I think that climax scene where lovers die falling of a cliff was an intentional homage to the end scene of a classic Indian film Maro Charitra, (Telugu film)*(1978) which was later remade into equally and more widely successful Hindi film "Ed Duje Ke Liye"(1980). Kites also shares the language barrier of the two lovers from this movie:
<blockquote>The movie is about the love between a Tamil man, Vasu (Kamal Haasan) and a North-Indian woman, Sapna (Rati Agnihotri), who are neighbours in (Goa). They come from totally different backgrounds, <b>and can hardly speak each other's language</b>. Their parents despise each other and there are regular skirmishes for various reasons. When Vasu and Sapna admit their love there is chaos in their homes and their parents totally reject the idea.
As a ploy to separate the lovers, their parents impose a condition that Vasu and Sapna should stay away from each other for a year, and after such a period if they still want to get together they can get married. Also, during the period there should be no contact between them whatsoever. Vasu and Sapna agree to the condition and decide to separate.
Vasu moves to Hyderabad, and they both initially suffer a lot being unable to tolerate the separation. Vasu then meets Sandhya (Madhavi), a widow who teaches him Hindi. Meanwhile, Sapna's mother brings a family friend's son, Chakram (Rakesh Bedi) to Goa to distract Sapna from her devotion to Vasu, but she is not impressed. At a chance meeting in Mangalore, Chakram lies to Vasu that Sapna has agreed to marry him. Vasu gets upset and decides to marry Sandhya on the rebound. However, Sandhya comes to know of Vasu's real love and goes to Goa to clear the misunderstanding between the lovers.
Vasu then returns to Goa and impresses Sapna's parents with his Hindi skills. When Vasu goes to meet Sapna he is attacked by an assassin hired by Sandhya's brother (Raza Murad). Meanwhile, Sapna gets raped at a temple and left to die. <b>The movie ends tragically when they both commit suicide by jumping off a cliff.</b> It was a remake of the Telugu movie Maro Charithra.</blockquote>
To answer a question you raise, yes Kites COULD have been a successful movie in India even with the doomed lover scene(there are several other examples of doomed lover films that were successful; ie. not doomed, at box office. But Kites somehow sucked big time, for me. I appreciate good Hollywood movies and good, masala, entertaining Bollywood movies. Kites is not a typical bollywood movie. Watching it was a forgettable experience for me.
Another example of doomed lovers in film in India is the several remakes of "Devdas" (a Bengali fictional story), remade (some times multiple times) in all filmmaking centers in India. The latest attempt was a successful movie starring the King of Bollywood, Sharukh Khan himself and the "most beautiful woman in the world" Aishwarya Rai.
<blockquote>Devdas (Hindi) is a 2002 Hindi film based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novella Devdas. This is the third Bollywood (Hindi) version and the first colour film version of the story in Hindi. The film is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and stars Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, and Aishwarya Rai in the leading roles.
At the time of its release, Devdas was the most expensive Bollywood film ever produced, with a reported budget of Rs 50 crores. The film was released in six alternative language versions: English, French, German, Mandarin, Thai, and Punjabi.</blockquote>
<blockquote>[...]On the verge of death, Devdas remembers his promise to see Paro one last time. He travels to her house, collapsing in front of the main gate. Paro learns of his presence, and, screaming his name, runs out of the house and attempts to reach him. Bhuvan, probably thinking she is going to escape for her lover, sees this and orders the servants to close the gates. Devdas sees a blurred image of Paro running to him, but the gates close before she can reach him and Devdas dies. At the same time, the lamp that Paro had lit for him flickers out. The screen goes black as Devdas lies dead in front of the mansion as Paro sobs, heartbroken.</blockquote>
*Telugu film industry, also called Tollywood, is one of the 5/6 major centers of film making in India (refereed by one commenter above). Others are Tamil(Kollywood), Bengali and Malayalam language industries. Tamil and Telugu industries tend to produce as many as the Bollywood movies in number. Bengali and Malayalam industries produce arty-type/independent films more. World renowned Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray was a Bengali who is known for his Apu Trilogy films( finds place in the Times 100 films of the 20th century).
Thanks very much. Now I see why KITES did not make it with Indian audiences. The Mermaid-went-back-to-the-sea final scene must have annoyed Indians as much as it annoyed me.
I'm an American married to an Indian, so I've probably seen more Indian films than the average American.
Bollywood should not be used to describe any and all movies that come out of India, nor movies about India.
Slumdog Millionaire is not at all a Bollywood film. It was a British/Scottish crew and company that made that film.
Not all movies that come out of India are song and dance, cheese-fests. Mr. and Mrs. Ayer, Water, Fire, etc. are all non-Bollywood Indian movies. I personally think that Mr. and Mrs. Ayer is the best Indian movie that I have seen.
Much to my wife's dismay, I don't care for very many Bollywood films or their talent. I find the majority of the movies ridiculous with silly plots and even sillier dialogue. So many of the movies borderline on the fantastical. I also really dislike the "borrowing" from Western films. Not all Bollywood movies are terrible, but if I have to see another 3 1/2 hr long song and dance bore-fest, it will be too soon.
I don't care for very many Bollywood films or their talent. I find the majority of the movies ridiculous with silly plots and even sillier dialogue. So many of the movies borderline on the fantastical. I also really dislike the "borrowing" from Western films.
I agree, most bollywood movies are pretty awful. It does not deserve to be called "Indian cinema" since it does not represent the real India, just a fantasy India which they created. However, they are not intended for us. They are not even made for the NRI's or Indians born in the west. They are made for the masses of India, which includes many with low literacy rates and income. That's why they are so simplistic and fantastical, as those people do not want to see realistic cinema which may depress them. They want to fanatsize that they are the kids of rich businessmen with endless cash to spend and alot of time to globe-trot around the world.
When a new bollywood film is released, you have to wonder not if it's gonna be good, but if it's not as crappy as the last.