Kite flying - old passion finds new celluloid expression
By Radhika Bhirani, New Delhi, June 30 : For some it denotes a victory call, for others a struggle against obstacles and important life lessons -- India's age-old tradition of kite flying is being interestingly woven into the plots and sub-plots of films like "Kai Po Che!", "Patang" and "Gattu" with varied metaphorical inferences.
Be it in titles or story, kites are finding renewed popularity in the film world. Most such projects are set in Gujarat, where colourful kites of all shapes and sizes dot the sky around Independence Day and Makar Sankranti every year.
Abhishek Kapoor has used the Gujarati phrase 'Kai po che', a street term used popularly in the state during the kite flying festival, as the title of his next film, based on Chetan Bhagat's "The 3 Mistakes of My Life".
It is so due to two reasons, he explained: "My movie is set in Gujarat, and 'Kai po che!' is a victory call when you cut someone's kite. It is also the sound of celebration."
"Since my film has Gujarat as a backdrop, where kite flying is a huge thing and above all it metaphorically fits my film perfectly, I thought this would be the best title," Kapoor told IANS.
The term "Kai po che" was also used in a peppy song from "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam". Its lyrics and picturisation were primarily around the kite flying tradition in Gujarat.
Indian-American director Prashant Bhargava, whose debut film feature film is titled "Patang", says he was inspired by the way people of Gujarat use kite flying as a mean to deal with their problems.
"What touched me about Gujarat was the way people handled tragedy - riots, natural disasters. And kite flying played such an important role in providing them that momentum to pursue (happiness) and persevere," said Bhargava.
"For me kite flying was a meditation and a purifying experience. That magic that I saw during the research period was something that I wanted to preserve," added the director, who has captured the emotions that kids go through while flying kites in his film.
Kite flying also forms the ground for "Gattu", a children's film directed by Rajan Khosa. He pans the camera around the story of a young boy who wants to win over a mysterious kite in the sky and goes out of his way to achieve this dream.
The movie, releasing July 20, has travelled to various international film festivals, and received its share of acclaim already.
"Yeh Khula Aasmaan" was another film this year which drew focus on kite flying.
Actor Raghubir Yadav, who played a kite runner in the movie, where a kite was used as a metaphor to teach lessons of life, says the movie gave him a chance to relive his childhood love for flying kites.
"I loved flying kites as a child and even today I like it. Cricket and football are all new games. At that time when we were growing up, we used to play 'gilli danda' and used to have kite flying competitions. During the shoot of the film when we flew kites, it took me back to my childhood days and I enjoyed it a lot," he said.
It's not a new phenomena.
Shakti Samanta's 1970 classic "Kati Patang" dealt with the trials and tribulations of a woman, whose life becomes a directionless kite.
The figurative use of 'kites' was also loud and clear in Rakesh Roshan's 2010 affair "Kites".
The movie's story revolved around how love goes beyond boundaries and culture, and how love grows in tough times.
For Roshan, the inspiration for the script itself came from watching two kites fly in the air, it was a deeper meaning behind that drove the makers to title the film as "Kites", which starred Hrithik Roshan and Mexican actress Barbara Mori.
"Kites fly against the wind and not with it - the stronger the wind blows, higher the kites fly. Our protagonists in the movie too face obstacles; their love grows deeper with every increasing obstacle," director Anurag Basu had said during the film's release.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at email@example.com)