Planet Bollywood
Producer: Rakesh Roshan
Director: Anurag Basu
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Kangana Ranaut, Luce Rains, Kabir Bedi
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Lyrics: Nasir Faraaz and Asif Ali Beg
Genre: Romantic
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs 30 min
Film Released on: 20 May 2010
Reviewed by: LIdia Ostepeev  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
More Reviews and Analysis by PB Critics:
    • Feature Review by Samir Dave - Rating: 7.5 / 10
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Music Review
Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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  • It’s difficult to pin an audience to this Rakesh Roshan produced Hrithik Roshan starrer. Director Anurag Basu (Life in a Metro, Gambler) has done his best with a thin storyline and poor dialogues but the result is not memorable. If I was a young, male, Indian multiplex film-goer would I like it? I might think it is okay. Uruguayan born Barbara Mori looks hot, there are car chases, smashes and a bit of violence but a very slow moving first half. If I was a young, male Western film-goer would this appeal? Probably not. From a Western male perspective, there’s no sex in the movie because there are no explicit lovemaking scenes and the action sequences are not varied or sophisticated enough. Would this film work with a young, male Hispanic audience given that Mori is known to them? Again I would suggest that it is not steamy enough for young latino viewers. If the film is not signalling loud and clear to prospective male audiences who then, is it aiming to attract? Females? Young ones? From which cultural background? Ah the problems of reviewing crossover films.

    Essentially we have a standard Bollywood narrative, shot in a Bollywood way, with songs and a bit of dancing. The story is Romeo and Juliet-ish but devoid of charm. Jai (Hrithik Roshan) is a con-man who falls for a woman whose liaisons are dangerous. Natasha (Barbara Mori) is involved with gangsters who run a casino in Vagas. The plot is threadbare so no more can be revealed.

    Would-be producers and directors of crossover films, bring back proper Bollywood songs; those that contain fantasy, chorography, colour, and even lip-synching! They are a selling point. Foreign audiences identify them with Bollywood films and non-diasporic fans are hooked on them. It is your job to convince overseas audiences that songs can enrich narrative flow but reducing them to background music for on-the-road exploits is not the way to do it.

    If songs become too naturalistic then filmmakers risk drawing films out unnecessarily. Kites begins in the traditional way. Our protagonist is shown in a state of distress- riddled with bullets, lying in a pile of hay in the middle of nowhere. We are shown in flashback how he ended up in this pitiful condition. This set-up is well known to viewers of Bollywood films. What it means is that there will be chronological breaks and a fair bit of fragmentation - in the first half at least. Combine this with the idea of songs as a description of what has already been shown, and we must question if they add value to the film. Or do they merely create superfluous length and more fragments for us to kaleidoscopically bring together.

    What I missed is engagement with the characters. The cameras dance busily from one extreme close-up to the next, moving from one time frame to another but we are deprived of situational interplay between the leads. So they don’t speak each others languages. This is no excuse for unrelentingly clichéd situations and weak dialogues - ‘Your dream. My dream. Same. It’s our destiny.’ A bit too much like ‘Me Tarzan. You Jane’ for my liking.

    Barbara Mori has the acting style required of Bollywood heroines. She has enough charisma to match Hrithik’s stellar presence. However, his close-ups were generally more complimentary. Hrithik’s skin texture was more even, his teeth more perfect, his crying more aesthetic. Cleary, he was the focus. The full rendition of the song “Fire” (Rajesh Roshan) is not really essential to the story. It is contrived to allow the star to do his moves. In fact Kangana Ranaut’s role as the don’s daughter is not really vital except that it allows the story to detour to the big dance number.

    The metaphor of the kites being the lovers is a good one. Pity that the screenplay was so dull, the stunts so repetitive and the love story - despite the actors’ best efforts - so lacking in heart.

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