The Ministry of Defense rejected the scenario of a film showing a gay soldier in the Indian army. National award-winning filmmaker Onir said his screenplay, inspired by a two-year-old NDTV interview with a gay major who left the service, was ‘very respectful of the military’ and not a ‘salacious story’ , but was rejected as it shows a homosexual soldier.
Referring to “I Am”, his 2010 anthology which won two national awards, he said he was discouraged at being able to show homosexuality and police abuse of gay characters even when homosexuality was criminalized, but now his movie is script-stopped even after the Supreme Court decriminalized same-sex relationships, and the story is also inspired by something that’s already in the public domain.
“I realized that despite the Supreme Court’s verdict, the military did not recognize it and would still treat anyone from the queer community as illegal. That was the word used. And I thought that was a speech that ‘it had to be had. It’s a story that needs to be told,’ he told NDTV, adding that he created a fictional story about a gay man in the military who couldn’t be himself. , so he had to leave the army, to be honest with himself. “It’s really, really sad that in 2020, after 75 years of independence, being queer doesn’t allow you to serve the nation you love, in the military. That right can’t be denied and shouldn’t be denied. to anyone,” says the filmmaker.
Major J Suresh (Retired), whose interview inspired the film, says the department should rethink its position on this issue. He said the military needs to keep up with the times and review its policies so as not to commit injustice because it “isn’t known for that”.
“The courage of conviction that I grew up with was partly ingrained in me by my upbringing in a military environment. My father was in the force and I also served in the army. So this desire to defend something something that is right and something that is the cause of justice or fairness was largely inspired by my exposure to the military, which has always stood for the right thing,” the retired officer said. at NDTV.
Any film or TV/web show with content relating to the defense forces must obtain authorization from the Ministry of Defense, otherwise it will not be certified.
“On December 16, I officially applied with my script, which I think treats everything with great dignity and respect…I have great love and respect for the Indian Army. The day before yesterday , that’s when I received the email and was told that the content had been reviewed, analyzed and rejected,” Onir said.
The filmmaker is consulting with lawyers to determine next steps, but says that as an independent filmmaker, it’s not really his job to go to court. “As a filmmaker, my job is also to engage in dialogues and to use my medium to question institutions. I am denied even the opportunity to have a dialogue,” he said.