Produced by Rakesh Roshan’s Filmkraft and Reliance Big Entertainment, Kites was being perceived as one of the year’s most anticipated and expensive films, but it appears to have become a non-experiment. Releasing in English and Hindi, the film created an enormous buzz. However, it has left the trade circuit, the audience and the critics disappointed.
According to critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh, Kites will get an initial response, but sustaining for a prolonged period will be difficult. "The content doesn’t work for the typical Indian audience. The distributors will suffer losses," he adds.
Komal Nahta, another tradesmith and critic, is rather optimistic, but is still not sure about the film. "The craze for this film is unbelievable. Though I am not sure about the overseas audience, I am sceptical about its fate in India," he points out.
Guesstimates are that Reliance Big Entertainment had purchased the film for approximately Rs 85 crore, according to Nahta. However, Vikas Mohan, the editor of the trade magazine Super Cinema, informs that the news in the trade circles was that Kites was sold for Rs 125 crore. "Later the price was reduced by Rs 20 crore, and the film eventually went for Rs 105 crore," he adds.
According to Mohan, the overseas trade reports of the film aren’t too pleasing either. "Kites is an old story. It seems like a film from the 1960s; and is very slow. Rakesh Roshan was trying to make a modern day Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), but has failed. That movie had a lot to offer. This one is meant for a multiplex audience. They have attempted to make a Hollywood film, not realising that they have seen tonnes of these films and it’s nothing new to them. In the process, even the Indian audiences may be put off," he rues. "It will be a huge loss for Reliance."
Disappointment, some more
Brett Ratner’s edited English version, Kites — The Remix — runs into 90 minutes only. Bharathi Pradhan, the editor of Film Street Journal, returned disappointed. Reason: the film is largely about Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori’s chemistry, which she feels was missing in the film.
"I like Anurag Basu’s cinema. We’re used to Rakesh Roshan’s unexpected twists, but Kites didn’t have any of them. The story is stagnant," adds Pradhan.
Kites released simultaneously in multiple markets. Speculations are that the release strategy behind the film sent the budget skyrocketing. "With two versions, the prints could have cost them between Rs 40 and Rs 50 crore. The overall price then shoots up to Rs 140 crore, making it the most expensive film ever made in Bollywood," states Mohan, adding that Kites hopes to sustain throughout the week to recover costs, as against other films that depend more on a heavy weekend opening.
I am not sure about the overseas audience, but I am sceptical about Kites’ fate in India. One goes prepared to watch a Hindi movie, but the movie is in English and Spanish. So, it is as if one prepares for an Algebra paper, but when he reaches the examination hall, he is given a History paper.
— Komal Nahta, trade analyst and critic
Like most big movies, Kites will have a good opening. But the box-office collection will nose dive later in the week.
—Deepa Gahlot, critic
I don’t think this movie will run because although the story is good, the power in the script is missing.
—Taran Adarsh, trade analyst and critic
—As told to Manali Shah and Karishma Iyer
‘Kites is ironically atypical’
Average Rating*: 7.2/10: rotten tomatoes
An intense, exciting and highly entertaining film: Toronto Star
It tells a simple story — an almost archetypal story — but it does so with a lot of passion and technical sophistication: San Francisco Chronicle
Basu strictly observes the B-movie convention of giving the audience an embrace, explosion or chase sequence at regular intervals. If you don’t like the genre, wait for three minutes: Philadelphia Inquirer
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: Village Voice
In its telling, the love story draws from westerns, musicals, film noir, chase thrillers with stunts so preposterous they verge on parody — and it gets away with everything because of Basu’s visual bravura and unstinting passion and energy: Los Angeles Times
Bollywood’s widest US release till date, hitting 215 stateside screens, is ironically atypical. A romantic melodrama in English, Spanish and Hindi, with many a dance numbers: Film Journal International
Kites pulls no punches in its histrionic story of love and revenge. It also spares no expense in the telling with the cast of primarily Hindi actors gnashing their way through a beautifully stylish production and several large-scale action set pieces: Seattle Times
‘Slow, good performances but…’
The first hand public response to Kites at various city cinema halls
Meena Shah (25): Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori have done a good job. But I did not like the climax. Dil mera is the best song of the film.
