Suruchi Gupta

Onir on I Am and Biopics… Biopics 4/7

by on Apr.27, 2011, under Experiences

Onir’s film I Am was the inspiration for my biopic story! Thanks a ton to him! I have interviewed Onir once before (in January 2011), and it was sooo sad that I didn’t get the chance to interview him at length for this film… nevertheless, he shared some very heartwarming thoughts on my questions and helped me in contacting the other members of his team to help my story. Some of his words while I was preparing my story…

What was your experience like in making the film… (Here Onir probably heard that I am asking him about audience reaction and answered me with this… and I dint stop him as was quite interesting)…
I had gone to Florence for the screening of the film where a 85 year old Kashmiri woman was in the audience. She waited for everyone to leave the hall. Came to me and said. Keep making stories like that.

Ganesh Nallari, messaged me in morning that really touched me. He is one of those who inspired me a lot.

What was the impact of the film on them…
It is because of the film that he could finally talk about it (the abuse) publicly, and tell his parents what happened to him as a child. And he sent me a message saying ‘I think I want to change my name to Ganesh ‘Abhimanyu’ Nallari. That really means a lot to me. you’re very scared that when a film like this happens how will people react. (Onir now spoke about other reactions too, but I have sadly not transcripted the entire conversation 🙁 )

Who was the inspiration behind Megha and Afia… can we contact them?
Inspiration behind Megha was Sanajay Suri because his father was shot dead in Kashmir. How they had to leave the state… But probably you cannot speak with the sperm donation lady. Don’t know if her job profile allows her to speak. For Omar you can speak to Vivek Anand, heads Humsafar Trust, Mumbai.

I called Onir once again to know why can directors make a movie and simply call them ‘inspired’ while they seem to clearly depict a person’s life or wishes. Here is what he’d said…
I took letters of no objection from Ganesh and Harish. They have no objection to the movie and thus we have used their name in the movie. Even in Omar, I took permission from the person who has inspired the movie to a large extent. But then he later requested me to try and avoid the name. So I have not used his name. ….  By saying the film is fictitious you do not have the responsibility of taking the permission. You can be inspired by even a newspaper article. You can just have it as a trigger point, and not use the whole story. For even Dominique (of My Brother Nikhil)…. Only common factor was he was one of the first AIDS patient in India. We don’t need a copyright for using just an inspiration if we are not using the names… everything in life is an inspiration from something or the other. And all inspired films really go to another level in Bollywood, we know that. (Disclaimers thus help)

(By then, I had already spoken to Vivek Anand)… Vivek Anand informed me, that the person on whom Omar story is based, is married etc. Have you shown that in your film?
I know. Unfortunately, because of law, a lot of gay men get into marriages. And so my movie does not take the real name, as unfortunately my business is not sting operation! I don’t show that part of the movie. There are so many such cases. (Vivek anand, as my next interview post will say,  had said that the Omar inspiration is a bisexual, not gay).

I was indeed not aware about the disclaimer bit, and was quite surprised to know about the Omar story bit… Thanks Onir!

Photo taken from Google… move on to read next one… In case you missed out on reading anything else, this interview – alongside others – culminated in a biopic-film ‘reality’ story on HT City on April 27, 2011, hyperlinked here.

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