‘Titli’ kickstarts Dharamshala International Film Festival

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Dharamsala, Nov 6 (IANS) The fourth edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) began with a packed screening of debutant director Kanu Behl’s internationally acclaimed drama film “Titli” here on Thursday.

Released on October 30 in India, “Titli”, which stars Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl and Shivani Raghuvanshi in pivotal roles, was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival after which it came into limelight in India for its hard-hitting content.

“Titli”, which focuses on the life of three brothers – Titli (Shashank), Vikram (Ranvir) and Pradeep (Amit) — captures the volatility of a society where violence lies uneasily just below the surface.

Not only the film gave a perfect start to the independent film festival but it also witnessed a packed house in the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) at McLeod Ganj here.

The end of the movie was marked by a loud applause by the audience which included independent filmmakers, critics, local audience, tourists and movie aficionados.

“Titli”, which is co-produced by Yash Raj Films and filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee, had to go under the knife of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) because of its violating and harsh content. However Behl said that the film looks equally powerful as it was before.

“It’s the way people speak in Delhi. Abusing works just like a flavour in their language. As far as the censor board cutting down the film, as a filmmaker I feel every small part that gets cut out from a film is painful, especially which you feel are reasonable. But the film was not only about abusing and I don’t think the cuts have affected the film,” Behl, who attended the screening of the film along with Ranvir, said.

Ranvir, on being asked if he had to undergo any training for his negative role of Vikram, the “Singh is Kinng” actor said: “The one thing which was common between the entire cast in terms of preparations was a lot of beating. This is one thing that we practiced and did a lot of workshops before facing the camera. Each one of us had different quirks.

“The only thing that Kanu realised in me pretty early was that I have three brothers and belong to a north Indian family with some violence of course. But I didn’t see a life like the one shown in the film,” he added.

While the four-day film festival, which concludes on Sunday, witnessed an amazing response on the opening day with the screening of “Titli”, the viewer’s expectations are even higher from the different variety of films that will be screened in the upcoming days, which includes Neeraj Ghaywan’s “Masaan”, Gurvinder Singh’s “Chauthi Koot”, Prashant Nair’s “Umrika” and Ruchika Oberoi’s “Island City” among many others from both India and abroad.

“We hope that like past years, films which will be shown in this edition will also educate and entertain the audience and stuck into their heart. When we started DIFF, we thought that it would be great to show contemporary cultural event which includes films from cross the world,” filmmaker Ritu Sarin, who organised the festival along with Tenzing Sonam, said.

“We started with an ambition to bring cinema to the mountains and show people here what real cinema is all about,” she added.

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