x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

New Indian film focuses on high-flying Gujarat

The Indian-American director Prashant Bhargava shows a different side to the troubled state.

The Indian-American director Prashant Bhargava is making waves in international festivals for his debut feature film Patang, which tells the story of a family transformed by India's largest kite festival, in the state of Gujarat.

"What touched me about Gujarat was the way people handled tragedy - riots, natural disasters. And kite-flying played such an important role in providing that momentum to persevere," said Bhargava. "Kite-flying was a purifying experience for them."

In the film, a successful Delhi businessman takes his rebellious daughter on a trip back to his childhood home for the festival, where they end up confronting their fractured relationship.

The cast is made up of non-actors; Bhargava did a three-month acting workshop with them. "I would tell them to roam around town for two weeks, do whatever they want to find their character. Go to chai shops, listen to people, watch how they spoke. That was the way we worked," he said.

Born and raised in Chicago, Bhargava has previously directed music videos and commercials, evident in the film's lyrical and visual qualities.

"For the first time, here's a film showcasing Ahmedabad in a positive light, not the riots," he said. "It's very Indian in roots, very musical."

Patang has screened in festivals in Berlin, New York, Hawaii, Washington and Granada. It will be shown in cinemas around the US on Friday. * IANS