Indian-American writer/director Prashant Bhargava and producer Jaideep Punjabi have won the South Asian Rising Star Film Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for the feature film "Patang" (The Kite).
The two received the awards at a ceremony here. The jury consisted of Indian film critic Rajeev Masand, India Abroad editor Arthur Pais, singer/songwriter and Goldspot frontman Siddhartha Khosla, American actress and musician Janina Gavankar and American actor Maulik Pancholy.
"Patang" is one of the most critically celebrated Indian films of the year. "Patang" had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and its North American premiere in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film has gone on to play at 30 film festivals worldwide and won numerous accolades including Best Feature Narrative at the Hawaii International Film Festival, Best World Narrative at the Indy Film Festival, Special Jury Award and the Best Feature Narrative at the Dc Apa Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the Osian's Film Festival (New Delhi).
Described as a poetic journey to the old city of Ahmedabad, "Patang" weaves together the stories of six people transformed by the energy of India's largest kite festival. Seven years in the making, the cast features award winning actress Seema Biswas ("Water", "Bandit Queen"), Nawazuddin Siddiqui ("Gangs Of Wasseypur", "Peepli Live", "Dev D") and Sugandha Garg ("Tere Bin Laden", "My Name is Khan", "Janne Tu Ya Janne Na"). Hailed as a "masterful" filmmaker with "hypnotically beautiful visuals", "naturalistic storytelling" and a "colourfully vivid" poetic style, Prashant Bhargava stands at the leading edge of independent Indian cinema.
"Patang" is his feature length debut. Born and raised in Chicago, Bhargava started out as a graffiti artist. He went on to study computer science at Cornell University and theatrical directing at The Actors Studio MFA program.