An online game being launched to emphasise the story of upcoming film Yeh Khula Aasmaan uses the metaphor of a kite to teach spirited survival.
As it takes flight,it battles the wind to soar higher,with a thin string giving it direction. A kite,weaving through the air with its bright colours,spreads cheer. Using this as a metaphor and a message is the film Yeh Khula Aasmaan,written and directed by debutante Gitanjali Sinha. Starring actors Raghubir Yadav and Yashpal Sharma,the upcoming Bollywood film is described by the young filmmaker as a motivational project that represents today’s youth and the academic pressures they face. Slated for a commercial release at the end of May,the film takes its concerns a step further by launching an online game this week with the kite as the central player. To soar and score higher,it needs to collect positive icons of ‘family’,’love’,’success’ and ‘happiness’ and avoid the negative icons of ‘depression’,’confusion’,’loneliness’ and ‘stress’ .
Yeh Khula Aasmaan has already made the rounds of national and international film festivals. It is the first Bollywood film to have won the Best Foreign Feature Film at the All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival. It was also selected at the International Film Festival South Africa,International Youth Film Festival,and International Film Festival Ireland . Its subject and treatment given wins hearts. Sinha,who has studied at the New York Film Academy,St Martin’s College of Art and Design,London,and Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods International,was moved by the suicides among students during exams and results. “There’s so much stress. Studies are important but not everyone’s made for it. The focus on marks is disturbing,” she says.
Her film is the journey of a young boy in an emotional vacuum. He’s in Mumbai preparing for a competitive examination while his parents are in London. Life takes a turn for the positive when he decides to visit his grandfather (Yadav),the best kite-runner of his times. “The grandfather sees the boy in a fragile condition and aims to bring back his confidence. Using the kite as a metaphor,he teaches him some of life’s great lessons,” she says. The idea,appealed to Yadav who,on seeing the synopsis,agreed to do the role. “I knew that the character would be a strong one,” Sinha says. For Yadav,success is about doing one’s best. “Academics alone dont define the future of a child. But one needs to move on and come up with solutions. The game aims to make this difference,” he says.
Yeh Khula Aasmaan has joined the list of films,the latest being Agent Vinod,that have created games to further engage the viewer. “But this one is not about action or film characters. In this,the player never loses. It gives the message that participation is more important than winning,” says Vaibhav Chavan,CEO and founder,underDOGS Gaming Studio,Mumbai,that has created the game and will soon test it with different age groups. “On a physical level,it is meant to de-stress and entertain you; but on a deeper level,the flying kite represents life’s journey where one is confronted with positive and negative issues,” says Sinha,who is already working on her next script – a love story. “Cinema is a medium of creative expression. The objective is not to change anybody but if someone gets inspired,then that’s a good outcome,” she adds.