What's New - Festival Highs

‘Titli’ director Kanu Behl to compete at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival

by Mignonne D'souza


After his debut feature ‘Titli’, which premiered at 2014 Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, the director returns with another gritty portrayal of society in his short, ‘Binnu Ka Sapna’.

Behl’s foray into the short film format is an intensely gripping 32 minutes on our toxic society and its inescapable clutches; reminiscent of the themes in ‘Titli’. Binnu, in his late 20s, is seemingly normal. An engineer by profession, he works hard and remains largely unobtrusive. However, his mind is filled with memories of hearing about the first time his father slapped his mother, on their honeymoon, 25 years ago. She was hit just for emerging from the same room as her own brother-in-law, and the experience marks the rest of Binnu and his mother’s lives. Now, living in another town, he falls in love, but things quickly become unromantic as a strange paranoia engulfs his entire being.

Binnu Ka Sapna (‘Binnu: Life and Times’) plunges into a malignant psyche, exposing the ticking time bombs around us and the sparks that set them off. It goes through the harrowing transformation of a victim into an attacker, with society only serving as a catalyst. Starring Chetan Sharma as the titular Binnu, Behl has written and directed the film, co-produced by Colosceum Media and Terribly Tiny Talkies.

‘Binnu Ka Sapna’ will screen in Clermont-Ferrand’s International Competition section, which presents a variety of serious subjects and light-hearted interludes in its 78 films from 61 countries. In its 41st edition, the Festival, widely considered to be the “Mecca of short films” in the world, will take place from February 1 to 9, 2019.

An alumnus of the Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, Kolkata, Behl’s debut ‘Titli’ (2014, 112 min) went to 23 festivals post its premiere at Cannes. 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.