Renowned filmmaker Onir Dhar's talk session on “Making Literature LGBTQ Neutral” got cancelled at the Bhopal Literature Festival over alleged threats of protest against such topics or the queer artiste being made part of the event.
Condemning the act, Dhar, the director of 'My Brother...Nikhil', took to Twitter to express his dismay over his sessions getting dropped from the festival. "Shocked and Sad that an event I was really looking forward to speaking at had to drop me. Apparently, there was a group threatening protest and violence and the police told the organisers that they cannot guarantee my safety. So they cancelled the event. Let me process this..."
Speaking to Free Press Journal, a member of the organising team of the Literature Festival said that the session was cancelled over safety concerns. He admitted to having received information via oral communication from the state government that there could be a probable protest around the queer discussion.
In a previous interview with Outlook India, the renowned director-producer-screenwriter Onir talked about queerness on and off the screen, the problem of representation in mainstream Indian cinema, his recently published memoir, and what inspires him to tell stories he has been expounding throughout his stint so far.
"I don’t think India’s mainstream cinema is ready yet. They are yet to figure out what these things are about. I mean, do you really need a script consultant to make a film about a gay character? It is ironic when people tell me, 'Onir, how can we understand LGBT community?' I did not attend a workshop to discover my identity and myself. It is simple, be empathetic and kind, you will understand everything," he said while explaining whether our mainstream Indian cinema is yet ready to accept films which portray queerness in its purest forms.