‘Kites’ Soars Briefly Before Crash Landing
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Nicholas Brown, Kangana Ranaut, Anand Tiwari, Kabir Bedi
You inevitably find yourself comparing Kites to the objects it’s named after. The story of two lovers on the run is lifted at first by its charming lead pair, but dips and drags in its second half.
J (Roshan) is a Las Vegas hustler who cosies up to a casino owner’s daughter Gia (Ranaut), just so he can spend her millions. Gia’s brother Tony (Brown) is engaged to Linda (Mexican actress Mori), but sparks fly between her and J, who we soon find out is her ex-husband. A smitten J asks Linda whether she loves her fiancé. “I love his money,” she says, unapologetically. One rash moment later, the couple find the cops and a vengeful Tony on their tail. What follows is a Bonnie and Clyde-like chase across the Nevada desert to the Mexico border.
Kites has a predictable arc, yet straight off you’re wooed by Roshan’s screen presence. Mori and he make an attractive couple. The electric moments that play out between them—when they sneak glances at each other, their halting Spanish, English and Hindi, and when they steal kisses—are the film’s highlights. Look out for scenes where they argue about how much to rob from a bank counter, and when they both childishly teach each other the wrong phrases for “I love you” in Spanish and Hindi.
Director Anurag Basu experiments with the grammar of Hindi film storytelling, using stylised car chases, and scenes where the dialogues are muted by the sound of rain. But you’re reminded firmly that you’re in Bollywood mode when you learn that J has a sad mother-in-hospital backstory and that Linda has a poor family to feed. Consequently, despite the super-slick action sequences, Kites loses the adrenaline of its initial journey.
While Mori is sweet and sexy, and lights up the frame with her spontaneity, Ranaut is wasted in a thankless role. It’s left to Roshan to carry the film, making Kites a little more watchable than it might have been.Tags: Anand Tiwari, Anurag Basu, Barbara Mori, Bollywood, Film, film review, film reviews, Hrithik Roshan, Kabir Bedi, Kangana Ranaut, Kites, Nicholas Brown, Special Top Story