Onir recalls funny anecdote when asked about offering gay movie to Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan

Director Onir talked about Bollywood stars hesitating to portray gay characters, emphasising the irony of their comfort playing criminals or rapists on screen.

Published on Feb 21, 2024  |  01:44 PM IST |  50.4K
Picture Courtesy: Onir/Instagram

Renowned director Onir, recognised for his distinctive contributions to Hindi cinema, recently spoke about the reluctance of Bollywood actors to portray gay characters on screen, contrasting it with their readiness to take on roles as rapists and murderers.

In a recent interview, he commended the work of Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in the groundbreaking film Fire. Onir observed a hesitancy among heterosexual actors, particularly males when depicting intimacy in gay roles. He highlighted that even in a simple kiss, there is often a lack of passion and a noticeable reluctance.

Onir talks about actors playing queer characters

In an interview with Siddharth Kanan, the director expressed his dismay at this mindset, Onir noted that actors fear playing queer characters due to concerns about public perception. He remarked, "They aren’t ashamed to play rapists, they aren’t ashamed to play murderers, but to play a beautiful gay person they’re afraid. Their mentality hasn’t evolved." Drawing a contrast with Hollywood, he pointed out that many prominent actors there have successfully portrayed queer characters, showcasing a more evolved approach.

Onir on pitching a gay story to SRK or Salman Khan

Asked if he would ever pitch a queer-themed film to someone like Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan, Onir recalled a humorous anecdote about pitching one such film to a ‘big star’. He said, “When I see Mammootty play a gay man, I feel so proud, because at least the Kerala film industry is opening up. I remember a few years ago I had approached one of the big stars because I wanted to do a gay version of Hamlet. When I was narrating the story to him, he nearly fell off the sofa and asked, ‘How could you imagine I would be gay?'”


Onir emphasized that, despite occasional feelings of being overlooked, he has never experienced disrespect in the film industry. He shed light on the industry's struggle to embrace diverse narratives and the need for a more inclusive and progressive mindset, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in cinema.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Saif Ali Khan on reuniting with Excel after Dil Chahta Hai: ‘I play a firefighter in Fire’

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Drenched in the vibrant hues of Bollywood, Rajni Singh is an entertainment journalist with 3 years of experience in the


Credits: Indian Express

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