Seven years in the making, 'Titli' director Kanu Behl's 'Agra' debuts at Cannes
Seven years in the making, ‘Titli’ director Kanu Behl’s ‘Agra’ debuts at Cannes (Picture Credit: IANS)

After his debut feature ‘Titli’ bowed at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard strand in 2014, Kanu Behl is back on the Croisette with ‘Agra’, which had its world premiere at the Directors Fortnight, reports ‘Variety’.

“‘Agra’ grasps the reality of patriarchy in India through the prism of male sexual misery,” is how the festival describes the film.

The film, which has been seven years in the making, was shot on location in Agra, the city known for the Taj Mahal, but also for its Institute of Mental Health and Hospital.

For Kanu Behl, as he told ‘Variety’, it was a deliberate choice not to show even a glimpse of one of the world’s most famous monuments. But he got the idea of shooting in Agra because of the hospital. “We all just live in a giant madhouse. And in that sense, this house full of these crazy people is also a representation of that madhouse,” Behl told ‘Variety’.

It follows Guru, a young single call centre employee who still lives with his parents. Consumed by frustration, he plunges into a fever bordering on insanity, between pathetic fantasies, dating apps and hysterical self-harm. The film also explores the role property can play in a young man’s emancipation, adds ‘Variety’.

Guru is played by debutant Mohit Agarwal. The film also stars Priyanka Bose (‘Lion’) and Ruhani Sharma, Vibha Chibber, Sonal Jha and Aanchal Goswami in pivotal roles. Guru’s father is played by Rahul Roy, known for his romantic lead roles in the 1990s, including blockbuster ‘Aashiqui’, notes ‘Variety’.

Next up for Behl is ‘Despatch’, starring Manoj Bajpayee and produced by Ronnie Screwvala. The film is in post-production and bound for a Fall festival.

“It’s a film about an old school crime journalist who’s getting defunct in the world of digital journalism,” Kanu Behl told ‘Variety’. “And, in desperation for a story, he starts investigating a case and ends up getting mixed in something which is way above his pay grade, and how that begins an odyssey into the darkest corners of corporate crime and white-collar crime within India,” he added.

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