A romantic adventure set in Las Vegas, the Southwest and rural Mexico, “Kites” has been given the no-holds Bollywood treatment by producer Rakesh Roshan and director Anurag Basu. 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.
The film is free of both subtlety and irony, and it demands of its charismatic stars, Hrithik Roshan and Bárbara Mori, that they act their hearts out with the utmost sincerity. The result is an exhilarating escapist entertainment that plays out like a violent and floridly poetic allegory.
Roshan’s Jay is a resourceful Vegas taxi driver from India who has big dreams. When he attracts Gina (Kangana Ranaut), the pretty daughter of a major casino owner, Jay thinks he has it made. But when he encounters Natasha (Mori), the fiancée of Gina’s hotheaded brother Tony (Nick Brown), mutual attraction strikes and soon they are on the run with one hair-raising incident and plot twist following another.
Mori has a sultry gorgeousness that at times recalls Ava Gardner. Roshan, a sensational dancer, has the dashing, chiseled looks of a silent movie matinee idol. Indeed, “Kites” is so heady and naive a brew, it would have been perfect for the silent screen.
“Kites.” MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time 2 hours, 10 minutes. In English, Hindi and Spanish, with English subtitles. In selected theaters.