PATANG (Prashant Bhargava). 93 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (June 22). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
There's something to be said for the travelogue - a movie that drops us in an exotic new location and lets us goggle at the scenery.
It's an outdated mode of filmmaking, largely because we now have access to films from all over the world; these days, the Bond films are the closest we come to them.
And then there's Prashant Bhargava's Patang, which seems to exist largely because the filmmaker - who hails from Chicago - wanted to build a movie around the annual kite festival in Ahmedabad, India. Why not? Kites are pretty, and you get thousands of extras for free.
The problem with Patang is that Bhargava welds that footage to a fictional narrative about a large family reunion that quickly disintegrates into angry recriminations between the successful Jayesh (Mukkund Shukla) and the people he left behind.
The clan drama isn't terribly interesting, a fact Bhargava and co-writer James Townsend seem to acknowledge when they shruggingly introduce a love subplot between Jayesh's daughter Priya (Sugandha Garg) and local Bobby (Aakash Maheriya).
Worse, Bhargava is in love with a visual effect that makes his digital cinematography look like Super 8 film. It's like watching the whole movie through an Instagram filter, and it's utterly unnecessary.