Punching at the Sun is a crackling, emotionally-charged dream ride through the streets of Elmhurst, Queens. It is a tale of rage and redemption as seen through the fiery eyes of Mameet Nayak: a headstrong Indian teen lost in the shadow of his brother's death.
When Mameet's older brother Sanjay is gunned down in the family convenience store, a wave of loss reverberates through Elmhurst. The neighborhood loses a local basketball legend, the family loses a dutiful first-born son, and Mameet loses a mentor and best friend.
One month later, Mameet is seething with grief, confusion and adolescent nihilism. He is a benchwarmer on the basketball team, doesn't listen to his coach, and feels antagonistic towards the world at large. Along with his friends Ritesh and Parnav, he becomes a magnet for trouble, unable to suppress his fits of rage. Retreating inside a persona of teenage bravura, he becomes embroiled in a series of conflicts.
Over the course of four sweltering days, the story tracks the emotional unraveling of a young man. An impulsive act lands him in a youth detention center. His refusal to listen to his coach plants him firmly on the bench. A misguided attempt to protect his sister Dia's honor erodes his already rocky family life. The lone bright spot is the neighborhood sneaker salesgirl Shawni, a spirited romantic with the potential to crack through Mameet's self destructive exterior.
Between rap performances by the charismatic MC Uncle Sonny, and confrontations with local streetball king Tali Perez, Mameet finds himself struggling to muster a sense of hope in a violent world he feels is determined to view him as an outsider. Haunted by visions of his dead brother, and exasperated by the dead-end dreams of his friends, he must balance his anger and grief with his natural talent if he is to reconnect with his family, envision the future, and restore feelings to his heart.
Punching at the Sun is a fresh take on a coming-of-age story that explores the bind of brotherhood and blurs the barrier between the living and the dead. It is a testament to hope in the face of violence and to the enduring power of brotherly love.