Anurag Basu’s Overwrought, Trilingual Kites


Indian-made and tri-lingual in Hindi, Spanish and English, Kites is set and was mostly shot in the American southwest—although in its backlit visual overkill, complete with neon reflected in rain-drenched streets, it more closely resembles some of the most overwrought Hong Kong gangster romances of the late 1980s. Jay (Hrithik Roshan, one of Hindi cinema’s most engaging leading men) rolls off a freight train with a gaping bullet wound and a lot of backstory to unload. A con artist, not as amoral he thinks he is, Jay makes the mistake of falling hard for Natasha (Bárbara Mori), the fiancée of a spoiled young Sin City prince of crime, setting up an impossibly-beautiful-lovers-on-the-run-scenario that director Anurag Basu shoots like a series of windswept fashion videos. 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. Mori, a Mexican telenovela star, is almost a match for him: She’s a dead ringer for Megan Fox but warmer, less calculating in her sexiness. Not even the incoherent mish-mash of plot (mostly faux Sergio Leone by way of Tarantino and Rodriguez, with periodic car-flipping chase sequences) can entirely dim the appeal of this match-up between a blue-eyed Punjabi and a blue-eyed Mexican of almost equal comeliness. Kites will be released Stateside both in this original 130 minute subtitled version and in a shorter dubbed “remix” prepared by noted Bollywood aficionado Brett Ratner. You have been warned.