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Movie review: 'Kites: The Remix'

Director Brett Ratner deftly reedits a satisfyingly streamlined version of the Bollywood original.

May 31, 2010|By Kevin Thomas, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Director Brett Ratner, who cemented his success with the "Rush Hour" trilogy, has taken Anurag Basu's entertaining Bollywood extravaganza "Kites," which opened just a week ago, and reworked it as "Kites: The Remix" to make it more appealing to wider audiences. Ratner has succeeded admirably without destroying the heart and soul of the original, yet oddly, the work opened Friday without benefit of media previews.

From the 130-minute original, which is actually a rather short running time for Bollywood, Ratner has cut a fast-paced 90-minute version that preserves the star-crossed lovers theme but cuts back on the soap operatics and other over-the-top moments so typical of Bollywood. Instead, he literally cuts to the chase — the long, action-packed lovers-on-the run climactic sequence, rich in amusing Hollywood genre references. Bollywood fans are used to an insistence that more is more, but Ratner shows that less can be even more. Superbly reedited and with composer Graeme Revell revving up Rajesh Roshan's splendid original score, "The Remix" is clearer, leaner, hipper and punchier, and its love story all the more poignant for it.

The essentials remain intact: Jay (Hrithik Roshan), a handsome Hindi opportunist striving to make it to the top in Las Vegas, captivates the daughter of a powerful and ruthless casino owner, but he inconveniently is thunderstruck by the ravishingly beautiful Natasha (Bárbara Mori), the fiancée of his hotheaded, soon-to-be brother-in-law (Nicholas Brown). Mutual attraction swiftly becomes a dangerous problem for Jay and Natasha, both of whom are all set to marry elsewhere for money.

One of Jay's various gigs is teaching dance, which allows a deft segue into a dance sequence in the original that shows off Roshan's sensational terpsichorean skills. It's a delightful sequence but understandable that Ratner cut it for the more Americanized version.

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