Struggle Of Independent Filmmakers Has Changed, Not Stopped: Onir

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Mumbai: Filmmaker Onir during the promotion of his upcoming film “Kucch Bheege Alfaaz” in Mumbai on Feb 6, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

National Award winning filmmaker Onir, known for helming independent films, says the nature of struggle has changed for small budget movies, but the challenges haven’t vanished altogether.

“Earlier, the merit of the film used to speak for itself, along with the word of mouth. But now the fate of a film depends on its first weekend performance. We are competing with big studio films, star-driven films at the multiplexes. We are fighting with publicity, marketing and the new practice of media net.

“Earlier, making a film was expensive, and now releasing it is. So our struggle has changed, not stopped,” Onir told IANS in an interview.

The filmmaker made his debut as a director in 2005 with “My Brother… Nikhil”, and went on to make “Bas Ek Pal” and an anthology like “I Am” that captured a range of social issues. He has a knack for telling tales on issues of concern, and has delved into subjects like AIDS, single motherhood, displacement, child abuse and same-sex relationships via his movies.

Around 13 years and seven films later, asked about what keeps him motivated to deal with the constant struggle, he said: “For me, a good story comes first, and good actors. I am not saying stars are not good actors. I have worked with some of the great female stars who are willing to experiment with their craft.

“But producers are interested to invest in a star, not on the script. So the struggle. But I will keep telling stories.”

Onir has worked with some popular actresses Juhi Chawla, Urmila Matondkar, Manisha Koirala and Radhika Apte.

On whether he ever foresees himself making a film with a superstar like Shah Rukh Khan, Onir said: “I think they do not want to work with me… (laughing).

“Jokes apart, I can see myself working with Shah Rukh Khan in future. I have admired him in all kind of films, whether it is ‘Yes Boss’, ‘Chak De! India’ or ‘Swades’. No one can romance the way Shah Rukh does.