Titli : ‘Compulsory Viewing’


We live in a country where ‘Joint Family’ holds a lot of traditional value. Unlike West where kids separate themselves to earn good income and live independently, In India, We hardly feel the need to move out, because we are brought up with a mindset of ‘We are Family’ to maintain the relationship and nurture it.

Whether you stay under your parent’s shelter or moving out is not that important, It’s an individual’s perception and none of the aforementioned factors are necessarily wrong.

Amit Sial, Shashank Arora & Ranvir Shorey in Titli (Yash Raj Films)

Amit Sial, Shashank Arora & Ranvir Shorey in Titli (Yash Raj Films)

Question is What do you do, if you belong to a notorious family comprising of hotheaded brothers, an indifferent father and no women to care for?

Kanu Behl’s ‘Titli’ is a riveting tale of a family that’s not only dysfunctional but also atrocious. He and co-writer Sharat Katariya (director of gem ‘Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha) highlights the plight of an ugly side of a family that will churn your stomach.

Titli (Shashank Arora) is the youngest of the three brothers, living with their father in an insalubrious home near a sewer in East Delhi. Titli can’t seem to stand his older brother Vikram (Ranvir Shorey)’s cruel outburst and middle brother Bawla (Amit Sial)’s ignorance. He is equally depressed and, understandably, feels shame of his family’s profession of Carjacking. As a result, He plans to run away to make a respectable living.

When the brother finds out about his plan to fly, Titli is not thrashed but also gets him married off to Neelu (Shivani Raghuvanshi) hopeful to make him grounded and make her their accomplice for their ‘job’. However, Neelu has an agenda of her own and cannot imagine spending her entire life with bunch of losers.

Shivani Raghuvanshi (Neelu)

Shivani Raghuvanshi (Neelu)

Kanu Behl meticulously scripted the film and asks us to read between the lines and seems to abhor the idea of spoon-feeding audience. The writers haven’t candy-flossed with their subject, instead decides to make us uncomfortable in our seat. They demand our attention to the core and convey us a very simple yet frightening reality :

Violence has been passed on from generation to generation and will never stop until one stands up courageously and say ‘buck stops here’.

Seen from a different angle, None of them slip into violence on their own. We ought to understand that they have been made to believe that resorting to physical abuse is a norm and nothing to complain about. This is the space where the basic functionality of a family goes haywire and the faulty system keeps on passing resulting into number of deeply destructive families

Usually known for his excellent comic flair, Ranvir Shorey has done sensible roles in the past but not as gritty as in Titli. An older brother, suppressed with a personal blow, Shorey is haunting as Vikram. A performance that’s delicately menacing and traumatically hair-raising. He is indeed the biggest strength of the film.

Shivani Raghvanshi is fabulous as Neelu, Don’t get misled by her innocence, She is someone who refuse to be a scapegoat in the name of tradition. A progressive small town woman I have come across on screen a long time.

Shashank Arora is compelling as Titli, He is someone we all can relate to. To live in a house equal to a prison. A talent to watch out for.

Titli (Official poster)

Titli (Official poster)

Kanu Behl’s Titli is a compulsory viewing. It questions your belief on family and most importantly, challenges you to overcome the possible hurdles set by them. In the end, If you want to break free, it is ‘you’ who can stop it and not the other way around.

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