'We wanted to make a family film'

'We wanted to make a family film'

Rajan Khosa is quickly becoming a household name.  His film Gattu, a children’s film that explores the life and dreams of a kite flier who only has one wish — to cut the line of Kali, the seemingly invincible black kite that rules the Roorkee skies.

The film has received raving reviews for its simplicity, heart-warming characters and the beautiful portrayal of rural India.  

“I grew up in Old Delhi, which is where I learnt how to fly a kite. I’m a passionate kite flier and in the film, I’m the one who was flying all the kites,” confesses the Film and Television Instituted of India (FTII) graduate.

“When we were kids, I remember how we used to jump across terraces to catch a fallen kite after someone cut its line. I wanted to shoot the film in Old Delhi but it’s become too congested. I visited Old Roorkee with Ankur Tewari, one of the scriptwriters of the film and the mohallah seemed to replicate Old Delhi and the kite-flying culture. We just settled on it then and there,” he recalls. The film has won accolades at Berlinale and was named ‘Best Film’ at the New York Indian Film Festival this year.

This speaks volumes of its crew, considering it was made on a very tight budget. Still, the lack of funds did not prove detrimental in the least.

“In a way, having a small budget gave a lot of freedom to experiment with the film — we picked up locals who had never been taught to act, we took para-gliders instead of helicopters for the aerial shots to show the kite’s perspective, we didn’t have songs or dances to fit into the revenue model,” explains Khosa.

 “The real smell of reality couldn’t have been brought out if we had been expected to toe the line of a typical Bollywood entertainment film,” he adds.

The film has been produced by Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), which is headed by actress Nandita Das.

“Largely because of Nandita’s connections and vision for the film, it came out as what it is. We’re still fighting with the distribution climate to extend our commercial release and get more shows. But we don’t have to be dependent only on its release in theatres because CFSI has a network of four million kids who will get to see it through smaller screenings,” says Khosa, remaining optimistic. 

The film seems to have served the purpose of entertainment with a cause rather well among all age groups.

“The metaphor of the kite and a child’s dreams, which is used in the film, appeals to the child in you. We wanted to make a family film that offers something for both the child as well as the parent who would be taking the kid to the theatre,” says Khosa, pleased with the “overwhelming response” the film has received.

He is presently working on his next film – a thriller, which will allow Khosa to explore realms far beyond the boundaries of children’s films.

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