wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)
Lovely locales are shot and edited beautifully and set to some very nice background music. But the story doesn't fly that high. The twists and turns are mere ploys to get to an end that was decided before the first chapter was written.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - just being wary of the hype and pressure…
The first theatrical promo of the film was scheduled to coincide with Valentine's day. That, right there, defines the genre and target audience. And once you have taken a look at that promo, you know this Hrithik-starrer is a combination of what he's done so far - action and romance. Romance, thrill, suspense, Hrithik, Spanish actress, Roshan production - the "satisfaction guaranteed - at least for the eyes" commitment can be easily taken for granted.
I'd be more than happy to ignore the meek attempt at humor, if the makers have promised to do the same.
However, while watching the kites flying in the other promo, I couldn't help but think - Kites seem to be the new flowers.
Remember the flowers romancing each other on the entire screen to avoid showing the human lead couple getting too romantic for our morals?
Turns out there is more to the name than the trailers make out to be. While the concept seems random in producer-writer Rakesh Roshan's initial words -
The idea for Kites came to me when I was gazing at the sky and saw two kites flying. It looked very romantic. It was very intriguing--the way they came close, played, almost embraced each other and then drew apart. Unaware that someone else was pulling the strings and could cut them loose. I sat down and penned a story around this idea.
When director, Anurag Basu, explains the metaphor in relation to the lead characters, it gets surprisingly interesting. As in, one doesn't expect too much depth from and action chick-flick, however romantic they might try to make it. But, this quote, reminded me of some of the lovely insights that the director's earlier venture Life in a…Metro
Kites fly against the wind and not with it, stronger the wind blows, higher the kites fly…Our protagonists in the movie too face obstacles; their love grows deeper with every increasing obstacle.
Wowsie wow!! Philosophy with romance and action. Can this really be true? And then add to the mix, comments from Hrithik that actually go beyond his extra-chiseled overtly-Greek-God looks.
We do not want to be within the safety zone influenced by manipulative commercial thinking.
This is very encouraging for me as a cinema-lover, whether or not I'm a "fan", a main-stream actor, is coming back after 3.5 years and is not interested in enticing his audience with mere gimmicks. And though this comment from him might sound pretty childish and exposes the fact the limited philosophy our man is exposed to, it is rather endearing -
I can't multi-task. When I'm doing one film, I go completely into it and give my heart and soul to it. I got this inspiration from the Tinkle comic books that I used to read as a child
But, let's not get delusional. Mainstream cinema it is. There's a Spanish actress and an Australian hunk playing the villain. Though the makers do claim that those are not meant to be crowd-pullers. Also, I can't keep myself from giving him credit for giving us credit -
With so much of exposure, the audiences' taste is constantly changing. We take the masses for granted but they are smarter than any filmmaker.
Yes, the audience is patiently waiting for a successful release from a top star for too long now. And competing for the wait is the box-office's patience to go ting-ting with a bang. The makers are going all out and making their best effort in trying to satisfy both. Not only the Indian audiences and distributors, but also across oceans, what with the first look being released at nothing less than the Cannes Film Festival, itself. The hope of course is that the film will appeal to people across cultures and ethnicity and will hopefully change the way people look at Indian cinema in the overseas .
In keeping with that theme, there are a couple of new elements in the music too. At Hrithik's insistence, music director, Rajesh Roshan had to treat his ears to trance music. Also, the wait to hear Hrithik sing, is over. We wouldn't expect him to be left behind after other "stars" have given it a shot, right? Watching Rakesh Roshan talk about his son's singing skills, it sounds like it is one of the film's USPs.
Well, the wait will soon be over, for Kites is slated for release on 21st May, 2010
- meeta, a part of the audience
Perdón , Hrithik Roshan fans. Really sorry, your wait for a good Hrithik film just got longer by a few more years. The setting is beautiful and so is the cast. The beginning also makes you eager. I was completely bowled over by the rugged and necessary clueless look Hrithik wore in the opening sequence. And this was despite the absolutely captivating cinematography. The standard set by the beginning was really exciting. Hrithik is in trouble in the sandy deserts of Nevada, we don't know why. His voiceover introduces us to the small-time crook that he used to be on the strip in Las Vegas. But, all doesn't end well. I'm ok with the climax by itself, but getting there was like being on a sedative.
I won't say that it went into downhill mode immediately after the first few minutes. Dramatic editing crept in once or twice, followed by the mandatory song and boggling dance by Hrithik-Boneless-Roshan. These hints should have warned me not to take the film too seriously, despite the obvious effort. And there were a few more too. But, the interval felt like it came much earlier than expected and that's usually a good sign. The pace was just about perfect - the romance lingered and I could sense my "aawww"; the mini-twists came with quick and sharp jerks. And I was really looking forward to an enjoyable fare. But you must have guessed how this story went.
The thing is, a cliché is a cliché in any language. It remains so even if is in the sexiest accent. And it continues to bear the same character even if it is sub-titled. The dialogue is pretty much inane. And while there are some really cute moments and there are others where you can see the attempt to make it "different", there are some very "typical" situations.
Usually, a premise for a film or any story, in fact, is set up. Like say, "What if an Indian boy meets a Mexican girl?" And then you play around with the possibilities. But here it's more like esimerp (ok, sorry, bad one!). It's all reverse engineered. Looks like first came marketing - Rs. is passé, $ is what we want - and make ourselves sincerely believe that we are doing it to bring Indian cinema to a world audience.
