In what will be the widest ever release for any Indian ‘Bollywood’ production, Kites, the eagerly anticipated romantic adventure starring Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, will open globally, including the U.S. and Canada, on May 21st, day and date with its Indian release. The Rakesh Roshan production, directed by Anurag Basu, will be released by Reliance BIG Pictures on more than 2000 screens simultaneously, including over 200 in the States.
Shot completely on location in Las Vegas, Sante Fe and Los Angeles, Kites is a unique ‘Bollywood’ film in a number of ways, not the least of which is the fact that a reworked English language version, designed to extend the reach of the original, will be launched in select engagements one week later. EntitledKites: The Remix, it is being presented by Brett Ratner, who oversaw its creation. In the States, Kites: The Remix will be released in association with Mark Urman’s Paladin, and will open in several major markets, including New York and Los Angeles, for the Memorial Day holiday weekend beginning May 28th.
Produced on an epic scale, and set primarily against the lavish backdrop of Las Vegas, Kites tells the story of two star-crossed lovers who are destined to be together even though each is betrothed to another. Indian superstar Roshan, plays “J”, a charming hustler looking to make a big score, and Mori, the renowned Mexican actress (best known in America for the 2005 hit La Mujer De Mi Hermano), plays Linda, a beautiful immigrant with dreams of marrying a rich American. Their romance is described in the film as a love that “knows no language”, an apt description of Kites itself, which has more international appeal than more traditional Bollywood films.
Reliance BIG Pictures CEO, Sanjeev Lamba, commented, “Kites is a very important film for Reliance with a story that has international appeal. By releasing the original Hindi version and Brett Ratner’s Remix a week apart, we feel that we can reach the largest possible audience, including the younger demographic for whom 2+ hours is a challenge.”
As of May 21st, Kites will play at all traditional Indian film venues around the World, including Reliance’s own newly- opened Big Cinema on E. 59th Street in Manhattan, New York. However, the vast majority of the initial screens will be major-chain, mainstream commercial theaters, as well as specialty cinemas catering to foreign film-going audiences.
Officially billed as “A Brett Ratner Presentation”, Ratner’s version of Kites is, as its title suggests, a true “remix”, in that it is the same film, played to a different rhythm, running a swift 90 minutes as opposed to the 130-minute original. One of the leading action directors working in the industry today, Ratner is credited with taking Asian action star Jackie Chan and crossing him over into American superstardom with his spectacularly successful Rush Hour series. In much the same way, Kites: The Remix will target younger, hipper, more action-oriented crowd than the original. Besides playing different theaters and neighborhoods, it will also take on additional screens at many of the same multiplexes that will be playing the original version as of May, 21, an unprecedented strategy that will present an alternative to fans who want to see more- and less- of the film at the same time.
Brett Ratner said, “As a huge fan of Bollywood and its filmmakers, I was delighted when Rakesh and Anurag invited me to create a westernised version of their fabulously conceived film. The opportunity to widen the audience profile for Kites was compelling and I have thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration.”
Barbara Mori and Hrithik Roshan, and the key film making team, will attend a US premiere in New York on May 16th. The entire entourage then flies to London for the European premiere at the Odeon West End on the 18th.