What's New - Festival Highs

Kanu Behl's 'Binnu ka Sapna' wins at Clermont-Ferrand

by Rutwij Nakhwa


Behl’s short film won the Student Award at the 41st Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, one of the world’s prime destinations for the short format.


‘Binnu ka Sapna’ screened in the International Competition and was the sole Indian film at the festival which this year screened 78 films from 61 countries, and takes place annually in Clermont-Ferrand, a university town in France. The prize was awarded by a jury of five students and is supported by Clermont Auvergne University. 

The film moves away from vilifying just the perpetrator and studies violence as a structural phenomenon that springs from both within and without, or at least has the potential to, for us all — with some, like film’s protagonist Binnu, more susceptible to it than others. In his late 20s, Binnu is a hard-working, unobtrusive engineer who is seemingly normal. However, his mind remains haunted by an account of his father’s wanton violence on his mother, on their honeymoon, 25 years ago. Now, Binnu lives in another town and falls in love, but romance is short-lived, as a strange paranoia engulfs his entire being. ‘Binnu ka Sapna’ steadily goes through the harrowing transformation of a victim into an attacker, with society as its catalyst. The film stars Chetan Sharma as the titular Binnu. Kanu Behl has written and directed the film, co-produced by Colosceum Media and Terribly Tiny Talkies.

In a short but candid interview, Behl shared, that the film “was a way for me to examine the violence within. There has been a phase in my life where I have dealt with anger in different ways. And [the film] was an opportunity for me to examine where the roots of that anger and violence lay …”. The director also celebrated the “energy and devotion” with which audiences queued up to watch short films, a passion that is yet to catch up in India but hopefully, films by makers such as Behl will prove to be catalysts. 

Behl is an alumnus of the Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, Kolkata. His debut ‘Titli’ (2014) went to 23 festivals post its premiere at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. Its festival run at Rotterdam, Beijing, London, Rio de Janeiro, Zurich, Hamburg, Hamburg, Seattle, Philadelphia, Gothenburg and AFI Fest, among many others, culminated in eight international awards including the NETPAC and the Best First Foreign Film (2015) from the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics.