Onir recently released his memoir, titled 'I Am Onir & I Am Gay'. Co-written by his sister Irene Dhar Malik, the filmmaker in his autobiography has opened up not just about his personal life but also about his journey into the film industry. While everyone is aware that his first film as a director was My Brother Nikhil (2005), not many would know that was given a chance to direct Chameli (2004), starring Kareena Kapoor Khan in a landmark role.
REVEALED: Onir was offered to direct Chameli; says, “Things didn’t work out, possibly because Kareena Kapoor Khan was not keen on working with a new director”
Onir wrote that after working on Kalpana Lajmi’s Daman (2001) and while working on a few films as an editor, he was simultaneously trying to get a break as a director. He had formed a bond with Sanjay Suri while working on Daman and when the actor signed Jhankaar Beats (2003), he asked Onir to come on the set and help debut director Sujoy Ghosh. This is when Onir met Jhankaar Beats' producer, Rangita Nandy. She had observed him on the set and offered him a chance to direct a film for their banner, Pritish Nandy Communications.
Onir agreed and then revealed that he started working on a suspense thriller, Ashq, which was set in Goa. Sanjay Suri and Jimmy Sheirgill were finalized but later, the film got shelved. Onir said that he had recorded the song 'Ek Pal Ke Liye Hi Sahi' with Pritam Chakraborty. With the film being shelved, the music director gave away the song to Ankahee (2006), directed by Vikram Bhatt.
This is when Rangita Nandy offered him to direct Chameli. The film's director, Anant Balani, had passed away due to a heart attack. The film was partly shot, and Onir agreed to complete the film, albeit reluctantly. He wrote, "I half-heartedly agreed and was kind of relieved when things didn't work out, possibly because Kareena was not keen on working with a new director."
Sudhir Mishra later stepped in as a director. As for Onir, he finally released his debut directorial, My Brother Nikhil, around 14 months after the release of Chameli. It starred Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla and Purab Kohli.
More Pages: Chameli Box Office Collection , Chameli Movie Review
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