Cannes 2023: Kanu Behl receives 5 minute long standing ovation during the screening of Hindi film “Agra” at Directors’ Fortnight

The global premiere of the Hindi film Agra by Kanu Behl took place on Wednesday, 24th May, during Directors’ Fortnight at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. The movie, the only Indian picture chosen for Directors’ Fortnight this year, received a 5-minute standing ovation.

Co-writer and director Kanu, actors Priyanka Bose and Mohit Agarwal, and producers Siddharth Anand Kumar, Sahil Sharma, and William Jehannin all attended the premiere.

Director Kanu Behl believes the movie will “open the way for difficult conversations”

Speaking about the appreciation and recognition he received, Director Kanu said, “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.”

He added, “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.”

What is Kanu Bhel’s “Agra” about?

“Agra’s” synopsis reads, “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.”

The movie was produced at the PJLF Three Rivers residence project in Italy, with funding provided by the esteemed “Cinema du Monde” film fund.

Saregama India Ltd, UFO Production, and O28 Films jointly produced the Indo-French movie. “Agra” stars Rahul Roy, Priyanka Bose, Mohit Agarwal, Ruhani Sharma, Vibha Chibber, Sonal Jha, and Aanchal Goswami in pivotal roles.

About Kanu Behl

After dabbling in acting, radio, and copywriting, Kanu Behl pursued a major in film direction at the Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute in Kolkata. His debut documentary, “An Actor Prepares,” debuted in France’s Cinema du Reel competition in 2006. The documentary short “Three Blind Men” (2007), which ZDF and ARTE commissioned at the Berlin Film Festival, was the next project he directed and produced. Following this were the documentary films ‘Found Him Yet?’ and ‘Over Thresholds’ (2008), both of which were ordered by NHK, Japan. Kanu, a graduate of the Berlinale Talent Campus and a two-time Berlin Today Award nominee began writing fiction in 2010.

With Dibakar Banerjee, he co-wrote the highly acclaimed “LSD” (Love, Sex, and Betrayal), which became his breakthrough work. The debut film “Titli” premiered in 2014 at Un Certain Regard, Cannes, and went on to win important eight international accolades, including the NETPAC and the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics’ Best First Foreign Film (2015). The Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival hosted the world debut of his second short, “Binnu Ka Sapna,” which went on to win the renowned Student Jury Award.

Aastha Soni

A cinephile with immense love for words and everything art. I have an inclination toward understanding human psychology but I prefer dogs over humans any day. I have an affinity for all kinds of music, except techno. Kind of an old soul, trying to tolerate today's typical "Gen Z mindset".