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Cast: Mohammad Samad, Naresh Kumar, Jayanta Das
Director: Rajan Khosa
Indian Express Rating:***1/2
There's something entirely joyous about kites fluttering high in the sky, far away from us, and yet close enough to be enticing. 'Woh Kaata' is a shout many of us will remember from our childhood, at least those of us lucky enough to have had the freedom to be outdoors, handling` patangs' and ` manjha' : oh the hours I spent all those summers ago learning how to fling the kite just that way, so that it would get that exact lift, and away, away it would go, soaring, lifting our spirits.
Gattu's ( Samad) sole spot of joy also comes from his deft handling of kites. Kite-flying helps him escape his life full of drudgery in a` kabaadkhaana', surrounded by the discards of other people. He is an orphan who's been taken under his `chacha''s ( Kumar ) wings, so he's not exactly on the streets, but he could very well be, given that he gets a bare bed and scant food and a lot of brusqueness in return for unending free labour. The one thing that bothers him, as he goes about his pursuits, is a black kite : it appears every day, squiggles its tail triumphantly at those trying to 'cut' it, and disappears. Who is the mysterious owner? And where does it go?
Rajan Khosa's 'Gattu' is a charming film which will appeal to both children and adults. Because it doesn't patronise or talk down to its young cast, nor to its potential viewers. Gattu's poverty, which we can see in his unwashed, dirty clothes, and in his surroundings, is not used to beat us on the head with : he may be poor in terms of having spendable money, but in other ways, Gattu is rich. Because he has the sprirt to keep himself from drowing in self-pity, and also because he has the smarts to outwit his suspicious uncle, to get what he wants : a brand new kite to out-fly Kali.
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