Onir has always been vocal about the troubles a filmmaker has to face in Bollywood when they want to attempt a subject or style of filmmaking which isn’t commonplace. He says it’s almost like “invisible shackles” placed on artistes.
“It is what is happening to filmmakers in a way. What is slavery? Being forced to do things without your consent, and punished if you don’t follow the line. You have new laws for OTT platforms, creating a new body to supervise… film certification is already done. You’re trying to tell an artiste, constantly monitoring everything they want to tell, saying religious sentiments are hurt… what about us?,” questions the 52-year-old.
One of the judges at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne this year, Onir recently shot for a documentary for which he travelled to places such as Kashmir, Leh, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata.
Calling it a one way dialogue, he continues and asserts that even if OTT platforms reign supreme today, cinemas will be back nonetheless.
“Earlier there was box office, which has now been replaced with eyeballs. That’s a term you hear on every OTT platform. Suddenly, it’s about good web series, there should be a hook every five minutes, a hook towards the end. They’re not talking about good content,” he notes.
The filmmaker goes on to assert that cinemas would forever remain the strongest pillar of showbiz.
“When TV came, people thought, ‘Ab cinema khatam ho gaya hai’. But cinema is a different language, it’s not a web series or an advertisement. It has a language which is irreplaceable,” says the director of critically acclaimed films such as I Am and My Brother Nikhil.
So naturally, when films and theatres therefore are here to stay, it’s up to every filmmaker how they go about fighting the restrictions.
“There are different shackles like, ‘This is too bold, this is too gay’. All these restrictions come in, you’ve to decide as a filmmaker whether you’re going to follow this or not,” he ends.