Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Movie Review: Titli

Image Courtesy: http://cdn.koimoi.com/
The Story Frame:

The debutant filmmaker Kanu Behl's movie Titli was featured in more than a dozen international film festivals including at Cannes Film Festival in 2014 (Un Certain Regard). The movie is co-produced by Dibaker Banerjee and Aditya Chopra. Titli has some super talented actors in it like Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi. Kanu Behl is also known as the one who co-wrote and assisted Dibakar Banerjee in Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD) 2010.

Titli is a story about a world that co-exists with our world which we often dread and that emerges in the deserted dark alleys of Delhi in the middle of the night. The inhabitants of this world that Titli portrays has their own rules, logic and reason for their deeds and they are ok with not being ok. But what if one of the siblings of a dysfunctional family finds himself not to be ok with what is not ok, then?

Titli speaks about three brothers and a manipulative father who meets their ends as small time crooks and how their life spins and bears the consequence of their own creations. Writers Sharat Kataria and Kanu Behl tells us a compelling and a stark realistic story that hovers around patriarchy, intra-family conflict, gender based violence and insensitivity, and the inner urge to set oneself free.

Cast: Ranvir Shorey (Vikram), Amit Sial (Pradeep aka Bawla), Shashank Arora (Titli), Lalit Behl (Father), Shivani Raghuvanshi (Neelu), Prashant Singh (Prince)

Genre: Crime Drama

Direction: Kanu Behl

Produced by: Aditya Chopra & Dibakar Banerjee

Production Company: Yash Raj Films & Dibakar Banerjee Productions Pvt. Ltd.

Distributed by: Westend Films

Written by: Sharat Kataria & Kanu Behl

Cinematographer: Siddharth Diwan

Film Editing by: Namrata Rao

Theatre Release: May 20, 2015 ( Cannes Film Festival), October 30, 2015 (India)

Language: Hindi

Duration: 124 minutes

Image Courtesy: westendfilms.com
Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Titli (Butterfly), in literal terms these insects that has a long thin body and brightly colored wings that flies mostly during the day are beautiful and catch your fancy but this movie is not about being beautiful or colorful. Titli wakes you up from a deep slumber to the harsh realities of the underbelly of Delhi, it talks about the shattered dreams and miseries of those youngsters who feel deprived of the good things of life and how they live their life to get what they want in their own terms by pouncing on any vulnerable victim/s in the dark alleys of Delhi.   

You end up having a love hate relationship with the characters. They scare you by their inhuman act, they make you empathize them by sharing their miseries, and their helplessness in dealing with odds in their life and at the same time repel you by doing those things that you would have never dreamt of to achieve anything you wanted to get in life.

Titli sheds light on a dysfunctional family of small-time crooks consisting of a manipulative father (Lalit Behl) and three sons. The eldest brother Vikram (Ranvir Shorey) has the final word and no one dares to question him not even his father, his second brother Pradeep aka Bawla (Amit Sial) is his confidant and partner in all crimes. However, the youngest sibling Titli (Shashank Arora) is a misfit among these brothers because he nurtures discreetly a dream of owning a parking lot in an upcoming shopping mall and thereby free himself from the clutches of his brothers and his manipulative father. Titli is a reluctant crook and this doesn't go well with seemingly responsible brothers and therefore, as any family they too decide to get him married with this hope that a girl in his life may make him more responsible to the business. Pradeep also convinces Vikram that this will lead to a new member in their gang and would increase the prospect of their business.

Titli the titular character essayed by Shahsank Arora goes through one setback to another, his whole plan to free himself from his ruined present to a better future goes haywire from frame to frame. The relationship of Titli and his wife Neelu (Shivani Raghuvanshi) is a marriage of convenience. Both of them have their plans up on their sleeves. It is quite interesting to watch how they negotiate with each other to ensure how both becomes instrumental to accomplish their dreams. Do they finally materialize their dreams? It's something to watch on screen.

Ranvir Shorey as Vikram, the decision-maker has done a fabulous work but Shahsank Arora has surpassed all of the characters by his act of helplessness, desperateness and his miseries. You experience the harsh side of life through him. Shivani Raghuvanshi is so real that you relate to her very well. Her timidity, her bold and blunt act to achieve what she wants are all awesome. Amit Sial as the peace keeper between brothers, advisor and a person in a pitiable state of distress and unhappiness driven by happenings in his life is well essayed for the role.


Debutant filmmaker Kanu Behl's Titli is harsh, disturbing but true to its core in storytelling. Titli is not a fun film that may appeal to all, especially not to those who only visit movie halls to escape from the realities of life. There are some sequences that may be disturbing and need viewer discretion. Titli makes you reflect and think after reaching to your comforts of your dwelling and accept that such world and people exists and have you ever experienced or thought about them and their lives.

Finally, whether Titli manages to fly to his dreamland is a question I would like to leave unanswered for the viewers to find. Titli is real, doesn't hide anything, you take it or leave it but for sure you would love it. If you expect me to issue a disclaimer for those who love only Kuch Kuch Hota Hi to please skip this one I won't, rather would like to urge them to take the risk and watch Titli, you never know after watching you may quote the popular brand's tagline 'I'm Loving It" !

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4/5