When the 'moments' Lived while watching a film lingers on with you much later after the curtains are drawn, you know it was a good film. As 'Kites In The Sky' reverberated in my mind on the drive back home, I was transported to a world of make belief that is worth a treasure. That's the power of cinema. And it doesn't happen too often. 'Kites' is a rare film that blends 'commercial' and the 'artistic' with a consummate ease. It satiates your hunger for entertainment as well as stimulates the cerebral instincts.
The 'Ek Duje Ke Liye' remixed-salsa context love story is decorated by a subtle undercurrent of human frailty and a wonderful romance defying the cultural and language barrier. Director Anurag Basu makes a statement when he fuses hardcore commercial formula with quality art. On the one hand there's the mesmerising courtship of Roshan and Barbara, the humour-of-misunderstanding, the salubrious locales while on the other hand, there's a scene where gun is firing indiscriminately but instead of the roar of the bullets, you get to hear a chilling background music score underlining the passionate vengeance. Now, that's Art!
The film moves back-n-forth in time and engages attention till the end. The element of Mystery maintains the curiosity levels throughout. While the first half is a build up to the love-against-all-odds, it's the second half that makes one all attentive and receptive to what-will-happen next. The chemistry between Hrithik and Barbara is magnetic. They are 'generous' when it comes to ample display of physical intimacy. Mori is sure of her voluptuous body and doesn't look uncomfortable lip-locking or merging into an enrapturing embrace with Hrithik. Their romance is unpretentious and in a way is a logical culmination of their individual situations. The manner in which this love gently becomes stronger-n-stronger is where the director triumphs and makes this love story different from the rest.
Another area where 'Kites' is a milestone film is the heightened technical finesse that the film displays in all the technical departments. Director of Photography Ayananka Bose has done a splendid job of capturing various locales like Las Vegas and Mexico in their uninhibited, raw texture. Baylon Fonseca's sound design is world class. The stunts are spectacular and a big reason in itself to watch the film and whet the adrenaline rush. Editing is crisp, simple, yet stylish. Background score by Salim-Sulaiman matches the best in the world. Some of the softer strains in the background literally tickles-n-caresses your heart longingly.
Amongst the actors, Hrithik Roshan has excelled himself. There are some scenes (specially towards the climax) when his look, the body language, the anxiety makes you feel as if you are watching God in action. The level of hard work that he has put in is simply marvelous. He deserves to be celebrated across the world. For he has the looks as well as the humungous talent to challenge the best in the business. Watch him mischievously teach Hindi expletive to his Mexican lover, con a girl into falling in love with him, transform into a loverboy pining desperately for the comforts of the arms of the most unlikely woman, turn a fugitive and then take to the gun. There are many shades to this one role and you find Roshan triumphing in all of them.
Barbara Mori is a fantastic actress and more importantly her vivacious personality is adored by the camera. You don't understand a word of what she says in Spanish but her body language and facial mannerisms says it all. She gives you several funny moments in the film especially when she tries to rob a bank or while accusing Hrithik of seducing her into trouble.
Nicholas Brown who plays the bad guy in the film is an important cog in the wheel. His manic obsessive personality, coupled with a raging vulnerable jealousy is extremely appealing. In fact, it's because of the demeaning manner that he treats Mori in the film that enrages Roshan into getting protective about her and changing the course of their lives.
Kangana Ranaut is wasted. One wonders why the hell did she say yes to such a silly role. There's very little for her to do. It's a role that any small time upcoming actress could have done. Definitely doesn't do justice to the National Award that she won recently. I wonder if Ranaut would ever promote the film even post its release.
Rajesh Roshan's music is melodious and way better than his last two films 'Krrish' and 'Krazzy 4'. Amongst the songs, 'Kites in the sky' is one song that will remain alive for many years to come. Hrithik has sung it beautifully and its wonderful to listen to this sweet simple melody crafted with such honest passion. 'Fire' is an energetic number where Roshan displays his super dancing prowess. 'Tum bhi ho wahi' and 'Zindagi do pal ki' are tender melodies that will stand the test of time.
Basu's imagination shows a remarkable leap as the transformation from the frivolous to the spiritual is done gradually over a period of time without being forced. Anurag is also one of the writers of the film along with Akash Khurana and Robin Bhatt. And their writing has a mark of layered maturity. Now, since the language of the film is a combo of Hindi, English and Spanish, the dialogues keep shifting gears. It's the tautness of the narrative, the fluidity in the screenplay that keeps taking you forward.
It's a wonderful feeling when a film lives up to the hype. Kites does. And exceeds expectations. Don't miss it!
Star Rating: ****