A ‘big star’ nearly fell off sofa after being offered gay Hamlet, says Onir: ‘Bollywood actors aren’t ashamed to play rapists, but…’ | Bollywood News – DollarJob

A ‘big star’ nearly fell off sofa after being offered gay Hamlet, says Onir: ‘Bollywood actors aren’t ashamed to play rapists, but…’ | Bollywood News

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Director Onir, who has carved a niche for himself in the Hindi film industry, said that most Bollywood actors are terrified of playing gay characters in cinema, although they would happily play rapists and murders. In an interview, he also recalled a narration that he gave to a big star for an adaptation of Hamlet, but with a gay twist.

Praising the work of Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in the landmark film Fire, he said in an interview with Siddharth Kannan, “Heterosexual actors, when they do gay roles, are very tentative in their portrayal of intimacy. Especially male actors. Even if it’s a kiss, there’s no passion. They’re very reluctant. A lot of actors even tell me that they wouldn’t have a problem doing intimate scenes with women. It’s acting, you’re not supposed to enjoy it.”

Also read – ‘Karan Johar wept in the editing room, recommended the film to Aditya Chopra’: Onir recalls journey with My Brother Nikhil

He said that actors are fearful to play queer characters on screen, because they’re worried about what people might say. “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. If you look at Hollywood, the biggest actors have played queer characters,” he said.

Asked if he would ever pitch a queer-themed film to someone like Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan, Onir recalling 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?’”

Festive offer

Onir said that he also wanted to make a biopic of the late queer filmmaker Riyad Wadia, and he even had his family’s blessing. But he couldn’t get an actor to sign on; they’d either tell him that they were busy, or politely decline. Onir emphasised that he has never been disrespected by anybody in the film industry, even if he might feel overlooked and ignored.

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