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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 14 – Director Kanu Behl needs no introduction. Like his maiden feature film, ‘Titli’, which had won nomination for the Camere d’Or award at the 2014 Cannes and earned eight international accolades, the second film, ‘Agra’, also had been screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2023 under the Director’s Fortnight category.

He speaks in the background of ‘Agra’ receiving accolades at the 28th edition of IFFK.

Q: Is Guru, the protagonist in Agra represents the sexually suppressed life of Indian youth ?
A: Absolutely. It’s not the sexually repressed life of Indian youth alone, but of people of India of all ages. Sadly, we belong to the land of Kamasutra.

Q: Repressed sexuality affect other spheres of life of individual and society as well ?
A: Yes. Sexuality cannot be repressed in a vaccum. It was linked to many other factors which are equally repressed. It takes me to the larger cultural context. It speaks about our social life, political life and shrunken economy. All of these come together and create the environment.

Q: How do you bring the shrinking space element in Agra as a strong metaphor ?
A: We have only limited space in our country, with 1.4 billion people crushed into a tiny space. Limited space, lack of not having basic means and daily battling for survival are our realities. A lot of people are still under the poverty line. Though China has also huge population they have lot of land as well. We are claiming as the growing biggest economy in the world. Are we? What we should do is we have to truthfully examine our culture and heritage through a rational gaze and ready to discuss all the burning issues.
I wanted to understand our sexuality and secret life through the lens of this lack of space, family relations and transactionality and how these meet and affect our lives.

Q: How beneficial is OTT to new filmmakers ?
A: OTT does not provide space to new filmmakers. OTT companies are tech companies that are primarily into business. OTT positively impacting budding filmmakers is an irrational hope

Q: What difference it makes between a global audience and local audience ?
A: The local audience comes first in terms of the cultural aspects of the film. They can definetely relate and connect more.

Q: You headed the 15th International documentary and short film festival of Kerala (IDSFFK). How was the experience and your take about the film culture here ?
A: IDSFFK was a lovely experience. The selection of films was really impressive. IFFK is beautifully organized and I am still in the hangover after watching ‘Anatomy of a fall’ directed by Justine Triet. Long queue to watch that film made me happy

Q: About your latest film ‘Despatch’ ?
A: ‘Despatch’ is in the final stage of pre-production. It dwells deep into the world of crime journalism. The individual’s role as a professional in setting up a better society, his greed and its pitfalls are being examined. Manoj Bajpayee plays the lead role.