Kites -- Film Review



SAN FRANCISCO -- If one is going to make a grand, action-packed love story set amid the garishness of Las Vegas and starring one of India's most charismatic actors, there's no point in being shy about it.

Filmmaker Anurag Basu has struck an outlandish tone with "Kites" with his over-the-moon, operatic approach that fits the film just right. "Kites" isn't likely to suit enough mainstream viewers to justify its U.S. release on more than 200 screens (the widest release of any Hindi film to date), but art house audiences and Indian movie buffs are sure to get into the swing of it.

A 130-minute Hindi-language cut of the film was screened for critics. A 90-minute "international" English version, edited by Brett Ratner, sounds promising.

J (Hrithik Roshan), a cocky, larcenous young Indian-American man, and Mexican hottie Natasha (Barbara Mori) each have a naughty streak. They meet while on parallel tracks to seduce a wealthy brother and sister (strongly played by Indian model Kangna Ranaut and Australian actor Nicholas Brown) but soon realize that despite the fact that they don't speak a common language, their love is the real thing, worth more than money.

Meanwhile, a ruthless Vegas crime boss, Bob (Kabir Bedi), happens to be the father of the brother-sister pair, and he'll stop at nothing to block J and Natasha.

What makes the movie pop is a standout performance by Roshan, one of Indian cinema's treasures. Blessed with near-divine good looks and a chiseled form (not to mention an auspicious extra right thumb), the green-eyed actor also happens to be Bollywood's most accomplished dancer.

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 that will remind audiences just how hot a good Bollywood romance can be.

Opens: May 21 (Reliance Big Cinema)
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Nicholas Brown, Kangna Ranaut, Kabir Bedi
Director: Anurag Basu
Screenwriters: Anurag Basu, Robin Bhatt, Akarsh Khurana
Producer/story: Rakesh Roshan
Director of photography: Anayanka Bose
Production designer: David Baca
Costume designer: Suneet Verma
Stunt coordinators: Spiro Razatos, Denney Pierce
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Editors: Akiv Ali, Brett Ratner
No rating, 130 minutes