An illiterate street boy has only one ambition - to fly kites and reign supreme in the blue skies. And he will turn around everything in his small world to string his dream together.
Story: An illiterate street boy has only one ambition - to fly kites and reign supreme in the blue skies. And he will turn around everything in his small world to string his dream together.
Movie Review: Gattu (Mohammad). A typical street kid. Dreaming of flying sky-high. But no supersonic jets or choppers in his dreams really. Like the famous seagull called Jonathon Livingston, who only wanted to fly higher and higher, what this poor, illiterate boy (living in small-town Roorkee) lives for, is a string, a brightly coloured, diamond shaped patang. And of course, some breeze to lift his spirits and help his kite soar. The only driving force in his measly existence (living under an open roof, with tin drums for walls, and odd-jobs for a paltry sum of Rs.20 a day) is his knack for flying kites. Even his chachu's (Naresh Kumar), at times, harsh and tyrannical pressures to work for a living don't suppress his blithe spirit. In fact, with a few cutely devilish traits, bubbling energy and sparkling eyes, Gattu is a sweet soul, always sunwashed with hope. He has only one problem - Kali! A mysterious black patang (believed to do patang ka jaadu-tona), who has for many years, defeated all other kites in town, and no one knows who is her master. Our Mr. Smarty Half-pants who thinks on his feet, realizes that the only way to beat Kali is to fly his kite from the highest point, which is the local school terrace. And he pulls all 'strings', literally, to take on the 'black diamond' in the blue skies. Even if it means sneaking into school, pretending to be 'Agent Gattu', disguised as a student, lying to chachu, creating a web of ingenious stories and antics (of wafadar jasoos, aatankvadis, and barood) that leaves everyone convinced, charmed and confused at the same time. Rightly, a mind of a child is truly magical; all they need is sand to make a castle. Or a hand-made kite to save the world.
Mohammad Samad's performance is heart-warming, with wonder in his eyes and playful innocence he grabs all your attention. His confined world suddenly opens doors, and as he gets lessons on gravity and goodness, science and sach ji jeet, his large eyes twinkle with amazement - like he's just spotted ET on Earth.
Naresh Kumar plays his part well, as the austere chachu harrowed by Gattu's guts, who eventually melts and embraces him.
Director Rajan Khosa has intelligently made a children's film (which has been applauded in the festival circuit) that truly crosses all age barriers. It subtly throws light on compelling issues like child illiteracy and child labour without shouting from terrace-tops or turning into a preachy docu-drama. In one moment the story is purely simple, and in the other it's profound enough to move you, if not theatrically shock you. It's greased with a kind of paradoxical reality, yet, it leaves you upbeat.
Gattu is a must-watch for children of all ages (read: grown-ups even more). And if you think you're too grown up for a kiddie film, go fly a kite. Maybe that's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up too soon. We should just let the little one's in us rule the world.