Isha Bunge (30): It’s nice but slow-paced. Barbara is sexy and Hrithik looks awesome. The music is cool, Zindagi is my favourite song. This is better than Anurag Basu’s Life In A Metro.
Pranav (30): The plot is praise-worthym but I didn’t like the ending. Hrithik and Barbara have acted well. The music is pleasing. Worth a watch!
Manan Jain (15): The chemistry between Hrithik and Barbara is great and I liked their performances. The music is awesome.
Anjana Punch (33): I couldn’t understand anything. The music is average. Hrithik and Barbara have acted well but it’s a downer overall!
Shubham Jain (17): It’s average fare. Hrithik is laudable and Barbara passes muster. The music is superb.
Firoza Kothari (18): It’s a one-time watch. Hrithik and Barbara look hot. The plot isn’t great, but the music in Kites is better than Life In A Metro.
Rachit Lunkad (19): The movie is strictly okay. It’s a Bollywood potboiler. Hrithik is excellent and Barbara looks sexy. The music is great.
Tanvi Sadekar (20): It’s an average movie, but I can’t stop humming Dil kyun yeh mera. Hrithik and Barbara share great chemistry.
Metro Big Cinema, CST
Deepali Sharma (29): Nothing great about this masala potboiler. Hrithik’s done his bit as the leading man, but the film lacks a
storyline. Life In A Metro was better. It had a story.
Siddharth Venkat (24): Hrithik has proven that he’s a saleable name and face internationally. Barbara looks good with him. The locations are a must-see. The music isn’t bad, but it’s the case of new bottle old wine!
Meera Kadam (31): The hype was baseless for a movie where everyone just seems to be running around with no story in place. After Metro, this is a disappointment from Anurag Basu. Hrithik compensates in the acting and dance departments, Barbara is okay and the music is just average.
Pooja Athreya (35): I didn’t like it because it’s slow. I liked Hrithik but can’t say the same for Barbara. The score is average.
Sheela Sudan (51): It’s too Hollywoodish for a Bollywood audience. Hrithik is superb but Barbara is average. Ditto the music.
Shivkumar Sudan (53): It’s an absolute drab. Hrithik is marvelous in every department. Kangana Ranaut was better than Barbara. The music is not great either.
Amit Makhija (20): It doesn’t meet my expectations. The story could have been built better. Hrithik is fabulous as always, Barbara is average. The tracks aren’t extraordinary.
Bhavesh Singh (19): The story is different. Hrithik and Barbara are fab. The music is the highlight for me.
Inder (19): It’s well-made, but I felt Hrithik hasn’t done justice to the role this time. Barbara Mori is a discovery. I enjoyed the music.
Abhishek (19): It’s okay. The music kept me in my seat throughout the movie. Hrithik and Barbara fit their roles perfectly.
Rushabh (19): I enjoyed Kites. The songs are fantastic and hold the film together. Kudos to Hrithik and Barbara for their performances.
Akshay (19): It’s well-made. Hrithik and Barbara are cool. The songs are catchy. The background score is excellent.
Hassan (19): The story is different. Though Hrithik could have been better. The music is fine.
Ankit Bane (19): I liked it. Hrithik is fantastic. Barbara looks pretty. I didn’t find the music great. Life In A Metro was far better though.
Anand Rupnar (22): The movie was fine but the climax was poor. The leading pair looks great. The music is nice. Anurag’s (Basu) last movie was better.
Mayur Chaudhary (25): It’s a cool film but the climax is poorly executed. The music and Hrithik and Barbara’s performances are kickass. But Life In A Metro was superior.
Daxit Selmani (24): Hrithik’s great in every scene and the action sequences. Barbara was okay. I liked the background score.
Ujwal Siriah (27): The lead actors were brilliant but I don’t remember any song from the movie.
— Complied by Manali Shah, Anusha Venkatram, Priyanka Ketkar and Karishma Iyer