Dibaker Banerjee launches the trailer of family thriller Titli
Titli is an indicator of the change that Indian cinema and society have gone through in the last 20 years. It’s a film about a family, but from a new perspective,” said producer Dibakar Banerjee at the trailer launch of Titli, the second collaboration between Yash Raj Films and DBP.
The entire family of Titli, comprising newcomers Shashank Arora (Titli) and Shivani Raghuvanshi (Neelu), Ranvir Shorey (Vikram), Amit Sial (Baawla), and Lalit Behl (Daddy) were present at the trailer launch held at YRF Studios on Tuesday.
Explaining the reasons for launching a new trailer,Dibakar Banerjee said, “The first Indian trailer was a version of the trailer that played at the Cannes and other such festivals and markets worldwide where Titli garnered rave reviews and audiences. But when we showed the full film to Indian focus groups we were taken aback by their strong reaction. They didn’t feel that the trailer represented the film correctly, which was at its core a simple and accessible story of an average Indian family struggling with everyday life – meant for every Indian.
Said Kanu Behl, the director, “We didnt make Titli to become an international favourite and win eight international awards to begin with. It just happened. The film was for the audience that really understands the deep nuances of our story – the Indian audience. That’s why we decided to cut a new trailer for them.”
“Going by the positive response we have received so far, I feel we did the right thing” Dibakar adds. The trailer, within an hour of being launched online, has started trending on twitter and has gotten upwards of 15000 views with great positive reactions.
On being asked to elaborate on the tagline of the film, “Har family, family nahi hoti”, the debutant director, Kanu Behl said, “Families can be seen from various perspectives. There can be differences and discord in a family. Especially, Indian families are a bit peculiar in nature and dysfunctional as well. They lack the ability to communicate and resolve differences. Titli talks about that aspect of a family.”
Ranvir Shorey who plays Vikram in the film added further, “We attach a certain kind of idealism when we talk about families in India. But the core emotions in a family have mutated. Titli portrays and also raises questions about them.” “If we look at the films made by studios like YRF and Dharma Production, for decades they have shown the families which are idealistic and based on the values of ‘it’s all about loving your family’. It is for the first time that another side of an Indian family, the patriarchal set up, is being depicted onscreen” he claimed.
Talking about what drew him to the film, Ranvir said, “Titli is one of the finest scripts I have read in the recent years and I have always been hungry for such films.” He added to an amused audience, “I have seen a certain amount of violence travelling from family to family and generation to generation. My brothers hit me because my father hit them. My father hit them because my grandfather used to beat him.” This dark, often unexpected humour is depicted well in the trailer.
Titli was a personal tale for the director Kanu Behl who also co-wrote the film with Sharat Katariya. “The story of ‘Titli’ stemmed out of the relationship I share with my father but it definitely is not cathartic” said the debutant director. When asked if it helped him resolve the issues with his dad, Lalit Behl who also plays Titli’s father in the film, “It didn’t really resolve my issues with my dad but at the end of the film my relationship with him eased out for sure.”
In response to his son’s comment, the renowned theatre actor Lalit Behl playing the part of Papa, the patriarch in Titli’s family, who flew down from Delhi for launch said, “The new generation expects a lot of things from their parents but they don’t want to give anything back.” (Aaj ki generation lena jaanti hai, dena nahi jaanti). On being asked whether it was an easy decision to act in his son’s film, he quipped, “Initially, I was a bit reluctant do the film, but I went ahead with it and realized that the older generation also needs to ease out a bit on the restrictions it lays down in the name of discipline”.
The aspect of Titli that resonated with him the most, Dibakar said, was “In-between the course of violent events which happen in the film we get to see a beautiful relationship developing between Titli and his wife Neelu. They start to share an understanding that they both are stuck and need to break free. This development gives the story a surprising climax where lies the real fun for me.”
Divulging on why a feminine name for a male protagonist, the director explained, “The film is about a coming of age story of this boy who wants to break away from his family, from the clutches of the father and violent brothers. Also, the mother wanted the third child to be daughter but they had a son, yet again. Hence, a feminine name seemed perfect.”
Talking about the universal appeal of the film Dibakar said, “Any family from New Delhi to Kanpur, from Buenos Aeros to Berlin, from Nairobi to Jakarta is the same. I have personally witnessed the reactions of the audiences from the various parts of the world and I am sure that everybody will connect with the film.”
The newcomers, Shashank Arora (Titli) and Shivani Raghuvanshi (Titli’s wife Neelu) also shared their experiences. “I was about a boy from Delhi and I am from Delhi. After reading the script I realized I know nothing about the city” said Shashank. “I used to look at life as black and white. Just like Bollywood. it was only after doing the film I realized that everything falls in that grey area” added Shivani.
Talking about his dysfunctional relationship with his father Amit Sial who plays ‘Titli’s elder brother, Baawla, revealed, “My father was a shoe-businessman in Kanpur, and he resented the fact that his sons didn’t want to pursue the same profession.”
Titli, which has played 30 festivals, international markets, and won 8 awards the world over is a tale of a dysfunctional family and a young boy’s struggle to escape his oppressive family. The film is releasing in India on October 30, 2015.