Children-friendly subjects or those that have kids as protagonists have regularly made it to the Hindi screen. Films like MAKDEE, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and STANLEY KA DABBA have left an indelible impression on cineastes. Now GATTU enthralls the kid in you.
Come to think of it, kite flying is suddenly in focus. YEH KHULA AASMAAN, which released a few weeks ago [May 2012], drew focus on kite flying. Also PATANG [which has released in the U.S.] and KAI PO CHE!. Now GATTU, which integrates kite flying in the plotline, gives you the pep and courage to follow your dreams. Quite convincingly!
The compelling tale takes spectators back to their early days. Especially if you have grown up or studied in a small town. Integrated into the plot are harsh realities: The glaring difference between the haves and have-nots and child labor.
'Truth will triumph in the end' is the motto of the local school in the part of town where Gattu lives. But Gattu is too poor to go to school. Gattu lives and works very hard at a scrap yard belonging to a man he simply calls 'uncle'. Uncle bought him years ago from his sick father.
Gattu is particularly inventive when it comes to thinking up excuses, so he can slip away and indulge in his passion for kite flying. Day after day the children love to compete against each other with their kites. They've given the name 'Kaali' to one mysterious black kite that dominates the sky; strangely, nobody seems to know who owns it. If Gattu wants to compete with 'Kaali', he'll have to climb to the highest place in town: The school roof!
Gattu manages to creep inside the classroom, where he assumes command of a small but determined group of pupils. A dramatic battle of the skies ensues during which Gattu uses every trick in the book to claim the lead. But his greatest achievement is when, encouraged by his friendship with his new-found comrades, he decides to tell the truth.
GATTU has gathered remarkable commendation and acknowledgment in the festival circuit. The tale of a youngster who confronts his limits to reach for the sky has been narrated skillfully by Rajan Khosa, though, I wish to add, the pacing slackens intermittently before it reaches its culmination. What charms you is the innocence of the kid, who has the right answers for various questions, even though he may be lying through his teeth. As a raconteur, Rajan Khosa builds a screenplay which is devoid of hackneyed situations and that's truly creditable.
GATTU comes to life because of the shining act by the kid essaying the part - Mohammad Samad. He's a delight to watch on screen! Also, the three kids who partake in the 'mission' to nail the terrorists are wonderful. Naresh Kumar, who enacts the part of Gattu's uncle, does a fine job.
On the whole, a film like GATTU speaks to both, the kids and adults. Films like these, which aren't made to appease the box-office, but cater to a different audience, ought to be encouraged. For, there's life beyond zany entertainers as well!