INDIA. National Award-winning filmmaker Onir recently took to Twitter and called out Zoya Akhtar’s web series ‘Made In Heaven’ for lifting a few scenes from his 2010 film ‘I Am’. Onir’s tweet came in response to a video that showed a side-by-side comparison between the two titles.
“I was quite taken aback when I saw that so much of that section of I AM was not only there as content but shot exactly in the same way. But acknowledgement has never been the strength of this industry,” he tweeted.
Both the videos depict two gay men getting caught in a private moment by the police. After forcing them out of the car, a police officer is seen sexually harassing one of them. Arjun Mathur features in both the scenes.
Onir revealed that he had raised the concern in 2019 also but most media refused to talk about it. He, however, thanked independent film critic Murtaza Ali Khan for writing about it on his blog.
“I had spoken up in 2019 also.Most media refused to talk about it. @MurtazaCritic did and there was no reaction ,nor outrage. The reason I am doing now is that sometimes there is a momentum and atmosphere when you feel empowered to speak. why is @arrahman or @resulp doing so now,” he further wrote.
Over the years, Onir’s films have always touched upon debates surrounding sexuality in a most sensitive manner. His films have traveled all across the globe, winning prestigious awards at River to River Film Festival (Florence), Milan International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, London Asian Film Festival, Montreal (Image+ Nation film festival), International Film Festival of Kerala, etc.
While ‘My Brother… Nikhil’ focuses on the issue of hardship and humiliation faced by AIDS patients, ‘Bas Ek Pal’ deals with the complexity of human relationships.’ I Am’, on the other hand, is a collection of four short stories exploring themes as diverse as motherhood, homosexuality, and child abuse. The film is currently streaming on Netflix.