Titli (2014 film)

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Cannes Titli Film Poster.jpg
Poster of Title at Cannes Film Festival
Directed byKanu Behl
Produced byAditya Chopra
Dibakar Banerjee
Written bySharat Katariya
Kanu Behl
StarringRanvir Shorey
Amit Sial
Shashank Arora
Lalit Behl
Shivani Raghuvanshi
Music byKaran Gour
CinematographySiddharth Diwan
Edited byNamrata Rao
Yash Raj Films
Dibakar Banerjee Productions Pvt. Ltd.
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • 20 May 2014 (2014-05-20) (Cannes)
  • 30 October 2015 (2015-10-30) (India)
Running time
124 minutes

Titli (transl. Butterfly) is a 2014 Bollywood drama film written and directed by Kanu Behl, and co-produced by Dibakar Banerjee Productions and Aditya Chopra under the banner of Yash Raj Films.[1] It features actors Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi in the lead roles.[2]

In Titli, Behl captures the volatility of a society where violence lies uneasily just below the surface. The directorial debut film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival,[3][4] The trailer was released on 29 September 2015.[5][6][7][8] The film was released in India on 30 October 2015.[9]

The international sales partner of the film is Westend Films.[citation needed]


Titli, the youngest member of a violent car-jacking gang in Delhi, plans to escape from his 'family' and their line of work. In a desperate attempt to get away from their clutches, Titli betrays his brothers by crashing a stolen car before police checkpost and they get nabbed by police. His oldest brother gets him married off to Neelu to restrain him and also to introduce a woman into the gang to be used as a decoy or cover. Neelu, though married to Titli, pines for a wealthy married man named Prince. Titli supports her plans to leave him for his financial gain. Even though Titli is freed from his family's stranglehold, nothing goes as planned. At the end, Neelu and Titli get back together.




Behl, who co-wrote and also assisted director Dibakar Banerjee in Love Sex aur Dhokha (LSD) (2010), started writing Titli as LSD neared completion. In 2011, the news report of a car-jacker gang in Delhi led by a local goon, Joginder Joga, inspired him to start working on the story of a thriller. However, as he developed the script, other themes started joining in, from his personal experiences growing up in the city.[10] Though he denied it being autobiographical, he mentioned in an interview that the idea of intra-family conflict was derived from his own clashes with his father as a rebellious teenager. He eventually co-wrote the script with Sharat Katariya, and it covered themes of patriarchy, family dysfunction, gender-based violence and oppression, and "a desire for freedom". Through the protagonist, the film also explores the circular nature of life – "how we often end up becoming exactly the person we are trying to run away from."[11][12]

In 2012, the script of the film was selected for NFDC Film Bazaar's Screenwriter's Lab and won the Post-Production Award at Film Bazaar's Work-In-Progress Lab in 2013.[13] Here it also won an award for Best Work-In-Progress Lab Project and was selected for Film Bazaar Recommends, where the 2014 Cannes Film Festival selection committee first saw the film.[10]


For the lead roles, relative newcomers Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi were selected. Actors Amit Sial and Ranvir Shorey were chosen to play the role of two elder brothers to Titli's character. Next, he decided to cast his own father Lalit Behl, who is a Delhi-based director and actor, for the role of the patriarch of the family, considering the film itself was based on his early life experiences.[10]

The film was shot across various locations in Delhi.[11] During filming, he allowed the actors to explore the scenes and improvise as no scripts were brought to the set. The production team redesigned a house to give a claustrophobic feel to the family home, where much of the filming was done, to provide a contrast from the expansive real world outside, which the protagonist is trying to escape into. For this purpose, rooms were made smaller, the entrance was made labyrinthine, and even the natural light was reduced in the rooms, so that the tube light haze could add to the effect.[10]

By early May 2014, the movie's post-production was completed, ahead of its Cannes premiere due in the same month.[12]


Box office[edit]

The film collected 1.75 crore (US$250,000) nett in its first week.[14]

Critical Reception[edit]

The film has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 92% with an average score of 7.7/10 based on 12 reviews, 11 of which are positive ("fresh").[15] Jay Weisberg wrote that "the film plunges into [a] pitiless milieu with headstrong assurance, presenting a paternalistic world where corruption seeps into people's pores and women need backbones of steel to survive", calling it "a grittily impressive debut".[16] The Hollywood Reporter's Deborah Young praised Namrata Rao's editing and Behl for "directing a largely non-pro cast, situating them carefully in the squalor of their Delhi surroundings." She called the film "an enjoyable, character-driven Indian yarn about an emotional family of criminals [that] gets better as it goes on."[17] Brad Mariano of 4:3 "Recommended" the film, calling it "an impressive debut that is far from what one might expect from the Indian cinema", noting the influence of Pier Paolo Pasolini's neo-realism and the "complex, impossible moral situations" of Asghar Farhadi's films. He ended his review by calling it "a gripping debut film that could mark the arrival of a significant new voice in world cinema."[18] J Hurtado of Screen Anarchy wrote that while "scenes of people scraping the bottom of the barrel are nothing new in Hindi independent cinema, [...] Behl's treatment of the material is both heart-wrenching, and vividly relatable as everyone tries to make out the best way they can without leaving anything on the table." He called it "a film about hope, and it's overwhelming sadness only makes the hope shine brighter", despite its "dark"-ness and its "low opinion of some of those people who populate Delhi's backstreets."[19]

Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times called it "the best Hindi film of the year so far", giving it a perfect score of 5/5. He wrote that the film-makers "don’t keep you at an objective distance. They challenge you to stop ignoring the so-called social blots, and once you’re sucked in, they make you believe that the injustice behind the rough exterior is systematic."[20] Uday Bhatia of LiveMint called the film "unrelentingly grim, morally unmoored". He wrote that the "emotional and physical violence in Titli is wince-inducing, but even more oppressive is the atmosphere of mistrust and desperation that Behl and his co-writer Sharat Katariya build up."[21] A more mixed review came from Filmfare's Rachit Gupta who called the film "a little too blunt and all too intentionally" despite its "serious" themes.[22]

International Film Festivals attended[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Title". Yash Raj Films. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Difficult fathers, brutal sons, conniving wives: meet Titli and his family".
  3. ^ "After 'Titli', 'True Love Story' at Cannes film fest". Livemint. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  4. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Festival de Cannes 2014 (International Film Festival). Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  5. ^ "'Titli' - Movie Review" (Post.Jagran.com). Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  6. ^ Titli Trailer, Beta News India, 29 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Movie Review of Titli" (Inextlive.jagran.com). Inext. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  8. ^ "TITLI Movie Review: For those who love their cinema 'real' it cannot get better than TITLI". Glamsham. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  9. ^ "'Titli' - Movie Review" (Mid–Day.Com). Mid-Day. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d Dipti Nagpaul (4 May 2014). "Ties That Bind". The Indian Express. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b "'Titli' stems from personal experiences: Kanu Behl". The Times of India. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Feeling of 'Titli' going to Cannes yet to sink in: Kanu Behl". Business Standard. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  13. ^ "YRF's Titli to compete at Cannes Film Festival". India Today. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  14. ^ http://boxofficeindia.com/Details/art_detail/newreleasesweaklastweekreleasesfirstweeknumbers#.VkBG5F2t-o8
  15. ^ "Titli (2014)" – via www.rottentomatoes.com.
  16. ^ Weissberg, Jay; Weissberg, Jay (12 September 2014). "Film Review: 'Titli'".
  17. ^ "'Titli': Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. ^ "Titli". 12 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Third I 2014 Review: TITLI Watches The Ugly Caterpillar Emerge From Its Cocoon". ScreenAnarchy. 19 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Titli review: This is the best Hindi film of the year so far". Hindustan Times. 30 October 2015.
  21. ^ Bhatia, Uday (29 October 2015). "Film review: Titli". Mint.
  22. ^ "Movie Review: Titli - filmfare.com". www.filmfare.com.
  23. ^ "India's Indie Film 'Titli' Shines at Cannes". The Wall Street Journal. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  24. ^ "When celluloid dreams build cultural bridges - Global Times". www.globaltimes.cn.
  25. ^ http://blogs.indiewire.com/sydneylevine/the-13th-annual-indian-film-festival-of-los-angeles-announces-line-up-20150324
  26. ^ "11 Indian films at Melbourne International Film Festival". DearCinema. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  27. ^ "Indian new-age cinema a hit at Zurich fest". The Indian Express. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Titli". filmfesthamburg.de/. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  29. ^ "Picks from the upcoming 58th London Film Festival 2014". easternkicks. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  30. ^ "Kanu Behl's TITLI at 50th Chicago International Film Festival by Chicago International Film Festival in Chicago". Chicago Indian. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  31. ^ a b "Titli, Teenkahon winners at SSAFF 2014". Dear Cinema. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  32. ^ a b "Titli, Killa winners at SAIFF 2014". Dear Cinema. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  33. ^ "Titli to screen at International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2015". saddahaq.com. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  34. ^ "Interesting Indian films at 38th Gothenburg International Film Festival". sasnet.lu.se/. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  35. ^ a b "Titli takes top prize at Gijón". wn.com. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  36. ^ "Turkish film festival awards Indian 'Titli'". wn.com. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  37. ^ "Titli remporte le Prix du public au FFAST 2015". bollywoodstudio.fr/. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  38. ^ "First-time director from India in the running for Camera d'Or at Cannes". The National. Retrieved 15 January 2015.

External links[edit]