x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Bollywood's first English production hopes to grab western fans

Kites: The Remix is also banking on its star power to draw fans - and their friends, who may have given his previous foreign-language fare a pass.

Kites, one of the biggest films ever produced in India, will be released this month in English as Kites: The Remix.
Kites, one of the biggest films ever produced in India, will be released this month in English as Kites: The Remix.

DUBAI // Bollywood's first movie in English hopes to grab the attention of a Western audience with a romantic adventure about a fugitive who searches for his lady love while on the run in the US. Scheduled for release in India and 35 other countries, Kites: The Remix stars the popular Indian actor Hrithik Roshan and the Mexican actress Barbara Mori. It has been reworked by Brett Ratner, the Hollywood director of Rush Hour and X-Men fame, into a 93-minute package.

The English version releases in the Middle East on May 27, a week after the Hindi version tomorrow. The Hindi version will be shown on 45 screens in the UAE. The number of screens for the English version has not been finalised. Film analysts believe a crisply edited Bollywood movie in English will be more palatable for western audiences who may like Indian cinema but struggle through subtitled fare. The Hindi version lasts more than two hours. 3 Idiots, the highest-grossing Bollywood movie released in the US, took in a modest US$8.7 million (Dh32.1m) in 2009. "This film aims to target Americans and Europeans," said Komal Nahta, a Mumbai-based publisher of Film Information, a trade guide.

"It's looking at a crossover audience to draw in non-Asians and non-Hindi speakers. They are trying to break new ground." Tall and well-muscled, Roshan enjoys superstar status in India and filmmakers are banking on his star power to tempt audiences into cinema halls. The star's fans in Dubai are already vowing to drag friends to see the English version. "I love everything about him," said Ann Taylor, 23, a French national who is studying management at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. "My friends make fun of me because I even see his movies without subtitles. Now it's great; I will understand what he says."

Abi Burgess, 38, a British expatriate who lived in India until she was 15, also planned to watch the film. She hoped her friends would tag along to re-examine their notions of cinema from the subcontinent. "I will get my friends to see the English version," she said. "They usually think Indian movies have no substance and I'm hoping to tell them, 'Come see this, it will be different'." @Email:rtalwar@thenational.ae