Kanu Behl’s Agra Shines at 14th IFFM: Premiering at global festivals has helped a small film that doesn’t have any big stars or producer | Bollywood


Director Kanu Behl’s film Agra struck a chord with everyone who watched it at film festivals including the prestigious Cannes. It has now won the award for Best Indie Film at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne and had its premiere at IIFM on August 15.

Kanu Behl’s film Agra has been awarded at 14th IFFM
Kanu Behl’s film Agra has been awarded at 14th IFFM

Talking about what makes the film so universal that it connects with audiences globally, Behl starts by calling it a film primarily about “sexuality and sexual repression”.

He explains, “Sexuality forms a huge part of our lives. Human beings have their public life, private life, and then their secret life, which they protect and nurture and bring out in certain extremely private spaces. So, there’s always this very interesting juxtaposition and a reveal between how we behave and who we are with other people and that is universal. I think how our sexual lives play out against the spaces that we live in, and how the physical spaces that we inhabit affect our sexual lives, in turn, is schematically deeply universal subjects, that audiences across the world would be curious to know more about, and experience in a fictional story.”

While the film has not yet released in the India market, the director is hopeful that “appreciation at such prestigious platforms will indeed help with better reception” in the home country as well.

Weighing in on how representation at international platforms have been a huge step in this direction, the director opines, “Agra premiering at Cannes and now IFFM has helped a small and independent film, as it doesn’t have any conventional support, like a big producer or big stars. So, definitely these platforms have helped the film broaden its horizons and be seen for or at least perceived as something that could be interesting and unconventional.”

That being said, Behl maintain that his ultimate goal is for the film to be received well by his own people. And hence, he is now really looking forward to Agra’s India release.

“We are still on our festival journey, going to different film festivals across the world. We’ll see what the prospects are for the film to be able to come out in India and other world markets. That’s something I’m looking forward to and I’m curious about with regards to its reaction outside,” he tells us.

Having been screened at a couple of festivals already, Agra has been getting a positive response from the audiences. “They are finding the film interesting and it had a very warm reception both critically and from moviegoers. I had a lot of people who walked up to me and spoke about the film in a manner which suggested that it had managed to affect some part of them which I consider a personal victory of sorts. The fact that the film opened some emotional doors for people in areas where they might not be looking at into their souls right now or might be scared,” he ends.


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