Hamid Shaikh as seen in PATANG, a film by Prashant Bhargava. Picture courtesy Khushi Films. All rights reserved.
- Vijay Bhargava
- Jaideep Punjabi
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Also Known As: The Kite
Opened: 06/15/2012 Limited
|Cinema Village...||06/15/2012 - 07/05/2012||21 days|
|Columbia Park ...||06/15/2012 - 06/21/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Indian New Wave Drama (Hindi w/English subtitles)
A poetic journey to the old city of Ahmedabad, PATANG weaves together the stories of six people transformed by the energy of India's largest kite festival.
Every year a million kites fill the skies above Ahmedabad-dueling, soaring, tumbling and flying high. When a successful Delhi businessman takes his daughter on a surprise trip back to his childhood home for the festival, an entire family has to confront its own fractured past and fragile dreams.
Music and fireworks, food and laughter, a kaleidoscope of color and light, the magic of the kite flying high - a traditional recipe of healing and renewal.
With naturalistic performances from actors and non-actors alike, bold, lyrical editing, vibrant cinematography and a kinetic score, Patang delights the senses and nourishes the spirit.
"An unexpected, warm and engaging masterpiece. Outstanding camera work - precisely how I shoot my own films!" -- Michael Nyman, Composer (Gattaca, The Piano) and Filmmaker
"The storytelling is effortlessly made part of the hypnotically beautiful visuals, and woven into a kaleidoscope of colors, faces, music and a little romance. Bhargava is masterful in the way he allows his story to emerge from his mosaic, instead of spelling it out by the numbers. Evokes the old and new Indias side by side as well as I've seen done." -- Roger Ebert, Suntimes
"Bhargava knows when to stop and catch the right, fleeting expressions and gestures. There's a gentleness in this snapshot of a family and all its baggage that seems almost effortless." -- Hollywood Reporter
Prashant Bhargava has "done a fine job of interweaving India's largest kite festival and a well-integrated cast of thesps and non-pros who make viewers care about the 'little happinesses' the characters cling to." -- Variety
About Ahmedabad's Kite Festival
In India, kite flying is more than a pastime or sport. It is a fiercely competitive national obsession.
On January 14th, the city of Ahmedabad is possessed by the spirit of Uttarayan, the largest kite festival in India. According to the Hindu calendar, it is the day fondly known as the day the wind direction changes.
Four million kites are stacked and sold. At sunrise, rich and poor, Hindu and Muslim, young and old, flood their rooftops battling to cut their neighbor's kite. Amidst the sighs of defeat and the screams of victory all eyes are fixed on the vibrant spectacle above.
Once the sun sets the trees are littered with a million fallen kites. Serious kite fliers begin their final competition launching lanterns (tukkals) attached to their kite strings. With fireworks flooding the skies this marks the end of the festival.
Kites are over one thousand years old in India. The poet Manzan used the word 'patang', the more common word for kite, in his poem of 1542 A.D.
Patang & The New Wave of Indian Cinema
A new movement has emerged in Indian cinema in recent years, led by filmmakers determined to tell fiercely independent stories that provide honest reflections of contemporary Indian life. PATANG, the only Indian film to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival's Forum program, stands as a shining example, pushing the boundaries of the movement with its naturalistic performances, novel cinematic language and message of celebration and healing. This fresh, unvarnished take on India, as seen in other such movies as Dhobi Gaat, Peepli Live, Vihir, Udaan and Love Sex Aur Dhokha, has been embraced by audiences and critics around the world.
The seeds for the movie Patang were based on the memories of my uncles dueling kites. In India kite flying transcends boundaries. Rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim, young or old - together they look towards the sky with wonder, thoughts and doubts forgotten. Kite flying is meditation in its simplest form.
In 2005, I visited Ahmedabad to experience their annual kite festival, the largest in India. When I first witnessed the entire city on their rooftops, staring up at the sky, their kites dueling ferociously, dancing without inhibition, I knew I had to make this film in Ahmedabad.
Inspired by the spiritual energy of the festival, I returned the next three years, slowly immersing myself in the ways of the old city. I became acquainted with its unwritten codes of conduct, its rhythms and secrets. I would sit on a street corner for hours at a stretch and just observe. Over time, I connected with shopkeepers and street kids, gangsters and grandmothers. This process formed the foundation for my characters, story and my approach to shooting the film.
