I feel betrayed by SC – Onir

I feel betrayed by SC - Onir

The Supreme Court's recent ruling on Section 377 of Indian Penal Code is only going to worsen things for filmmakers who plan to make movies on same-sex relationships, feels film-maker Onir. In a shocking turn of event recently, the Supreme Court (SC) passed a shocking judgment by turning down the High Court (HC) verdict of 2009 that de-criminalized gay sex in India. According to the SC, the HC overstepped the 1860 law about homosexuality, which still remains valid.

"Personally, I feel betrayed by SC for not upholding the constitutional rights of a citizen. I waited optimistically for SC's verdict, but it came out as a huge setback. In fact, this is for the first time in the history of India that SC took away the rights of a minor community. What the SC has done is that it has empowered people to prosecute and harass the minority. They are all well-educated people; they cannot be driven by homophobia. It's a huge prejudice, and I am just stunned!

The move has also affected me as a film-maker. Bollywood was just about to opening up to the idea of same-sex relationships and bringing the audience closer to the reality of it, with films like Bombay Talkies, Dunno Y… or even my films, My Brother Nikhil and I Am.

With SC passing such a verdict, it is obvious that it will be difficult for film-makers to produce films based on same sex issues. In fact, it was all the more difficult even then when HC had de-criminalized gay sex. I had a hard time selling satellite rights of I Am! The Censor Board asked me to cut the last 20 minutes of my film that depicted homosexuality. They said watching something like this on TV would have a bad impact on the minds of the children. I fought for my right, and in the end deleted just the last seven minutes of the film. While this was the case then, you can imagine how much worse it is going to get for film-makers, who want to make movies on this subject.

Besides Censors, I did not get any support from the channels. Not a single channel was ready to broadcast I Am. Today these channels might be supporting homosexuality by holding debates and panel discussions, but their network did not support me in telecasting my film! Not just me, there are several other film-makers whose requests for showcasing such films are turned down by the channels citing that – 'Aapke film ka content kisi ko samajh nahi ayega! '

With the latest SC verdict, what's going to happen is that there will be no platform for the film-makers to make movies based on these subjects. If a film gets stuck with Censors, or it has no scope to gain money for broadcasting rights, why will a financier come on board to help produce the project?

All this needs to be changed. As far as Bollywood movies are concerned, the fraternity should unite and come out in public, be part of processions than just tweeting about it on social networking websites. Unity and voicing your opinion firmly is the only solution."

Screen India

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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