It stars Hritik Roshan, Bollywood’s leading star– mainly due to his stunning looks and amazing dance skills (think Brad Pitt meets Justin Timberlake), opposite Barbara Mori a Mexican model making her Indian screen debut. Rumours have it that the couple shared their on-screen romance off-screen. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the two stars is the only thing that is believable in this movie….
Roshan plays a Vegas dance teacher who earns spare cash by marrying illegal immigrants so they can obtain green cards. The daughter of Vegas’ most rich and corrupt casino owner falls for him, and he romances her in the hope of inheriting her wealth. Along comes his psychotic brother-in-law to be with his Spanish fiancée (Mori), who also happens to be one of the illegal immigrants that Roshan had previously married. She too is after the family goldmine. But Roshan and Mori fall in love, and elope, spending the rest of the movie hiding from Mori’s fiancée who is intent on tracking them down and taking revenge.
This involves car chases, car chases, and ...more car chases.
Unfortunately the storyline is flawed – we feel little sympathy for the ‘star crossed lovers’ who are also gold-diggers. The stunts, whilst on par with Hollywood standards, are OTT and unrealistic, for example, the lovers out-running a five-car police chase in a beat-up old van, culminating in escape by jumping out of the windows onto a passing hot air balloon! The songs, a trademark of Bollywood films, are uninspiring. Most disappointing is the end - the message that has so desperately been churned out throughout the film is contradicted - love does not actually conquer all!
What works for the movie? The fact that English, Spanish and Hindi are spoken in equal parts throughout. The sparse use of subtitles brings in authenticity as Mori and Roshan’s characters do not understand each other's languages. This brings in some humour, like when Mori asks Hritik how to say ‘I love you’ in hindi and he makes her say ‘I am an idiot’ (albeit romantically) instead. Hritik’s conversion from charming schemer to broken man is conveyed moderately well. Mori emotes her character’s mix of vulnerability and toughness nicely with her facial expressions, however her accent is more Polish than Spanish! The Mexican desert provides the setting for the film, with great shots throughout.
Overall Bollywood must be applauded for taking on Kites. It is different to the usual ‘masala’ movies on offer. However the plot was weak and relied on too many stunts. Kites certainly had potential, but it's an opportunity the director simply let fly away.