Kites 2010 Movie Review
The Bollywood film ‘Kites,’ directed by Anurag Basu, was a film unlike any I’ve seen before. It was spoken in three languages, had a diverse cast and it wasn’t from Hollywood. It was a completely original experience. It blithely leaps from romance, to musical, to action adventure, to western, referencing any number of Hollywood genres along with one of the more beautiful musical scores in recent memory. The romance, in particular, was as intense as Nicholas Sparks‘ ‘The Notebook,’ and the chemistry between the leads was off the charts. I have to say I was surprisingly entertained and am a better critic for having seen this film. Bollywood films are a rare breed of cinematic products here in the States and there are legitimate reasons why films from India aren’t successful with American audiences: they are always over 2 hours (we complain when it’s 1hr 45m), they’re like musicals that involve too much dancing (we left the musicals back in the 50’s and ‘NINE’ was a flop) and for the most part, they’re not spoken in English. The closest movie we’ve had to a successful Bollywood production has been Danny Boyle’s Academy Award effort ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and that wasn’t really ours, it was a collaboration we did with England.
Nevertheless, Kites has the potential to change the way we look at Bollywood films. Due to its Latin flavor, it has the ability to reach the largest movie going audience in America, the US Hispanic. Enter director Brett Ratner. Known for taking Asian action star Jackie Chan and crossing him over into American superstardom with his spectacularly successful “Rush Hour” series, Ratner carries a unique synergy – he’s a Hispanic of Cuban descent who understands the power of the Hispanic consumer and what it would take to attract them to the theaters. In a brilliant strategy move by Roshan Productions, Ratner was asked to rework an English language version, designed to extend the reach of the original to the largest possible audience, including the younger demographic for whom 2+ hours is a challenge. This led to “Kites: The Remix, A Brett Ratner Presentation”. Its title suggests, a true “remix,” in that it is the same film, played to a different rhythm, running a swift 90 minutes as opposed to the 130–minute original.
The remix caters to a mass audience but it begrudgingly also contains some elements from the original cut that hurt it. For my particular tastes, the acting by the secondary cast is not as strong as the leads. There are some over the top acting moments that are quite risible. We could have done without some of the excess torso bearing poses by Hrithik, but I imagine the ladies need a dose of carnal ecstasy once in a while. Despite these small imperfections, the film is very entertaining, even for audiences that don’t regularly consume Indian films.
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