Prashant is an award-winning filmmaker and designer. Prior to his career as a filmmaker, Prashant worked on a joint project of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and New York University instructing Chicago Public School teachers to use media and technology to tell their own stories and challenge public misconception. A native of Chicago, Prashant’s interest in the arts began as a graffiti artist. His award-winning first feature, Patang, is slowly releasing across the country and opens in LA this Friday.
I’m honored to be a Guest Offender. I’m excited to share that my feature film, Patang, has been making the festival rounds from Berlin to Tribeca, is finally going to be have its theatrical release in LA this Friday!!
It’s been a seven year journey of sheer rebellion and love. Patang is about us, made by us. 100% Independently made and distributed. Free of homogenized preservatives and studio hormones. Patang is an anthem of the old city of Ahmedabad in India. One million kites. Razor sharp string coated with ground glass. A family duels, spins and soars like the countless kites battling in the skies above.
I grew up on the southside of Chicago, where the beats hit hard and the Cadillacs got big rims. Proud Brooklyn resident for sixteen years. When I began Patang, I knew I had to let go of my preconceptions to make film in India. I began with three years of research. Slowly immersing myself in the ways of the old city, I became acquainted with its unwritten codes of conduct, its rhythms and secrets. I would sit on a street corner for hours at a stretch and just observe. Over time, I connected with shopkeepers, chased kites with street kids, got in trouble with gangsters and gossiped with grandmothers. This process formed the foundation for my characters, story and my approach to shooting the film. By the last year of research, I could hold a camera a few feet from someone and they would continue to be themselves.
Preserving the naturalism of the environment which was discovered during the research guided every decision during filming, from shooting style to crew size to the process with the actors. I wanted to create the freedom for actors to live on screen rather than act. I would give my non-actors and actors emotional motivation or sometimes purely physical motivations. If I did it right, I would get the lines of the script.
Patang is a film that redefines the definition of Indian film. More Dogma than Lars Von. 90% non-actors. Natural light. Handheld. Improvised takes. Visually stunning. Nice beats and lyrics. Epic kite battles. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s first lead role in a feature – India’s Indiehottest actor. Sugandha Garg is dark and hot. Aakash Mahayera’s first kiss on screen not as a character but in real life. One of the first feature films shot on HD in India. 200 hundred hours of footage. 2 years of editing. 20% of my life. Real people living on screen. A film about that will make you feel happier about life. The true power of celebration and family in process and theme. I’m tired of tragic objectification of Indian films made by foreign directors and escapist films of Bollywood. Slumdog Millionaire is the greasy tandoori chicken at the buffet, whereas Patang is my mom’s home cooked samosas. From the Berlin Film Festival to Tribeca, to winning the grand prize in Hawaii, we’ve been hustling to bring you the true organic and raw – transcending the narrow assumptions of distributors that audiences are shallow and need to be spoon fed sensational stories of foreigners.
I’d be honored if all of you could come out and support Patang this weekend. A few white people like us too – Roger Ebert gave us four stars and the New York Times gave PATANG a critics pick. Much love to YOMYOMF and all the fans. Its just the beginning.