Saturday, 31 May 2014

At Cannes, Titli is India’s only entry

A film, maintaining a documentary feel and striving to make viewers sense the ‘tension’ and ‘violence’ the characters go through along with an atypical dose of social realism is India’s only contender at the Cannes film festival, this season.

Titli’, directed by Kanu Behl, tackles controversial subjects like family violence and poor treatment of women that blight Indian society, and it has been selected as one of 19 films competing in the “Un Certain Regard” category for emerging directors, with prizes to be handed out on Friday.

Kanu Behl’s first feature as director follows the quiet and withdrawn Titli which means “butterfly” in Hindi who is desperate to break away from his all-male family of car-jackers living in a suburban slum but finds every exit blocked and every dream destroyed. The gritty realism of ‘Titli’ managed to seep through the character and left its leading actor feeling depressed during shooting

“It is for me a film that takes on the Holy Grail of Indian cinema, i.e. family, and says ‘Hey look! There’s all this happening and why aren’t we talking about it?’” Behl, who had previously worked on documentaries, told Reuters TV.

Striving to live a better life and earn more money, Titli’s brothers and father arrange a marriage to Neelu (Shivani Raghuvanshi), an intelligent and attractive girl who also finds her dreams shattered and as her future is now constrained to a life surrounded by violent men.

Eschewing the glamour, frivolity and fairy-tale endings of Bollywood cinema, the backdrop of Titli is the teeming slums outside Delhi where millions struggle on a daily basis.


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