The script of a film showing a gay soldier in the Indian Army has been rejected by the defence ministry, NDTV reported.
National award-winning filmmaker Onir said that his script, inspired by a gay Major who quit the service, was “very respectful of the army” and not some “salacious story” but got rejected as it shows a homosexual soldier.
Referring to “I Am”, his 2010 anthology that won two national awards, he said that he was disheartened that he could show homosexuality and police abuse of gay characters even when homosexuality was criminalised, but now his film is being stopped at the script level even after the Supreme Court has decriminalised same-sex relations, and the story is also inspired from something that’s already in the public domain.
“I realised that despite the Supreme Court verdict, the army did not recognise it and would still treat anyone from the queer community as illegal. That was the word used. And I thought this was a discourse that needs to be had. This is a story that has to be told,” he told NDTV, adding that he created a fictitious story about a gay man in the army who is not being able to be himself so he has to quit the army, to be honest to himself. “It is really, really sad that in 2020, after 75 years of our independence, being queer does not allow you to serve the nation that you love, in the army. That right cannot be denied and should not be denied to anybody,” the filmmaker said.
“On December 16, I formally applied with my script, which I think treats everything with a lot of dignity and respect…I have a lot of love and respect for the Indian Army. The day before yesterday is when I got the email and I was told that the content has been examined and analysed and rejected,” Onir said.
The filmmaker is consulting lawyers to figure out the next steps but says as an independent filmmaker, it’s not really his job to go to courts. “As a filmmaker, my job is also to start dialogues and to use my medium to question institutions. I’m being denied the possibility of even having a dialogue,” he said.