With a large chunk of the audience failing to understand Hrithik Roshan’s English dialogues in Kites and, of course, Barbara Mori’s Spanish dialogues in the same film, one is transported back in time to year 1990 when Agneepath was released. Amitabh Bachchan had dubbed his dialogues in that film in a typical voice with a very husky base, which the public found very difficult to comprehend. The voice was so irritating that the audience almost rejected the film because of that. Producer Yash Johar later got Amitabh to dub his dialogues all over again in his usual style, but, of course, the harm that had been done could not completely be undone. Way back in 1983, Kamaal Amrohi had made the characters of his Razia Sultan speak their dialogues in such chaste Urdu that the Indian audiences found it difficult to fathom what was going on on the screen. In fact, the joke that time was that Kamaal Amrohi had made Razia Sultan for the Iranians rather than the Indians. Another joke doing the rounds then was that Razia Sultan should’ve been dubbed in Hindi to cater to the Indian public. Much like exhibitors are saying for Kites – that it should’ve been dubbed in Hindi like Hollywood’s English films.
Hrithik Roshan’s character in Kites speaks English although he is shown to be an Indian who happens to live in Las Vegas. What is baffling the industry people is why producer Rakesh Roshan and director Anurag Basu did not make the character mouth his lines in Hindi? After all, Barbara Mori’s character also stays in Las Vegas but she sticks to Spanish, the language of communication of Mexico from where she has come. In the same way, Hrithik could’ve stuck to speaking in Hindi. At least that way, the film would’ve held more appeal for the Indian audience. The filmmakers would probably put forth the argument that Hrithik has been in Las Vegas since years and, therefore, has adopted English as his language of communication whereas Barbara Mori is new to Las Vegas. But this argument doesn’t hold water for the simple reason that authenticity can’t be at the cost of appeal to the audience. And then, what authenticity is one talking about? How authentic are hardcore commercial films like Kites, in any case? The motive to make Hrithik’s character speak English seems to be just one – to present him like an international star and to make the film appeal to an international audience. But at what cost?