The Kite Line That Binds

Uttarayana is the day the sun travels north, indicating that summer would soon arrive. People in India celebrate by flying kites (patang) from their rooftops. Set against the backdrop of Uttarayana, a businessman, Jayesh, returns to hometown Ahmedabad with his daughter Priya to experience the festival. Eager to relive his childhood memories and to teach Priya about Uttarayana, Jayesh forgets that his family’s life in Ahmedabad isn’t all that rosy since his departure and his nephew is sure to show him that. It is now time to resolve some family issues.

Patang is a lovely film about the special bond family members have with one another. The patang – particularly the one in orange and fuchsia– is representative of Jayesh’s family’s relationship. Each time the kite gets lost or broken, tension between family members builds and we are revealed a little bit of the problem. Of course, in the end, family ties get tethered and spirits (and the kite) are lifted again.

Wonderfully acted and contains no Bollywood cliché, American-born director Prashant Bhargava spent a total of six years making his first feature. During his first visit to Ahmedabad, he witnessed Uttarayana and fell in love with the city. He spent three years observing Ahmedabad and researching about the people, before documenting. He then spent another three years writing the script, gathering resources and finally shooting the film. Bhargava chose Ahmedabad, as opposed to other kite-flying cities, due to its rustic setting. Other cities are over-used in films, he claims in the Q&A after the screening at VIFF. The way he sees Ahmedabad is surely present in the way he shoots the film, through a soft, naturalist lens.

Athena Wong

Patang (The Kite)
India, 2011
Dir: Prashant Bhargava