Kanu Behl’s Agra: A Bold Exploration of India’s Unsettling Realities

In his latest directorial endeavor, “Agra,” Kanu Behl plunges headfirst into the disquieting realm of sexual repression and the entrenched patriarchal norms of India. Behl sets the unyielding tone of his film right from the start, captivating audiences with a disconcerting opening sequence featuring a squirrel, sexuality, and kaleidoscopic patterns. “Agra” emerges as a pivotal and audacious cinematic masterpiece of the year, having celebrated its world premiere at the Director’s Fortnight Section during this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The narrative of “Agra” revolves around Guru (portrayed by Mohit Agarwal), who resides in a cramped, rundown two-story home with his mother (Vibha Chibber). Meanwhile, Rahul Roy, Guru’s father, and his second wife, Sonal Jha, occupy the upper room. The open terrace space becomes the focal point of contention among the house’s inhabitants. While Guru’s mother dreams of establishing a clinic with Guru’s cousin sister, Aanchal Goswami, Guru aspires to construct a room for himself and cohabitate with his imaginary fiancée. In contrast, the second wife envisions transforming the space into a garden. These unstable cohabitants suffocate one another, devoid of personal space, and teeter on the brink of a violent eruption.

“Agra” grows even more intricate with the introduction of Priyanka Bose’s character, Priti, a middle-aged widow grappling with polio in her left leg. Bose brilliantly portrays a determined woman whose physical limitations do not deter her from pursuing her passions. However, as Guru and Priti’s bond deepens in the second half of the film, “Agra” loses some of its initial momentum. The relationship between the two women in Guru’s household, though integral to the plot, is resolved too swiftly. It feels implausible to suggest that Guru’s life improves dramatically after Priti’s arrival. The film fails to maintain its early intensity, and the shaky denouement arrives shortly after the initial rush of intensity predicted by “Agra.”

Similar Post