Next, let's have this particular climax of the half-dozen ways in which a romance can end. Now let's play conflict-conflict. Eureka let's twist the standard by 2.5 degrees. Caste no bar, money no bar, religion no bar, whole-freaking country no bar. Let the objecting parties be a third person's family! And let's chop from situation to situation whenever we cannot get any more unreasonable. I shudder to think what the shorter English version will be like.
Though the non-linear narration is used with style to create interest, the focus is at the wrong place. The "what's happening now" was much more interesting than "how we got here". But, the weightage given to both the sections needed to be reversed. Also, the twists that come in the last half an hour are lame and predictable due to the one-dimensional characters created.
Kabir Bedi, Nick Brown and Kangna Ranaut is trying hard to be dysfunct. The "trying" part is because this section of the cast is too stiff. Every emotion is pretentious. And anyway, even if we feared the villains the story completely punctures the anticipation.
Hrithik and Barbara Mori do a fair job. The thing is that they look so good, that half their work is done right there. The rest of the stuff is taken care by tight close-ups. So, no body language needs to be used. Some of these tight shots work really well. Eyes mating, excitement brewing between the couple, the urge being kept under control unwillingly - all come out brilliantly. The kisses and making out are done with utmost comfort and is a much needed skill in Hindi films.
On the flip side, was this done just to give the film an international appeal? If so, that's pretty lame, because they've been there, done that. Literally and figuratively - without the "supposedly" Indian moral bindings of undying love. Maybe that's what crossover cinema is all about. snicker
Kites has super-slick production. Ace photography, definitely apt background music, intelligent editing, decent acting. I just cannot take anything away from the fact that it has outdone Love Story 2050, Blue and Drona, in terms of hopes created for high-budget visuals/effects and actual product.
Uhhh, but…story, por favor?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Stefan S, A Nutshell Review : ...The revelation of the film though, as I mentioned, still belonged to the charismatic presence of Barbara Mori, who is likely to gain plenty of adoring fans from the Indian continent ... full review
Thumbs up, by Kara Baer, Bolly Spice : ...Anurag's script is very clever and he often sets up scenes that appear to be resolving one way only to flip it around and totally foil the audience's expectations.... full review
Thumbs up, by Lisa Tsering, Hollywood Reporter : ...Despite the extremes of Basu's script and producer Rakesh Roshan's story, Roshan anchors the film with a solid, believable performance and a palpable chemistry with his co-star... full review
Thumbs up, by JEANNETTE CATSOULIS, New York Times : ...The result is a lovers-on-the-lam blast of pure pulp escapism, so devoted to diversion that you probably won’t even notice the corn.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...For all the hype about the explicit scenes, the movie’s tame by today’s standards. And quite dignified, too (no excessive body shots when the heroine’s wearing a bikini).... full review
Thumbs up, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...Kangna Ranaut has a special appearance and manages to looks pretty and dance fairly well. There is nothing new about her psychotic and unstable character which she plays with ease.... full review
So-So, by Noyon Jyoti Parasara, AOL INDIA : ...In the entire story of ‘Kites’ the importance of language or the insignificance of it in true love never surfaces as the strongest element of the film. ... full review
So-So, Indicine : ...It looked like a conscious effort, on part of the makers, to make the film appeal to the international audience while at the same time having enough in it to keep the Indian audience hooked ... full review
So-So, by Samir Dave, Planet Bollywood : ...Anurag Basu’s screenplay (also co-written by Robin Bhatt, Akarsh Khanna, and Rakesh Roshan) is fairly straightforward and avoids the typical Bollywood masala situations... full review
So-So, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...Where the film flags is when the director takes the spotlight away from his main characters and concentrates on lengthy action scenes and Indian actors speaking in bad American accents.... full review
So-So, by David Chute, The Village Voice : ...Even with the lights of the Vegas Strip forming a gauzy halo behind his tousled head, Roshan is a master at low-keying his enormous charm and shrugging off his blinding handsomeness.... full review
So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...But hey, do they make out? Not really, unless you call Barbara yakking relentlessly in Spanish as sexy or Hrithik stitching up her arm beneath the rocks as romantic. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...The culprit is the romantic track. Kites wants us to revel in the amoral adventures of J and Natasha, but when it comes to their love, the film turns utterly (and fatally) moral... full review
Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...How could he even approve of such spineless film with Hrithik Roshan at this crucial time of his career, when all the other major stars of Bollywood are coming up with consistent hits in the recent years. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...The over-oiled, muscular body of Hrithik sports a peek-a-boo Calvin Klein underwear and some sexy tan. Those green eyes shed copious tears, rather fetchingly at that... full review
Thumbs down, by ROFL Indian, Passion for Cinema : ...The action sequences often appear forced, and seem to be stitched together with their seams standing out like that in a badly thrashed T20 cricket ball in the twentieth over... full review
Thumbs down, by Padmaja Thakore, Passion for Cinema : ...But these ‘intense’ love stories particularly those that are ‘plot free’ must get one thing right – that the audience root for the lovers right from the outset.... full review
Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Passion for Cinema : ...Patangs are mentioned at the beginning of the picture and towards the end credits. Amnesiacally, the aforecited kites are forgotten in the rest of the 14-reeler which is frequently so sloooow-paced that you find yourself drifting away into a siesta.... full review
Thumbs down, by Matthew Schneeberger, Rediff : ...For a character so central to the story, the lack of detailing affects the second half of the film, because Jay's fate isn't as important to us as it should be.... full review
Thumbs down, by The ThirdMan, Upper Stall : ...Hrithik is efficient enough but not spectacular, defeated as he is by the script. Still, it is credible he opted to play a character like this.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
J (Hrithik Roshan) is in trouble because he didn't something unforgivably grave that he was not supposed to do in bad-town Las Vegas.