Discussions about how queer individuals play roles in mainstream movies have been on the table for a long time. While a certain percentage still find it uncomfortable to do so, some are open to normalizing the practice.
One such person in the industry is filmmaker O’Neal, who was earlier recognized for films such as “I Am” and “My Brother Nikhil.” He is now one step ahead and has courted Vidur Sethi – a queer man living in Delhi – for his next project called Pine Cone. It also marks Vidur’s debut in Bollywood, covering an intriguing storyline of a journey spanning a decade and all the romances collected along the way.
In a conversation with The Times of India, Onir talked about his idea of playing a queer man, sharing: “I really wanted to cast a queer actor because the film shows the relationship between a gay couple. The tender romance. Working with queer actors can bring experiences that accompany rich scenes and films. They celebrate their aspirations and are not ashamed of it.”
Vidur added: “There’s a lot of sanitization that happens when showing stories about queer people. I told him you don’t have to worry because I’m a queer person and I understand” the demands of being an entertainer. I told him that I understood the need to show the romance between two people in a way that actually happened. It’s not just some scenes, but a complete romance. “
When asked if he felt uncomfortable filming an absolutely uncensored film, Vidul added, “I told him that I saw not only my queerness in terms of sex and gender, but also the future. Imagine, it unlocks the existence of diversity.”
Onir went on to say that he was glad he didn’t know Vidur’s sexuality before joining him, “I’m kind of glad I didn’t know Vidur’s sexuality before casting him, even though I was always looking for a good queer male lead. . But I think as a filmmaker I don’t want to force anyone out because it’s a brutal industry and I don’t want their careers to be threatened.”
When asked if Vidur was afraid of taking such a risk and being stereotyped in the first film, he said: “Earlier actors who used to play villains would get similar offers from other filmmakers because they seemed best suited for this Characters. Same goes for any kind of first outing. So, I might be stereotyped, but I’m not scared and I can’t.”