Friday, August 25, 2006
New Mumbai (UNI): The producer of some critically acclaimed films like My Brother Nikhil and Bas Ek Pal, Onir, says there is no such thing as a no message film, every film carries a message no matter how small. Onir did his graduation in comparative literature from the Kolkata University before proceeding to Berlin to train in editng and filmmaking. He told UNI ''There is crude and crass cinema like pulling skirts and mindless comedy. I refuse to be a part of that cinema. But the audience wants it so why blame the film-maker?'' Speaking about his new film Bas Ek Pal, he said that it is based on urban relationships, and stars Sanjay Suri, Jimmy Shergill, Urmila Matondkar and Juhi Chawla among others.
Elaborating further he said that though he had written Bas Ek Pal before he wrote My Brother..., releasing the former was relatively easier as at that point of time he was a debutant director and was dealing with a sensitive topic like homosexuality and aids. ''The aim of making My Brother... was not to scandalise or create controversy. The intention was to depict a family whose son was ailing . The topic of homosexuality and aids was incidental.'' he clarified. The film got wide critical acclaims and bagged 10 international awards. It was screened at Harvard and the Llyola University in Chicago, at John Hopkins in Washington DC and was also made part of the library at Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Besides' a lot of US universities have made it a part of their curriculum.
However, in India the film was not a huge hit. The UN is using the film to create acceptance and awareness besides being used as an educational tool in remote places. ''We struggled a lot to make the film. Sanjay Suri and others have invested money for the making of 'My Brother..'. Nobody wanted to produce the film. Sanjay showed the film to bollywood director Karan Johar who liked it and showed it to Aditya Chopra who decided to release it. I am touched that they released my film without any cuts,'' Onir said. He informed that he has also made two other documentary films called ''Fallen Hero'' which is about a painter, and ''Tigers Nest'' which is based on Bhutan. Asked why his second film is vastly different from his first one he said '' I did not want to carry any baggage. If I repeat myelf my growth will stop. I want to experiment, take risks, so that as a technician I will grow.'' ''I have worked with very talented people. I don't want to jump in the Rs 20 crore bracket and work with stars who behave as though they are doing a favour to me. I'd rather take it slow and steady,'' he added.
Commenting on the way things work in the industry he said, '' People are 'star struck'. One channel came up to me and said we will promote your film if you get us these stars. To which I replied, if my film is good you will promote it anyway, and anyway I can't co-ordinate the dates of all stars together.'' Onir's favourites include directors Ritwick Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. He finds Madhuri Dixit very beautiful and likes some of the works of Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan. He prefers Europeon cinema to Hollywood and his favourites being Bunuel and Tarkovsky. He likes Hollywood actors like Tom Hanks, Belmondo and Colin Farell. The one film he wished he would have directed was Sophie's Choice. ''What a beautiful film. How did the director do something like this? I hope someday somebody says that about my film.'' Regarding his projects, he is presently working on a few scripts and is also working on the adaptation of 'Hamlet', while the writer of Black is working on the script. As he sums it up '' We are all growing with our films.''