Bollywood film Kites started strongly at the box office in India, but mixed reviews have dented initial enthusiasm. Distributors Reliance Big Pictures said the movie, Bollywood’s biggest ever overseas release, grossed more than Rs 6.5 crore worldwide in its opening weekend. But patchy reviews and extensive subtitling of English and Spanish dialogue have turned domestic audiences off the film, reported to have cost more than Rs 150 crore to make.
"The film had a fantastic opening weekend. It made Rs 30.5 crores (305 million rupees) net and business at multiplexes was strong, but single screens saw large drops," said Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh. "The film has cost its distributors an exorbitant amount and at the rate the business has started sliding downwards, they would incur heavy losses on this one," he added.
Starring Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, opening-day collections in India on Friday of Rs 10.4 crore were second only to Aamir Khan’s hit 3 Idiots.
Box office tracker hollywood.com said the romantic drama, made the top 10 in North America in its opening weekend — a first for a Bollywood film — with takings of one million dollars.
But one domestic movie-goer, Jitendra Panchal, said after seeing the film: “My eyes were hurting to read Hindi subtitles when Barbara Mori speaks in Spanish — and she speaks a lot in the film.” Another audience member, Anita Desai, agreed: “I went to see a Bollywood film and I felt cheated because Kites was an English film.”
The disappointing reaction comes after total Indian cinema revenues fell 14 percent last year due to a producers’ boycott of multiplex venues, swine flu and a string of big-budget flops.
Two versions of Kites were made, one in Hindi lasting 130 minutes and another in English cut to 90 minutes.