A documentary set during the kite festival of Ahmedabad is winning laurels worldwide
"The protagonist of my film is nine-year-old Zaid Khedawala. He is passionate about kites and chases and flies them from wherever he can. This passion is what I started following, and it finally led to a narrative," says Hardik Mehta, the director of the documentary Amdabad Ma Famous, which has won multiple national and international awards in a few months after it has been released.
Ahmedabad skyline during the kite flying festival; The protagonist, Zaid, is ecstatic at catching a kite
Set in the older part of Ahmedabad, the documentary that will be screened in the city tomorrow, traces the excitement around the festival of Uttarayan, when the skies are covered with kites and lanterns. "A beauty that no fictional set can capture," adds Mehta.
The trailer of the film shows the night sky of the city filling up with lanterns that are flown from rooftops. Everybody is on their roofs as the sun sets, flying kites and helping others. Charmed by the beauty of the lantern-lit sky, no one seems to be willing to climb down. This is when we are introduced to Zaid, described as the kite runner like none other. He flies kites from busy road dividers, steep walls and roofs, and negotiates traffic, bolts through meandering lanes shocking lazing dogs and men on the way to catch kites.
"It is when there is a restriction on kite runner that the dramatic conflict of the story begins," says Mehta, who has earlier worked for Phantom Films Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera (2013) and Vikas Bahl’s Queen (2014) — as a script supervisor. He mentions that though there was no conscious effort, the story revolves around a Muslim family, though Uttarayan is a Hindu festival.
"In January 2014, I was in Ahmedabad for a short while, toying with the idea of making a film and started randomly taking stills in the city. It struck me how beautiful the city is and I called cinematographers Piyush Puty and Harshbir Singh for the project. They were excited about it too," Mehta recounts.
The film was shot over two years and Mehta was supported by the likes of Motawanae. Already, Amdavad Ma Famous has won National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film at 63rd National Film Awards for 2015 and the Best Short Documentary award at the 2015 Budapest International Documentary Film Festival. It was also nominated for the prestigious Golden Award and won the Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival, Doha, Qatar in 2015.
On: May 27, 7 pm
At: Prithvi Theatre, 20, Juhu Church Road, Juhu.
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