Tag Archives: Titli

Streaming Video News: January 16, 2020

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the additions of Rajkummar Rao’s 2019 comedy Made in China and director Rima Das’s Assamese film Bulbul Can Singh. The Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Athiya Shetty romantic-comedy Motichoor Chaknachoor arrives on the service on January 20.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a bunch of Indian films added in the last week, including the John Abraham-led ensemble comedy Pagalpanti. Two Yash Raj Films titles — Qaidi Band and Titli (which is good but gross) — are finally available for streaming as well. Other recently added 2019 releases include:

Two new shows debut on Prime on Friday, January 17 — the Russell Peters comedy series Deported and the thriller series Afsos, starring Gulshan Devaiah. It looks pretty good. [Update: The release of Afsos was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances“.]

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Movie Review: Titli (2015)

Titli3 Stars (out of 4)

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Titli (“Butterfly“) is a film that is much easier to appreciate than it is to enjoy. Though well-made, the story’s grim tone and visceral elements make it hard to watch.

The title character, Titli (Shashank Arora), is the youngest son in a family of thieves. He provides distractions so that his older brothers — Vikram (Ranvir Shorey) and Baawla (Amit Sial) — can beat up drivers and steal their cars. Their TV-obsessed father (Lalit Behl) is disreputable, too.

Vikram is the most dangerous of the lot. Those used to watching Shorey play comic roles will find his sinister turn in Titli shocking. Vikram’s own father and brothers are too scared to stand up to him. The only reason his ex-wife was able to escape is that she has enough evidence of Vikram’s spousal abuse to send him to jail for a long time.

With the family in dire financial straits — thanks to Titli losing all their money in a poorly planned escape attempt — they decide to add a woman to their bandit gang in order to make heists easier. They do so by marrying Titli to a young woman named Neelu (Shivani Raghuvanshi).

As scared as Neelu looks when her parents arrange the match with Titli, she has no idea what horrors await. The film’s most violent scene involves the brothers staging a carjacking while Neelu and Titli are on a test drive. She sees her new in-laws as the monsters they are when Vikram and Bawla beat the car salesman with a hammer and leave him for dead.

Not only is Titli at times graphically violent, but director Kanu Behl seems to revel in personal hygiene and bodily functions. Someone in Titli’s family is always brushing his teeth, face covered in foam, drool spilling from his mouth. The noises Vikram makes when clearing his throat are revolting. Titli vomits for what feels like forever.

The whole atmosphere of the family’s small corner of India seems grimy, with a translucent, yellow layer of smog permanently obscuring the view. Their apartment is crowded and tiny. One can’t even go outside to escape, because people are always around, selling something or playing a game in the street. There’s so little privacy, it feels like a prison.

That lack of privacy leaves Titli nowhere to plan his escape. Then again, Titli is as ordinary a guy as they come, so how good of a plan could he concoct even under the best of circumstances?

Shashank Arora is a miracle of casting. As Titli, his default expression is that of someone smelling something foul. There’s a blankness in his eyes. While Titli’s desire to escape his life of crime indicates a moral superiority over his brothers, he’s not a good guy. He was raised in the same environment, so he’s just as capable of violence and deceit as Vikram and Baawla.

As Neelu, Raghuvanshi acts as the outsider, as horrified by the conduct of Titli’s family as the audience is. Still, she gives Neelu strength to endure an unbearable situation. A scene in which Neelu and Titli negotiate the terms of their future is the film’s highlight.

Behl is a talented director and storyteller. Titli is engrossing, but in a “can’t look away” sense rather than one of hopeful anticipation. I admire the craft that went into making Titli. I just hope I never have to watch it again.

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New Trailers: May 19, 2014

Time to catch up on some recently released trailers. First up is Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, which hits theaters on July 4, 2014. Though the movie shares a lineage with Cocktail and Love Aaj Kal, the trailer leaves me uninspired.

Next is It’s Entertainment, releasing August 8. It looks like any of the other dozen or so goofball comedies Akshay Kumar has made in the last decade.

Finally is a trailer for a movie with no announced theatrical release date yet. Yash Raj Films released the trailer for Titli ahead of the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20. It looks really interesting.