It was our pleasure talking to Onirban better known as Onir, one of the most talented film directors of India. His movies talks about real lives and real issues that a common man faces everyday. His movies are far from the typical Bollywood masala flicks and the usual frills and fancies yet enthralls the audience with ease.
In this interview Onir talks about his forthcoming venture "I Am" and much more...
B'Khush : When did you realize that you have a passion for making films?
Onir : I think consciously by the time I completed class ten. By then I was already going to film festivals and dreaming my own cinema.
B'Khush: Is there a special reason that all your movies are backed by social issues?
Onir: No all my movies are not backed by social issues. I feel BAS EK PAL AND SORRY BHAI! are not primarily social issues films. For me whats important is that a story should seem exciting to me. Sometimes there is a social issue attached, but I primarily like to explore relationships and the human psychic thru my films and characters.
However what is important to me is that I do not make something regressive. For me the way minority community or women are portrayed is extremely important,
B'Khush: "My Brother Nikhil" was acclaimed critically across the world but was not a "box office hit"..did that bother you?
Onir: I did not accept a film that dealt with homosexuality and AIDS to do well in the box office of a country where a huge section of the population is homophobic and also living double standard lives with regressive morality. You have to remember that for being the first mainstream Hindi film to address homosexuality to have released in multiplexes across the country was a huge achievement. Unfortunately we were not as successful reaching out to the Diaspora audience.
Also the film did extremely well on the dvd/home video and satellite sector in India.
B'Khush : One thing you like and one thing you dislike about Bollywood?
Onir: I love the way good Hindi movies use songs
I hate the was women are portrayed in most Hindi mainstream cinema.
B'Khush:Who are your favorite directors? (Bollywood and International)
Onir:That's difficult, there are too many.
well from the contemporary film makers internationally I love Pedro Almodovar
From the Hindi Film Industry : Guru Dutt
B'Khush:Your forthcoming venture is"I AM"...Tell us something about it.
Onir:I AM is a film that narrates the stories of the conflicts and dilemmas of modern indian society. the film has four stories interconnected by characters and theme. Stories of lonely individuals in search of love, in search of self.
Onir: Would you share with us the unique fundraising strategies for "I Am"
Onir: I AM would probably be the first crowd sourced mainstream feature film in India thru social network. For me this was not just fund raising where people could contribute Rs 1000 and mare to become a CO-OWNER or ONE LAC and above to become CO-PRODUCER. Ina way this democratises and demystifies cinema and takes the process of making to the end user - the audience.
We have not only raised finance but also volunteers for crew and cast thru social network. moreover I feel this is a way to build an active audience while making the film.
B'Khush: Your opinion about the social networking websites? Is it a vice or a virtue?
Onir: As long as you know why you want to use it and how its a virtue. anything misused can become a vice. Like a car can be used as a mode of transport and as a machine that runs over people due to drunken driving.
B'Khush: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
Onir: Making more films
B'khush: A message for the readers
Onir: Hope the diaspora audience is more supportive to independent cinema and creates a demand for good cinema from India. Hope some of your readers join us and become CO-OWNERS of I AM. check out our website. www.iamthefilms.com . join us and become a part of the changing cinema in INDIA.