Wednesday, March 22, 2023



Doing child abuse scenes disturbed Anurag Kashyap: Director Onir

It's a film that raised some of its finance on social networking sites. It also saw filmmaker Anurag Kashyap willingly turn actor - he plays a child abuser - as he had been a victim himself. The behind-the-scenes stories of "I Am" are plenty, says its director Onir.

"I Am" has four short stories woven into one and they are loosely connected to each other. Kashyap plays a child abuser in "I Am Abhimanyu". The other three stories are titled - "I Am Omar", "I Am Afia" and "I Am Megha".

"When I decided to make the 'Abhimanyu' part of the film, I just put out a post on my Facebook page saying the same. Anurag got to know about it and sent me a message saying he always wanted to make a film on child abuse, but didn't have the guts," Onir told IANS in an interview here.

"He said 'I cannot think of anyone else better than you to make a film on this subject, so if you need any help, just tell me, I'm there with you'.

"I was having a tough time finding someone to play a father who is the abuser and I asked Anurag to do it and he agreed. But enacting certain scenes were quite disturbing for Anurag because they brought back old memories," he added.

Kashyap is the critically acclaimed director of "Dev D" and "Black Friay".

According to Onir, Kashyap was a victim of child abuse for 11 years and wanted this subject to be made to create awareness. Two more directors - Anurag Basu and Nandita Das - will all be seen acting in the film.

"There are four directors working on the film. Three of them are acting, while I'm directing it," said Onir.

"It was quite a coincidence to sign Anurag Basu. I stepped into a coffee shop one day and he came running to me asking for some money to pay the bill because he had forgotten his wallet at home. I gave it and realised he was perfect for the role of a doctor in the 'Afia' part," said 40-year-old Onir.

"After paying the bill, he returned to thank me and I just told him that you can keep the money as the signing amount and do my film. He was sweet enough to say yes and did the role."

So wasn't it difficult to work with so many directors?

"I didn't face any difficulty. If you trust and respect each other, no problems happen. Each one is doing his job," he said.

Onir's first film as a director was the critically acclaimed "My Brother... Nikhil". Released in 2005, it dealt with homosexuality. After that he directed "Bas Ek Pal" (2006) and "Sorry Bhai!"(2008).

"I Am" is Onir's fourth film and he says its finance has been arranged in a unique way.

"Very often on Facebook I used to get messages from people interested in films but they were scared as the money involved in moviemaking is huge. So I just put up a post on my account saying I want to make this film and if you believe in this subject and if you want this film to be made, become a co-owner which you could do by just putting Rs.1,000.

"I said another thing they could do was to put in Rs.100,000 or something and get a percentage of the profit," said Onir.

Almost 300 people contributed and the money collected just through social networking sites was approximately Rs.85 lakh. The remaining amount was contributed by certain actors and producers of the film.

Also starring Manisha Koirala, Juhi Chawla and Rahul Bose, the film is slated to release around July.

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