Kanu Behl’s Hindi film Agra had its world premiere on Wednesday in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 76th Cannes Film Festival. The film, which is the only Indian feature selected in Directors’ Fortnight this year, received a 5-minute standing ovation. The premiere was attended by co-writer and director Kanu, actors Priyanka Bose, Mohit Agarwal, and producers Siddharth Anand Kumar, Sahil Sharma, and William Jehannin. (Also read: Rahul Roy’s Agra to premiere at Cannes, 2nd Indian film at prestigious festival this year after Anurag Kashyap’s Kennedy)
Agra’s world premiere at Cannes
Afterwards, the Agra team shared pictures and videos from the world premiere online. Kanu shared on Twitter, “The baby is out.” Co-producers Yoodlee Films also shared photos of the team on the red carpet.
Agra features the comeback of actor Rahul Roy, who was not at Cannes, with Priyanka, newcomer Mohit, Ruhani Sharma, along with veteran actors Vibha Chibber, Sonal Jha and Aanchal Goswami in pivotal roles. The film, written by Kanu Behl and Atika Chohan, is an exploration of sexual dynamics within a family.
What is the film about?
Agra’s synopsis states, “Guru (25), a sexually repressed young boy, lives in a small house in Agra. He sleeps in the same room as his mother, and on the upper floor his father lives with a mistress. In an already tiny house, the only available space is the terrace on the upper floor. Guru insists that he loves Mala, an imaginary girl, and will marry her and live with her in a room on the terrace just like his father does with his mistress.”
After the premiere, Kanu Behl shared, “It was overwhelming to see a story that took me on a very personal journey, received with such love and warmth on the global stage. Agra reflects a very specific milieu but the story it tells about the politics of sexual repression and the tangled skeins of desire, is universal and that’s what the audiences responded to. I feel truly rewarded that the film’s journey has begun on such an uplifting note. To see it being celebrated in the prestigious Director’s Fortnight at Cannes gives me hope that it will open the way for difficult conversations about things we don’t address in our homes.”
The film is an Indo-French co-production by Saregama India Ltd, UFO Production, and O28 Films. Kanu’s directorial debut Titli, starring Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi and Ranvir Shorey, premiered in the 2014 Cannes Un Certain Regard section. The Directors’ Fortnight is an independent section of the French film festival.