Wish big banners and stars make low-budget, meaningful films: Onir

- March 17, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

The filmmaker, who recently made ‘Pine Cone’ which is themed on queer community, wants actors and producers to also focus on films that can send across a message to the society

IMPULSE: Onir shot the entire film Pine Cone on iPhone

Filmmaker Onir, who was in Delhi recently for the screening of his film Pine Cone says that he is the only one in Bollywood telling the story of the queer community.

“This is a semi-autobiographical film. It is a queer love story, which talks about the rights, acceptance, struggle and problems that you face as a queer person. I wanted to show how they navigate despite facing problems like loss, love and challenges. It is our story,” says Onir, a member of the queer community.

He is elated that his film is getting screened at the British Film Institute Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival.

“It is not a very easy task to get your film screened there. Three shows of the film will take place there now. Earlier, the film was scheduled for March 21 and 22 but seeing the huge response from the fans, they are screening it again on March 24. I am happy that I will be interacting with a different set of audience and of course, the South Asian audience that is in the UK. I am looking forward to going to London,” says Onir, who is known for films like I Am (2010) and My Brother Nikhil (2005).

Onir shared an interesting fact about the film Pine Cone.

“Making this film was challenging because I was shooting it at a time when one of my other scripts was rejected by the Ministry of Defence in 2022. That’s when I decided to shoot this film with an iPhone to avoid any inconvenience from the authorities. Taking permissions and fulfilling other formalities could have landed me in trouble,” he says.

He says that making such films is only possible when you get support from like-minded people in the industry.

“The big brands are not ready to help you. Even the big actors are not ready to come on board for such films. They are concerned about their business, focussing over 100 crores or 200 crores. I would suggest that they should also make films of Rs 3 crores, which would at least have a message for the society and an amazing story to tell to the world,” he says.

“Pine Cone film was only possible when you got unconditional support from like-minded people in the film Industry. I am grateful to all of them,” he says.

Regarding the distribution of the film, he says, “We have not figured out its distribution yet, but with the film being screened in different countries, I hope it will find a home in India too.”

Sharing an experience, Onir says, “When I made the film My Brother Nikhil, I made it independently. I didn’t get any support from the film Industry then either. Though we are the world’s largest filmmaking Industry, our focus has only been on business and the box office. Let’s move beyond it. Let’s come up with good and meaningful films that make an impact on society.”

This was the first screening of Onir’s film in Delhi.

“I was a little apprehensive as it was the first screening in Delhi and I was curious also about how the audience would react. It was an overwhelming response from the guests and the theatre was completely packed. I was happy to see people stay back for a Q&A session and come up with interesting questions. I am happier that people of the non-queer community came and watched this film,” says the 54-year-old director.

Onir says he has a special connection with Delhi.

“I have shot the film Shab in Delhi which was released in 2017. I was then staying at Lajpat Nagar and used to go to the Afghan market to have food there. The city is special for me in terms of food. I also love Delhi parks,” he says.

When asked how he sees the future of films, which didn’t get any support, he says, “As an independent filmmaker, I will continue to do my work and tell such stories. I don’t care about the future.”