Director: Rajan Khosa
Cast: Mohammad Samad, Naresh Kumar, Jayant Das
Gattu is charming film, starring an equally charming protagonist whose obsession is flying kites.
Backed by the Children’s Film Society of India, Gattu aims, very subtly, at bringing to the fore the rough life India’s underprivileged children lead. Not once resorting to shock as a preferred emotion, director Rajan Khosa ably captures the pains of destitution while building up to an optimistic climax.
Orphan Gattu (Mohammad Samad) works in the scrap yard owned by his reasonably tyrannical uncle Anees Bhai (Naresh Kumar). When not sorting scrap, Gattu’s favourite pastime is flying kites, like that of all boys in the town. When the mysterious, black kite Kali terrorises skies flying undefeated for many days, Gattu knows just what he needs to do to cut short Kali’s flight. He must fly his kite from the highest terrace in the area, which happens to be that of a school. Gattu’s well thought-out plan lands him as an impersonator in the school. When the Hermoine-like Minky discovers Gattu is not an exchange student, she threatens to expose him. What follows is childlike humour, as the utterly creative Gattu weaves tales of espionage and terrorism to fuel his passion for kite flying.
Gattu skillfully lies and steals, but director Khosa’s treatment seeks to shield him from criticism. From the school’s motto ‘Satyamev Jayate’ to the delightfulness of young friendship, Gattu doesn’t take sides. It presents grim realities of hard-up kids, whilst displaying life-changing hope.
Nothing about Gattu is fancy, except the pretty kites, flown with the help CGI effects. These soaring papers of happiness symbolise many things the deprived are not even aware of. Moments like when Gattu explains to his non-school going friends the laws of gravity with the help of a handmade sky lantern are endearing. Cinematographer Satya Rai Nagpaul captures well the dirt of an impoverished neighbourhood, while Sandesh Shandilya’s music lends it a playful vibe. Samad and the children playing Minky, Honey Singh and Manohar are effortlessly effective. Kumar as Gattu’s uncle is the perfect guardian.
Gattu scores high on the emotional quotient. It leaves you with a smile on your face.
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