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Onir speaks on You and I

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Young filmmaker Onir has been in news for last 2 years, regardless of the reasons. First it was his critically acclaimed film My Brother Nikhil and later Bas Ek Pal that got mixed reactions but didn't do well at the box office. Still the spirit of this director hasn't died down as he tries to get his cast in place for his next film You and I. In the meanwhile awards and acclaim continue to stream in for him!

There seems to be lot of confusion around Karisma Kapoor signing your next You and I. Do you want to set the records straight?
[Has a hearty laugh] Yes, I know there has been a lot of confusion and all around speculations since I hadn't gone on record so far. There were talks, positive ones at that, but then nothing can be considered concrete till it's on paper. I would say that the talks are still on and if things go as per the plans, the shooting would begin soon too.

So what is You and I about?
It is a romantic film with water adventure as its backdrop. The film is certainly different from the kind of work I have done so far and it is definitely not about homosexuals! Yes, there are some issues that are being raised in the film but they run in the backdrop. You can't really take away my style of movie making here [smiles]. It is about this female who has a past which is revealed at the later moments in the film. The script of the film is quite sensitive though the film is fully mainstream.

How do you plan to take forward this film?
First and foremost I would be producing the film too. Yes, it is scary to be a producer but then I want to make this film independently, hence the decision to turn a producer. It would be made on a medium budget and would be most likely shot at a stretch in Fiji or Mauritius where we can film the water rafting sequences, something that is integral to the plot of the film and has to be presented on a big scale.

Meanwhile awards seem to be coming over to you on quite a regular basis.
[Laughs] Yeah, it indeed feels good. Triangle Media Group which is UK based has recognized numerous Indian celebrities for their contribution to varied fields like cinema, fashion and literature and me and Sanjay Suri have been chosen to be placed in the Top 50 hot list of 2006/07 in the category of 'Film, Theatre&Drama' section.

Were you really expecting it?
Yes, I was though one can't be too sure about that. I was informed a few days back about the short listing bit but the moment of being truly happy was when the actual announcement came. There are other people in the list too like Madhur Bhandarkar, M Night Syamalan, Pan Nalin and Sonali Kulkarni.

Do you and Sanjay Suri get this award mainly for Bas Ek Pal or My Brother Nikhil?
No, it is not for one movie in particular. It is in fact one's contribution of cinema as a whole. This is why you also find other notable personalities like Farah Khan&Shabana Azmi who have been honored with the Global Ambassador's Honorary Award. What is also worthwhile is that Late Kalpana Chawla too gets a special mention.

Having said that, accolades are still coming in for My Brother Nikhil. I would shortly be attending IFFI in Slovenia where the film would be screened. Then in March, we go to Cape town for a film festival. It would be 2 years since the film came but it continues to be in the thick of the things. [Chuckles] I think it won't be wrong to say that the film has perhaps been the most traveled Indian film in international film festivals.

Talking about Bas Ek Pal, have you settled down with the fact that it was a no-show at the box office?
True, I was disturbed in the beginning but later it started sinking in. Having said that, it did get better reviews than some of the big films that have released in the recent past and flopped. Also, I am not ashamed of it as a film. I think I have moved on as a film maker since My Brother Nikhil. I have improved in terms of technique which is another positive factor I am happy about. I will never say that the film was flawless; of course it would be quite wrong on my part to say so. From BO point of view, the film was okay in North though I have to admit that it was a disaster in Mumbai.

So what went wrong?
Three things primarily. One, it was a bit complicated when you think from an audience point of view. It could have been simpler. Two, its end should have been handled better; a little more craft should have gone into designing the entire culmination of the story. What was presented in the end was somewhat hurried. Three, it should have been shorter by 15 minutes at least!
Have any positives come out of the film?
First and foremost I am happy for the response the film's DVD has been getting. In addition, the website of the film is quite active due to its interactive appeal due to which I am still getting a lot of emails on a regular basis. [Laughs] Though good or bad, there still are reactions to the film which is good in a way!

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