, the complexities of the Indian culture, the diversity of their religions, the hierarchy of their birth, the intricacies of their politics. The one thread that binds and for a brief hiatus eliminates their differences, where the real is suspended and the fantasy reigns, is in the darkened theatre where beauty and love surmount daunting odds, and triumph in the end.
“Kites” take place in Las Vegas. Geography is prime in narrowing the gap separating India from the rest of the world; audiences are comfortable in recognized locations.
Language also plays a role; most Indians speak English, whereas Hindi, with its countless dialects, defies comprehension, with the exception of those who claim it as their native tongue. Our anti-hero J (Hrithik Roshan) slips effortlessly from English to Hindi, and a flavorful dash of Spanish. He earns his living by marrying illegal women; legitimatizing their U.S. citizenship, the price of husbandry, $200.00! The gorgeous Barbara Mori is Linda, the Spanish speaking illegal from Mexico. The chemistry between the two is intense and the scenes of frustrated communication are amusing and titillating entertainment. There is a relaxing of the strict moral code that defines most Bollywood films; moving from the platinum level of flirtation to implied intimacy is a major quest to grasp the attention of the western audience.
As good as it looks “Kites” looses its way combining elements of “Bullitt”, “Bonnie and Clyde”, and “Thelma and Louise”! Salvation from ennui and stultification is watching Hrithik Roshan; admiring the hours of pleasurable pain that sculpted those pulsating abs; (Michelangelo’s David writhing with envy), and those bewitching sea- green eyes that cast a hypnotic spell over the female (and some male) population of the audience. Still there is a purity, goodness and innocence in his performance; you can visualize the boy lurking beneath the sinuous sultriness of the man. You would be better served if you rent Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon; his magnificent characterization of Prem will remain a pristine fixture in my movie hall of fame.
Wish I could give it more than:
TWO & ½ STARS!!