Independent filmmakers are being wiped out in India: Onir

Panaji: ‘My Brother Nikhil’ director Onir, who is in Goa to look for producers for his next film project ‘Shab’ (Night), feels that the corporate system in Bollywood is wiping out independent cinema in India.

The filmmaker, who raised money for his ambitious project `I Am` through Facebook where 400 members from over 30 countries participated, feels that the future of independent cinema will be safe only with direct audience involvement right from the inception of a film.

"The direct audience participation is a big statement in today`s world. It is first of its kind. Corporates make it difficult for independent films like this. They are willing to lose 60 crores in a big budget film but the same budget can fund 20 good, original films. Independent filmmakers are being wiped out by these corporate houses," Onir told PTI.

The director said that the government should come forward to help good independent projects. "I am not saying that big budget films should not exist but there should be a balance between the two kinds of cinema. It needs nurturing. I am lucky that without any corporate support I have completed my fourth film," he added.

The director once again returns to his pet subject with `Shab`, which delves into human psyche and the darkness of human mind.

"I am developing my new film `Shab` now with NFDC film bazaar script lab in association with Binger Film lab, Amsterdam. I was recently in Locarno working on the script with my mentor Martin Robarts. It is most amazing to work with him. The project is currently in its final stage of scripting. I am looking for funding and co-production at this stage because it is very difficult to get funding for this kind of project in India," said Onir.

"The film is set in Delhi; it is edgy, dark and complex relationship story with four characters. They all are leading a double life and all of a sudden their mask comes off," he added.

Meanwhile, Onir is planning to release `I Am` in February next year. The director, alongwith actor-producer Sanjay Suri attended the NFDC film bazaar.

"We have been talking to many people. We have a lot of positive response, let`s see what happens," said Onir, who was seen chatting with producers from different countries.

Suri too confirmed that he had met with several producers at the bazaar but said the talks were in initial stages.

Onir will begin pre-production of `Shab` in March next year after releasing `I Am`, a film with four different stories starring Manisha Koirala, Juhi Chawla, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Rahul Bose and Suri.

"I have merged four stories together but the characters from one go into other like an arch. You can find your way with the stories but it is one story. Sometime you see references of one story in another. I have set it in pan-Indian milieu. I have used six languages Marathi, Kannad, Kashmiri and others in the film.

"It was one of the most difficult film for me because it was like making four different films with four different locations, actors and crew," he said.