Defence ministry rejects filmmaker Onir’s script on gay soldier

"I am not out here to demean anybody. I have a lot of love and respect for the Indian army," said Onir.

National award winning filmmaker Onir’s latest script, “We are”, based on a gay soldier has been rejected by the Ministry of Defence despite the filmmaker’s clarification that the script was inspired by the real-life of Army Major J Suresh.

In his response to the defence minstry’s decision, Onir told NDTV, “According to the new law, if you have any character or anything to do with the forces, the Indian army, you have to get a No objection certificate (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.”

The filmmaker said that an email from the ministry read, ‘content has been examined, analysed and rejected’. Onir added that he has sought a clarification regarding the same. During the interview Onir said that there was no solid reason for the script to be rejected “When asked why exactly was it rejected, I was told that the fact that I have shown a gay character as an army man is illegal.”

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Referring to his past films, the filmmaker said that he could make films on homosexual characters, in 2005 during a time when the subject was criminalised by law. The film maker also put out a tweet referring to the rejection of the script by the Ministry of Defence.

“It’s a long long road to being treated as equal citizens, who have the right like every other citizen to serve our nation and it’s army . Why should one’s sexuality decide if one is capable ? … miles to go before we sleep“ read the tweet.

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