I found myself discovering stories within Ahmedabad's old city that intrigued me. Fractured relationships, property disputes, the meaning of home and the spirit of celebration were recurring themes that surfaced.
Patang's joyful message and its cinematic magic developed organically. My desire was for the sense of poetry and aesthetics to be less of an imposed perspective and more of a view that emerged from the pride of the people and place.
Seven years in the making, Patang has been a journey which has inspired and brought together many. The key theme of resilience of family is reflected by the bonds between all of us who gave our hearts to make the film.
The seeds for the movie Patang were planted in 2005, when director Prashant Bhargava traveled to Ahmedabad to experience the city's annual kite festival. "When I first witnessed the entire city on their rooftops, staring up at the sky, their kites dueling ferociously, dancing without inhibition, I had to make this film."
Inspired by the spiritual energy of the festival, he returned the next three years, documenting his experiences with over a hundred hours of video footage. Slowly immersing himself in the ways of the old city, he became acquainted with its unwritten codes of conduct, its rhythms and secrets. Prashant would sit on a street corner for hours at a stretch and just observe. Over time, he connected with shopkeepers and street kids, gangsters and grandmothers. This process formed the foundation for developing the characters and story. As he began to write the script, Prashant realized that capturing the spirit of the festival and the city-its beauty and flow, joy and strength, healing and transcendence-would require multiple narratives. And so Patang found its shape as three interwoven stories centering on a family that reunites for the kite festival.
Shot on location with a cast of both non-actors and professionals, Patang draws from the neo-realist tradition. Preserving the naturalism of the environment guided every decision during filming, from shooting style to crew size to the process with the actors. The owner of the camera store, who ended up playing Bobby's father, continued to conduct business during the two days of shooting at his shop. Having become a familiar presence in the old city proved indispensable in other ways as well. Prashant recalls, "We had a rapport and support from the politicians, police officers, gambling bookies, the shopkeepers and the grandmothers from my years of research."
To encourage that naturalism and immediacy for the family scenes, Prashant inspired both his cast and crew to just live together--eat, talk, laugh, fight. Rooftop sequences were created with a group of friends, non-actors who had been flying kites together for thirty years. Renowned actor Seema Biswas co-hosted these celebrations in character, actively helping to prepare meals. Prashant had the cast improvise, shooting them in long takes. With the cameras rolling, he would whisper their objectives to them, to bring out the dramatic elements of the scene. Shanker Raman, director of photography, and Prashant shot simultaneously with two small HD cameras. Both would approach shooting as actors themselves, quiety dancing between the actor's performances.
Patang's joyful message and its cinematic magic developed organically from the deep roots in the life of the old city that Prashant had so carefully cultivated: "The sense of poetry and aesthetics became less of an imposed perspective and more of a view that emerged from the pride of the people and place."
- Berlin Film Festival (Forum) - World Premiere
- Tribeca Film Festival - World Narrative Competition - North American Premiere
- Hawaii International Film Festival - Best Narrative Feature Film - Winner - Halekulani Golden Orchid
- DC APA Film Festival - Winner - Best Narrative Feature
- Jerusalem Film Festival
- Granada Film Festival
- World Cinema Amsterdam
- Monterrey International Film Festival
- Milano International Film Festival
- Vancouver International Film Festival
- Mill Valley Film Festival
- Chicago International Film Festival
- Indian Film Festival - The Hague
- Trondheim International Film Festival
- Hong Kong Asian Film Festival
- 3rd I South Asian Film Festival
- Philadelphia International Film Festival
- Geneva International Film Festival
- Denver Starz International Film Festival
- Stockholm International Film Festival
- Roger Ebert's Film Festival (Ebertfest)
- Indian Film Festival Of Los Angeles
- San Diego Asian Film Festival
- Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival
- India International Film Festival - Tampa Bay
About the Director
Seven years in the making, PATANG is Prashant Bhargava's first feature film. His short film SANGAM premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, garnering several awards and distinctions. The film was distributed by Film Movement and MUBI and broadcast on Arte/ZDF, The Sundance Channel and PBS. Prashant started out in the arts as a graffiti artist in his hometown of Chicago. He went on to study computer science at Cornell University and theatrical directing at The Actors Studio MFA program. For the past fifteen years, he has directed and designed commercials, music videos, title sequences and promos. Prashant's next film is entitled the HIGHLANDS.