Titli Hindi Movie Review

Saturday, October 31, 2015
It is hard to not lose your heart to noir cinema. It is stylish, sexy and oozes oodles of raw energy. Titli redefines the prevalent suave understanding of noir cinema, turns it on his head and paints a milieu that is suggestive of the brutal world that exists beyond the fringes of our metropolitan setups. The film is gritty, dark and often a little too suffocatingly so. It takes heart to sit through this marvelous piece of cinema which is so painfully real, so overwhelming and so exhausting to watch. 
Cinema is mostly an exhilarating experience but then once in a while a filmmaker like Kanu Bahl pops up to mirror the evils of our society, its downtrodden thinking, its chauvinistic vein and why we have plunged so far into the sinister world of crime. Bahl and his writer Sharat Katariya examine and dissect the thought process which leads way to such gruesome acts. In Titli, Katariya ups his writing notches above the arguably terrific piece Dum Laga Ke Haisha, that came earlier this year. Titli is bold, irreverent and sorted. It was an easily likeable film, but it was evidently and visibly a novice's work. In Titli, Katariya finds an unshakable voice and creates multi-faceted characters. In such films, it is easy to villainfy playing on stereotypes, but Katariya's characters are not devilish. They are menacing and people you'll despise, but he ably makes them human and explains the workings of their psyche. 

It is simple to point out how gender dynamics in big cities have changed, leaning towards equality of the sexes. But the same doesn't hold true universally. Women in Bahl and Katariya's worlds are hardly weepy props waiting to be victimised. That is what makes the ladies in the film worth rooting for. 
Centered around a criminal family in the capital, the youngest brother Titli is forced into marriage to be controlled by his folks. But marriage comes with its unique set of troubles for Titli who is trapped in marriage of convenience with Neelu. The duo hit off on a rocky note. There is a perfectly shot scene in which Neelu denies Titli conjugal rights. When she gets a hint of the reality of the family she married into, she makes a deal with her makeshift husband, one he can't deny.
Titli thrives because of its pitch perfect portrayal of a flawed system, that is every bit a breathing example of corruption. It is a very violent film and the filmmaker never goes for subtlety or suggestive methods. He shows it all and sometimes you wish he wouldn't expose you to such gruesomeness. 
Bahl and Katariya have written a potent script that believes in conveying without many words. It is amazing that none of the characters have a backstory that was forcibly incorporated to add substance to the script. Good writing is so holistic that it paints the right picture without meandering and still manages to keep it wholesome. It is commendable how the film's vision is never myopic and is always intact on the narrative. The homosexual relationship is never excavated but is observed when blatantly suggested. The multiple dysfunctionalaties leads way to a delicious story.
As for the actors, they are confident and Deliver breathtaking performances. Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Ranvir Shorey are all dazzling in their parts. Shivani's Neelu is a wisecrack and it is the film's most layered part performed to utmost perfection. 
You wish it were brighter but sometimes in darkness it is easier to find soul.
We rate the film a 70% 

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