Defense Ministry rejected script for featuring gay soldier, says Onir
National award-winning filmmaker Onir's script on a gay soldier for his next feature has been rejected by the Defense Ministry, thereby leading to a major controversy. According to the director, his story was "very respectful of the army" and had been sent to the bin for its focus on a homosexual man. His script was based on a real-life Indian major's struggles.
While speaking to NDTV, the My Brother...Nikhil helmer said he had sent the script for approval by Defense Ministry on December 16. "Then, the day before yesterday is when I got the email and I was told that the "content has been examined, analyzed and rejected"." Notably, since 2020, any content on the military is supposed to get a no-objection certificate from the Ministry.
Onir said he reached out for clarification. "I was told over phone, it has not yet come in writing, that because there is no problem with the script. But, the fact that I have shown a gay character as an army man is illegal." The man, whose interview about the struggles he faced in the army inspired Onir, is (retired) Major J Suresh.
Great start of a new year … 2022 and the #lgbtqi community continues to strive for equally dignity and acceptance. Good morning beautiful people and much love to every ally.— অনির Onir اونیر ओनिर he/him (@IamOnir) January 22, 2022
Reportedly, the movie was to be called We Are, and it would have been the sequel to Onir's much-acclaimed 2010 anthology, I Am. He had first talked about making the sequel last year, saying, "Every platform I've discussed it with, has said no...It's too gay for them." Now that the script has been rejected, he is consulting lawyers to decide what is next.
But it looks like the filmmaker has an idea of what to do next. Earlier today (Sunday), the 52-year-old shared several openings for roles in his feature We Are. With the caption saying: "I resist with cinema," he noted: "The more refusals I face from mainstream industry the more determined I feel...to tell stories from our lives." "#WeAre is one such film," he noted.