Over the weekend, I received the sad news that filmmaker Prashant Bhargava, the award-winning writer/director of the 2011 film Patang (The Kite), died of a heart attack Friday in Manhattan. He was 42.
Filmmaker, Artist Prashant Bhargava Dies at 42
Bhargava, a native of Chicago, was a promising filmmaker who primarily worked in music videos and commercials, including TV campaigns for HBO programs like The Wire, OZ, Rome.
His feature film directorial debut, Patang, followed six stories in Ahmedabad, India, all taking place during the country's largest annual kite festival. The film, which took seven years to make, premiered at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival, and was in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The film was inspired by a visit to Ahmedabad, India. "When I first witnessed the entire city on their rooftops, staring up at the sky, their kites dueling ferociously, dancing without inhibition, I knew I had to make this film in Ahmedabad," Mr. Bhargava said. "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 and street kids, gangsters and grandmothers."
Mr. Bhargava discovered intriguing stories in the city. "Fractured relationships, property disputes, the meaning of home and the spirit of celebration were recurring themes that surfaced," he said. "The film's joyful message and its cinematic magic developed organically. My desire was for the sense of poetry and aesthetics to be less of an imposed perspective and more of a view that emerged from the pride of the people and place."
The cause of death was cardiac arrest. According to his sister, Bhargava had a history of heart disease.
I first heard about Prashant's passing over social media, among members of the tight-knit Asian American indie film community. He was a beloved colleague and friend, and he will be missed. Rest in peace.
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