Mumbai: Onir has been acclaimed for his film’s and their strong themes and he’s carved a niche for himself in the industry over the years. With his next feature film, Shab, ready for release, the director spoke at length, exclusively to Deccan Chronicle.
Here are a few excerpts:
How do you maintain the complexity of your characters in each film you make?
I feel as a person, I am of the relationship kind. I like observing people and I am a good listener. I get to know so many things from my close friends which they don’t share with other people. There are so many stories and layers in each one of us. I try and use those stories in my films and characters.
How did the idea of Shab come to you?
It’s been a long journey that started 17 years ago. This is my first script that I wrote when I was trying to figure out what I want to do as my first film. The core of the film is people coming from different parts of country to a big city trying to realise their dreams. Back then I also moved to Mumbai to realise my dream to become a filmmaker. Some of us are successful, some have failed. This film is trying to capture the essence of city dreams. I think this city and my own friends inspired me to make this film.
Why did you choose a newcomer like Ashish Bisht?
I started working on the script with two other writers. When I wrote the script, I had Raveena Tandon and Sanjay Suri in mind. I was working on the sets of Daman when these two told me that why don’t I direct films? It was a good idea and I thought it was a good idea to make a film on this subject. 17 years later, things changed. Ashish is doing the role that Sanjay was supposed to do. I auditioned so many people across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Ranchi and I wanted someone who looks like a model but hails from a small town at the same time vulnerable and innocent. It was very difficult to get someone in the modelling space. Ashish has this innocence and honesty on his face. He gave so many auditions for the film and he finally got it. He was initially scared because he saw films which I don’t make. I was pleasantly surprise with his performance. He has grown up as an actor and undergone huge amount of training.
You always have a battle with Censor Board, how did Shab went off?
Honestly speaking I don’t expect ‘A’ for Shab. There is nothing which is crude, sleazy and sensational so lets see. I hope all goes well.
What are your next projects?
I am starting ‘Kuch Bheege Alfaaz’ in July. It’s the first time I am making a full romantic film. I will also shoot my next schedule of Veda in October.