Onir faced such tough times convincing Bollywood studios to finance his I Am that he resorted to crowd-funding to make it. But now with the best Hindi film honour at the 59th National Awards, the filmmaker is on top of the world.
"I am overwhelmed. This award has given me a lot of strength. This was the most difficult film to make as studios were not ready to acquire the film. This is a film made by people and this award is for those people who helped in the film," Onir told IANS.
I Am consists of four short, issue-based stories - Omar that talks about gay rights, Afia on sperm donation, Abhimanyu about child abuse and Megha, which relates the tale of Kashmiri Pandits.
Onir used social networking platforms to raise money for the movie. He asked people to give Rs.1,000 or more and be a part of the film if they believed in the stories. That's how around 400 people from 46 cities across the world participated and he managed to raise nearly Rs.10 million.
I Am is Onir's fourth film. His debut film My Brother...Nikhil dealt with AIDS and gay-related issues. This was followed by Bas Ek Pal (2006) and Sorry Bhai! (2008).