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'I am comfortable with uncomfortable subjects'

Last updated on: April 29, 2011 17:40 IST

'I am comfortable with uncomfortable subjects'

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Director Onir's film I Am released today to good reviews. Starring talented actors like Nandita Das, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Sanjay Suri and Rahul Bose, the film is directed by Onir.

The director came to our office on Thursday, and spent time chatting with our readers. He also gave an educational feedback to amateur scriptwriters, who had sent in their scripts.

For those who missed the fun, here's the chat transcript:

Onir says, Hi I am Onir. I am here at the rediff.com office to chat with you'll about my film I AM which releases tomorrow.

basant asked, how was it working with Manisha koirala, she was terrific in dil se so is it same like dil se..cos she was superbly beautiful in dil se
Onir answers, For me the name Manisha Koirala meant Kuch Na Kaho. I think she is very talented and extremley beautiful and it was amazing to work with two actresses like Juhi and Manisha together.

sumit asked, why do you prefer sanjay suri in your movies??
Onir answers, Sanjay and I have a production company togther and we make the kind of films we believe in and i am fortunate that he accepts the kind of roles that most actors would shy away from

IAMMANISH asked, Shor ia getting good reviews are you worried
Onir answers, There is eniugh space for two good films. If another film happens to be a good film it only gives me reason to celebrate

rita asked, What is I am about?
Onir answers, I am is about people like you and me when we look deep into our own lives or the person sitting next to us we will discover I AM there


Image: NV Reuben

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'Established producers are busy making projects where scripts is the last thing that matters'

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rita asked, Why the title I Am?
Onir answers, I Am because, its about people trying to regain their identity whatever be their gender, sexuality, political or personal history

Aayush asked, Kudos for making film on such sensitive issues. Will you be making a film on gay people who struggles in their married life?
Onir answers, I dont select issues and start making films. For me the starting point is not the issue but a story that touches me.

trevorreznik asked, Hey Onir ..... You've been made some sentimental movies inspired by pretty decent ones like Carne Tremula and Dan In Real Life .. So is there any movies that you've been particularly inspired by while making I AM ?
Onir answers, I have not seen Dan in Real Life and for your information the script of Sorry Bhai was registered before Dan... was released. I Am has only original stories

naineet asked, Hi, why you had to go and ask for money from people? Can you tell us what has happened to established producers? Don't they like your scripts?
Onir answers, Established producers are busy making projects where scripts is the last thing that matters and where what is perceived as safe only finds space. I make films not projects.

Anna asked, why do you think we should watch your movie
Onir answers, Because it brings to you four engaging original stories brought to life by some of the best actors from contemporary sensible cinema


Image: Onir talks about his film I Am

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'Nandita is one of the most talented and under utilised actress in Indian cinema'

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rita asked, Was it difficult to direct three different stories?
Onir answers, There were four different stories. It was difficult because it was like directing four different films but there lies the excitement.

SS asked, Hi Onir, how did the idea of merging 4 stories together ocur to u?
Onir answers, It was important to merge the four stories because I wanted the viewer to have one cinema viewing experience.

Rameez asked, Hi Onir.. what is the connection with kashmir in the film.
Onir answers, The story I Am Megha talks about the Kashmiri Pandit woman returning to Shrinagar to her home after 20 years and meeting her Kashmiri Muslim friends and through the eyes of these two women you realise that each has lost something.

xxx asked, Hi.I M MOHIT. Onir...what are ur expectations from this movie which title is "I AM"?
Onir answers, I think every director will give you only one answer that the audience accepts the film.

retheeash asked, how u rate nanditas acting?
Onir answers, I think she is one of the most talented and under utilised actress in Indian cinema

jeevan asked, Why your films are about gays? Why don't you take other issues?
Onir answers, Do you ever ask an Annes Bazmee why do all his films deal with straight releationships


Image: Onir speaks about his molestation controversy

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'My inspiration Rabindranath Tagore's poem Geetanjali'

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Ramesh asked, You've always tackled uncomfortable subjects. What makes you take up these topics? Also is it difficult trying to get finance for these kind of movies?
Onir answers, I am comfortable with uncomfortable subjects. for me these are very simple stories that all of us are aware of but pretend that they dont exist. Yes it is difficult to get finance for films with these subjects.

viju asked, can your movie entertain to viewers who like wanted, 3idiots ?
Onir answers, People who like Rasmalai only eat Biryani

Maverick asked, were you inspired by the spiritual thought of I AM or Who Am I, by Jnani's like Ramana Mahrishi, Nisargadutta, etc before making this movie
Onir answers, No my inspiration Rabindranath Tagore's poem Geetanjali "Where the mind is without fear and the haead is held high into that heaven of freedom my father let my country awake."

atanu asked, which is ur fav story among the 4? lets say slightly ? or u really don't wanna differentiate..?
Onir answers, I think Megha is closest to me beacuse its about displacemnet and being a political refugee from Bhutan i identify with the feeling of loss of home


Image: Onir speaks on Bollywood movies

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'I feel fortunate that so many people are attached to I Am'

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Ashis asked, SIR,WHAT IS THE MEANING OF YOUR NAME ?
Onir answers, Onir means a fire that doesnt burn out

IAMMANISH asked, Do u know that many people are emotionaly attached with IAM, you and its music ; Pray movie don't let them down tommorow
Onir answers, I feel fortunate that so many people are attached to the film emotionally and I hope they feel proud of the film

sapkar asked, Hi , Is it difficult to get mainstream actors to play gay characters. why this taboo still, even if the role is challenging? waiting for you to do a full fledged gay movie showing the triumph of love over social repurcussions
Onir answers, Yes it is difficult to get mainstream actors to play gay charecters as people are insecure because of social stigma in a homophobic society

atanu asked, which was the best reaction you received at the recent film festivals? you did tell us about some reactions already i know....
Onir answers, What touched me the most was when Ganesh Nallari after watching the film changed his name Ganesh Abhimanyu Nallaru because he felt the film librated him from the trauma of having been sexually abused as a child.

Onir says, Thank you all for a lovely chat. Please support independent cinema by going to theaters tomorrow.


Image: Onir gives pointers to Rediff winner Suman Singh from Hyderabad, who shared his script with him
Video: Hitesh Harisinghani and N V Reuben
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