Director Kanu Behl on the importance of social media and how the new Titli trailer goes back to the core of family
THERE is no time like now for movie trailers. The buzzing response to the teasers for Titli, the gritty drama about a family of rogues, is the most recent example of the rise of the trailer. Titli is director Kanu Behl’s first feature and is an Indian indie film, but not of The Lunchbox variety. To begin with, this is a portrait of a young man in Delhi who is trying to escape his two car-jacking brothers and conniving father. Then he is saddled with a truculent new wife. When the film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the trailer that accompanied it was suitably grim. That has changed now, for what a lot of cinephiles and social media addicts are viewing on their phones and laptops over the last few days conveys a sense of dark humour and background music that is in sync with the India story. ‘‘This is not an intellectual film and it is not trying to be on a pedestal. It is an intense human drama with dark irony. It references the life around us,’’ insists Behl, 35, who has written the script and directed the film produced by mentor Dibakar Banerjee and Yash Raj Films.
‘‘There is the power equation in the film, of how we deal with our father, mother, marriage. Everyone who has seen it has been able to connect with at least one of the five main characters. Life doesn’t really have any villains,’’ he observes, admitting that Titli is ‘‘at the core about a violent family, both within and without, and noir is just a setting.’’ Behl, who has previous experience with gems like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye (2008) and Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010), says he does not endorse violence for the sake of it. ‘‘’It cannot be exploitative. There is only one strong burst of it in the beginning. A bit like nudity in a film, it tells you what the character is capable of,’’ he continues.
Trailers for small budget movies like his would have been lost without social media, Behl agrees. ‘‘The stimulus we are exposed to has increased exponentially. I am part of the generation that has seen this transition. So you must sharpen your message.’’ The film stars Ranvir Shorey and Amit Sial as the elder brothers to the protagonist, Titli (newcomer Shashank Arora).With the movie seeing 60,000 admissions in nine weeks in France alone, we are certain the Indian numbers are likely to make for another news story.
Titli is scheduled to release on October 30