A mortally wounded man stumbles through the harsh terrain of the Mexican desert fighting the brutal sun and draining the last reserves of his strength for a chance to see his true love one last time. Through dynamic flashbacks the tale of J and Linda unfolds – the tragic love story of a couple destined to be together yet doomed to be apart. That story is Kites: The Remix which has its UK release today.
Bollywood mega star Hrithik Roshan plays J, the smooth talking street hustler who has lost count of his cash-convenient marriages. Mexican soap star Bárbara Mori is the misplaced wife who catches his eye and changes his ways. A twist of fate throws them into each other’s lives once more and sets them on a relentless chase through the glitz of Las Vegas back to the dusty orange roads and verdant fields of Linda’s childhood.
Originally conceived as a true Bollywood melodrama, complete with requisite song and dance number, Kites conforms to the traditions of that genre. What less unusual about it however is that American producer/director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) created an alternate version of that film from the same source material. Intended to reach a younger, action-orientated, audience, Kites: The Remix has a shot of pure Hollywood adrenalin straight through its heart. Many of the voices have been rerecorded, though the leads remain unaltered, and Sin City’s Graeme Revell has introduced a brand new background score. The resulting feature, at a slick 93 minutes runtime, aims to be a classic pursuit movie with an exotic accent. A Bollywood heart jumping to a Hollywood beat.
Kites in its original incarnation opened here last week. The slick and stylish Bollywood adventure was eagerly anticipated by fans worldwide. This is not that film. Kites: The Remix does exactly what it says on the tin; it takes the ingredients of its Bollywood sibling, and then tosses out all the pesky Bollywood bits, filling the holes with a high octane sound track and some terrible dubbing – a remix a la Jive Bunny. For what is a Bollywood movie without song, dance and soul…a flaccid shell of its former self.
The tragedy is that glimpses of the real film remain: the tail ends of gorgeously exuberant, colourful scenes. But then the Ratner money train rattles on, speeding us away from back story and character to crashing cars and, well, car crashes; Kites remixed simply isn’t very interesting. When you strip away the intricacies of J and Linda’s story all you have left is two beautiful people flailing from scene to scene in a production that begins to feel like a car ad made by a man obsessed with Thelma and Louise.
There is chemistry between Roshan and Mori (necessarily so because we have little else to focus our waning attention upon) and the conclusion is genuinely moving; if a little out of step with the theme park ride pacing of what has passed before. Ultimately though, Kites: The Remix is a very sorry excuse for a film. Brett Ratner had an opportunity to introduce a bright splash of Bollywood bold colour to a wider viewing world. Instead he chose to render it magnolia bland.
I suspect Kites would offer its audience a splendid night at the movies (seek it out, see it and let me know!) but The Remix has little to recommend it. One to puzzle over on DVD when there’s nothing on the telly. Let us hope the remixing trend isn’t here to stay.