In the last few years, several films have shown LGBTQ characters and a few of them also got whole-hearted acceptance. Even mainstream flicks have tackled this issue like Kapoor & Sons (2016), Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019), Badhaai Do (2022), etc and it also featured prominent stars as homosexual characters. However, back in 2005, making a film of this kind was a challenge. And an even bigger challenge was to find a buyer. Onir, who made My Brother Nikhil (2005), revealed in his memoir 'I Am Onir & I Am Gay', co-written by his sister Irene Dhar Malik, of the tough times he faced during the release of his debut directorial.
Onir reveals how he was HUMILIATED by UTV Motion Pictures’ management while he was trying to find buyers for My Brother Nikhil
My Brother Nikhil starred Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla and Purab Kohli and was inspired by the life of Dominic D’Souza, who was the first known HIV-positive case in India. The gay-themed film, surprisingly, was passed by the Central Board of Film Certification with a ‘U’ certificate. Simultaneously, Onir and his fellow producers, including Sanjay Suri, decided to look for distributors who can release their film in cinemas. Onir said that the experience was a nightmare.
Onir revealed in the book that he had one of the first screenings of My Brother Nikhil for Shyam Shroff of Shringar Films. However, they didn't find the film appealing. "They were embarrassed and bored by the film and found it too long and too non-commercial for them to get attached for distribution," wrote Onir.
Onir then knocked on the doors of UTV Motion Pictures. He called his experience with the marketing and distribution team a "humiliating" one and that “these people from the corporate world merely saw cinema as a product to sell". Elaborating further, he narrated that the screening of My Brother Nikhil took place in UTV's boardroom with 12 people. During the screening, people were walking in and out of the room to answer phone calls. He also said, "One of the guys gently asked me if I was showing them the rushes of a documentary".
Finally, Onir managed to release My Brother Nikhil after Aditya Chopra’s Yash Raj Films came into the picture.
Also Read: Onir speaks about how he was falsely accused of molestation and the humiliation he faced from police for being gay: “They suggested that I should be kept in a lock-up since I indulge in such SINFUL activity”
More Pages: My Brother Nikhil Box Office Collection
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