New Delhi: National Award-winning filmmaker Onir was reportedly planning a film script on the life of a gay Major of the Indian Army. But according to several reports, the script has been rejected by the Ministry of Defense. Onir had watched an interview of the Major who had said that he had to quit the Army because of his sexual orientation. This inspired the filmmaker to write a story about a gay man who wants to serve the country but is unable to because of his sexual preferences.
The story was meant to be one of the segments in the anthology, We Are, a sequel to his National Award-winning 2010 Indian anthology, I Am. Onir had written to the defence ministry in December seeking an NOC for his script.
“According to the new law, if you have any character or anything to do with the forces, the Indian army, you have to get an NOC from the Indian army to be able to make that film. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get that certified. On December 16, I formally applied (for the NOC) with my script, which I think treats everything with a lot of dignity and respect. I am not out here to demean anybody. I have a lot of love and respect for the Indian army,” Onir told a leading media portal.
Onir took to Twitter and wrote: “75 years of independence, more than three years since he Supreme Court of india had decriminalised homosexuality but as a society we are a long way from being treated as equals . While 56 countries across the world accepts #lgbtqi in the army ,it is still illegal the indian army.”
Take a look at his tweet:
According to reports, Onir wrote to the defence ministry in December seeking an NOC for his script. But in response, Lt-Colonel Sachin Ujjwal of the ADG strategic communication wing of the Army wrote back that the script, after being “analysed in detail,” was denied clearance by the Army.
As per a report in TOI, the filmmaker’s calls to Lt-Col Ujjwal on Thursday went unanswered.
“As a film-maker and queer rights activist, it is important for me to be able to tell this story,” Onir told the publication. He further added that filmmakers “are supposed to question through cinema. This attempt to stop dialogue is unfortunate. True democracy does not exist unless it applies equally to all citizens irrespective of gender, sexuality, caste, class or religion.”