Filmmaker Rajan Khosa on his experience of working with children for the film Gattu

His previous folk short film Flower Girl revolved around rural children.

And now, Rajan Khosa’s feature film Gattu (for Children’s Film Society of India) has won accolades at Los Angeles and Berlin Film festivals. The movie, distributed by Rajshri Productions, is releasing in India in July.

The feature film revolves around Gattu, a nine-year-old small-town orphan, who is obsessed with kite flying. One day, he sees a mysterious black kite flying in the sky. The movie follows young Gattu as he tries to bring down this mysterious kite, in essence overcoming challenges to realise his dreams.

Gattu was shot for about 40 days in Roorkee and involved four writers. Rajan, also the founding member of Indian Independent Film Makers Association, says: “Each of us in the scripting team had his / her our own forte — dialogue, structure, scene writing... All our strengths were brought together to make a good screenplay.”

Rewarding experience

The selection process for the cast comprised workshops and training sessions. Rajan, who feels it is a rewarding experience to work with children, recalls: “It was easier working with them as they were open to ideas. They also improvised some dialogues and scenes on the sets.”

Recently, the movie was screened to 3,000 children from various villages in South India. Rajan, known for his Dance of the Wind feature film that won global praise, says: “Children in rural areas are very talented and intelligent. They need to be educated and their dreams need to be fulfilled and channelled. What better way to convey this to the audience than through a movie? In the West, many studios make movies targeting the child in an adult. This trend should become popular here as well.”

Rajan plans to highlight the adventures of children in villages by releasing a comic book with colourful illustrations. “The comic book will be based on four children who play hero figures and help the rural people solve civic issues. We plan to release it along with the movie, to create social awareness in young minds.”

The feature film will be screened in the Asia Pacific Film Festival too, and Rajan hopes to walk the Oscar carpet.

What message does he have for budding independent filmmakers? “Believe in yourself and follow your dreams.”