Patang (The Kite)

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Patang (The Kite)
Directed by Prashant Bhargava
Kushi Films
Opens June 15, Cinema Village

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An India tourist trap packed into 90 shruggable minutes, this overpraised import is less Bollywood than Generic Asian Family Drama Lite, when it’s not a flat-out sunset-choked infomercial for Ahmedabad and its annual rooftop kite-flying festival. The narrative involves the return of middle-age Jayesh (Mukkund Shukla) and his luscious daughter Priya (Sugandha Garg) from Delhi to the Western homestead, which he eventually admits to wanting to sell out from under his mother and dead brother’s family. The clichéd personae—ne’er-do-well nephew, cranky matriarch, etc.—are sketched lightly, and the film’s other four-fifths amount to zoom-happy faux-doc footage of the city and its populace, sprinkled with shaky digital sugar and even haphazard CGI washes of fuchsia and chartreuse that cast over the image like sun flares. It’s no surprise that first-timer Bhargava is U.S.-based; the whole film is a sighing ode to home where every shot carries the same single idea: You should freaking love India because I do. The kite-flying itself is also less than magical—who can tell what the competition is, exactly, even with the pounding dance music added on?—though occasional moments of arresting street life (mostly nonpro actors) do sprout through the candy-colored tissue paper.

 
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1 comments
A. Desai
A. Desai

"Western audiences get it. Some may crave more drama, tragedy, objectification of the Indian experience. Patang is not a film for everyone - it requires a cultural awareness and an openness to an emotional experience. You must want to be an active viewer when you watch Patang. It is not for people who want the obvious. The storytelling is subtle and gentle. It is an invitation. If you approach Patang with an open heart, I am sure you'll enjoy it." - Prashant Bhargava, Director of PATANG in interview with Filmi Blog. Roger Ebert writes, "The storytelling is effortlessly made, hypnotically beautiful visuals, a kaleidoscope of colors, music, faces and a little romance. Bhargava is masterful..." I am from Ahmedabad. I was fortunate to see this film at Tribeca after reading about it. I have lived in America for 20 years. I love foreign cinema and respect your reviews. This film is far more than an infomercial. I'd call it an anthem. Far more than pretty images. It brings back memories and offers all of us a hopeful message. Respectfully, you have completely missed the boat here. The drama has enormous depth and layers. I urge you to watch this film again. A beautiful and moving film like PATANG is a rare event. This is a film that should be seen. Please ignore this review and go see it for yourself!

 

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