x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

An Indian tradition flies on to the big screen

There are many sides to kite-flying, as three films show.

India's age-old tradition of kite-flying is being woven into the plots of new Bollywood films such as Kai Po Che!, Patang and Gattu.

Kai Po Che!, due for a January release in India, is set in Gujarat, which hosts India's largest annual kite-flying festival. The film's title, says its writer and director Abhishek Kapoor, literally translates to "I have cut", a phrase uttered by a flyer when his kite cuts one belonging to another.

"It's a victory call," said Kapoor, whose film stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav and Amit Sadh.

The Indian-American director Prashant Bhargava says his debut feature film Patang was inspired by the way the people of Gujarat use kite-flying to deal with their daily problems.

"What touched me about Gujarat was the way people handled tragedy - riots, natural disasters. Kite-flying played such an important role in providing them with that momentum to pursue happiness and persevere," he said.

"That magic that I saw during my research period was something that I wanted to preserve. For them, kite-flying was a meditation and a purifying experience."

Kite-flying also features in Gattu, a children's film directed by Rajan Khosa, about a street kid who sneaks into a school to fly a kite from its roof.

The film, out in India on July 20, has travelled to various festivals and was honoured with a special mention at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. * IANS