Mumbai | Acclaimed filmmaker Kanu Behl is returning to the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, this time with his upcoming Hindi feature film "Agra".
Produced by Saregama India Ltd, UFO Production, and O28 Films, the movie will have its world premiere at Directors' Fortnight, an independent section of the prestigious film gala.
Written by Behl and Atika Chohan, "Agra" is an exploration of sexual dynamics within a family and the deep dystopian fractures created in a modern India fast shrinking into pigeon-holed spaces.
The feature film -- an India-France co-production -- is fronted by the debutant Mohit Agarwal, "Aashiqui" star Rahul Roy, "Lion" actor Priyanka Bose, Ruhani Sharma, along with Vibha Chibber, Sonal Jha and Aanchal Goswami in pivotal roles.
Behl said he is overjoyed that "Agra" is beginning its journey at Director's Fortnight.
"'Agra' has been a deeply personal and difficult exploration for me, a deep dive into the inner entrails of desire and male sexual repression, and an attempt to understand the hoodoo... I hope it opens a conversation around sexuality and the ‘homes' we choose to live in, as it reaches a wider audience," the writer-director said in a statement.
"The world premiere of 'Agra' at the Directors' Fortnight is a huge honour for us. We often credit ourselves as a studio that is into fearless filmmaking and Agra is a perfect example. Kanu Behl had deep faith in the subject and we are glad we made this film with him.
I look forward to seeing how the audience reacts to the film at Cannes," added Siddharth Anand Kumar – Sr. VP of Films & Event at Saregama India Ltd.
William Jehannin of UFO Production termed the creation of "Agra" an "incredible adventure".
"I feel deeply honoured to have collaborated with an Indian artist like Kanu Behl for the creation of his film, which talks about a subject both intensely local and also global," Jehannin said.
The film was developed at 'PJLF Three Rivers' residency programme in Italy with the prestigious 'Cinema du Monde' film fund backing it. It was also part of the FBR section of the Viewing Room at NFDC's Film Bazaar 2022.
"Agra" is Behl's second film to have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival after his debut film "Titli", which premiered in the 2014 Cannes Un Certain Regard section.
The 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 16 to May 27.
Palliative nurses who were striking in front of the Secretariat bought lottery tickets. A scene from Thiruvananthapuram. - KB Jayachandran