The ministry of defence has rejected filmmaker Onir's next film, 'We Are,' because his script has a gay army officer.. Major J Suresh's real-life story influenced Onir's gay character in the film. Onir said that he was told that it is illegal to show a gay character as an army man.
Reacting to the development, 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 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."
"Then, the day before yesterday is when I got the email and I was told that the 'content has been examined, analysed and rejected.' I, of course, have asked for clarification, asked why exactly (was it rejected). I was told over phone, it has not yet come in writing, that because there is no problem with the script. But, the fact that I have shown a gay character as an army man is illegal," he added.
Onir has also been sharing his thoughts through a series of tweets.
Good night beautiful people.I retire for the night with a heavy heart.That as a film maker one cannot tell a story of unrequited love, that seeks for empathy, dignity & acceptance of the #lgbtqi community. Till we see that light I celebrate with a 2002 film from Israel pic.twitter.com/VkQwJPNE0I— অনির Onir اونیر ओनिर he/him (@IamOnir) January 21, 2022
In a letter addressed to the Mumbai office of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the defence ministry had requested filmmakers to seek a NOC when dealing with subjects or characters related to the defence forces.
The letter said, “It has been brought to the ministry’s notice that some production houses, making films on army themes, are using content which are distorting the image of Indian army. Therefore, the producers of movies/webseries etc based on Army theme may be advised to obtain the NOC from Ministry of Defence before the telecast of any movie/documentary on Army theme in public domain. They may also be advised to ensure that any incident which distorts the image of Defence Forces or hurts their sentiments may be prevented.”