Free Press Journal

100-crore clubs a challenge for independent filmmakers: Onir


Mumbai: Known for making socially relevant off-beat movies, filmmaker Onir feels the biggest challenge an independent film faces today is of distribution and the Rs 100-crore clubs. Onir, best known for directing films like the same sex relationship drama “My Brother…Nikhil” and anthology film “I Am”, says directors are willing to tackle bold subjects, but are unable to do so because of the economics.

“There are many filmmakers who would like to make films in different themes, but the real challenge is exhibition, distribution, screen count and the whole 100-crore clubs scene. Independent films need to reach out to people,” Onir told PTI.

“That way, the digital space is more democratic as the film will find its audience there. But today even that is following numbers like ‘1 million hits on the trailer’ and so on. It is not organic and makes it difficult,” he said.

Onir is currently set for his next production venture “Chauranga”. The Bikas Ranjan Mishra-directed films is the story of a young boy who faces death for writing a love letter in a village steeped in caste-hierarchy. “Bikas and I were in the same script lab in NFDC. He asked me to read the script and I was blown away by it. I don’t think I could’ve directed the film. The drama, the landscape and characters, Bikas knows that better and is very clear about it,” he said.

Co-produced by actor Sanjay Suri, the social-drama is based on the story of a Brahmin ‘zamindar’ (landlord) in Jharkhand. Onir says the aim is to set out debates and not controversy with his film. “The idea of all our films is not to create controversy, but to create discourse. I want debates to happen with my films so that it leads to something good,” he said.

“Chauranga” stars Sanjay Suri, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Soham Maitra, Riddhi Sen, among others. The filmmaker is happy with his collaboration with Suri, with whom he teamed up in films like “My Brother… Nikhil”, “I Am”, “Bas Ek Pal” and “Sorry Bhai”.

“I started my career with Sanjay. He is very encouraging, supportive and believes in the films I make. We have worked in and produced certain kind of films. Both of us have grown as artists,” Onir said.

“Chauranga”, which won the Best Indian Film award at MAMI last year, is scheduled to release on January 8 next year.