Joined: 25 January 2008
An aspiring actor and director Onir of My Brother Nikhil fame in a face-off over an intimate encounter that brings the industry's taboo subject out in the open
Posted On Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 04:36:08 AM
One of the seldom-discussed aspects of the film industry's casting couch syndrome is the exploitation of young men by a clique of powerful men who are gay. But in a first, an aspiring young actor, who recently acted in a film based on the theme of homosexual love, has alleged that he was molested by film director Onir.|
It's a charge the director forcefully denies, giving compelling reasons to suggest that his encounter with the actor was by mutual consent.
However, the nature of this public allegation has created a stir in scandal-saturated Bollywood. Largely this is due to Onir's reputation as a filmmaker of sensitive films like My Brother Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal and Sorry Bhai!. He is also one of the few directors who are out in an industry that is surprisingly coy on the subject.
Ranged against him is a 28-year-old struggling actor Yuvraj Parashar from Agra. Parashar got his break in a recently-released film Dunno Y-Naa Jaane Kyu which strangely featured the likes of Zeenat Aman and had Lata Mangeshkar warbling its title song, Dunnowhy…naajaanekuuu. Indeed! The film was a box-office fiasco.
Undaunted by that Parashar decided to show his work to directors like Onir and Madhur Bhandarkar, in the hope of finding new work. "I approached these guys because they have made senstitive films dealing with similar themes and so they wouldn't outright dismiss my film," he says.
While Bhandarkar pleaded a hectic schedule, Onir invited him to his Versova flat after a discussion on facebook.
"I landed at his home on Tuesday night at 10.45 and we started watching the film on his DVD in the living room." From thereon, the story takes a lurid turn with Parashar alleging that the director first plied him with several drinks and then sat too close for comfort.
"He must've made me drink about six-seven glasses of wine after which he suddenly put the film on pause and told me, 'Let's go and sit in the bedroom as the system there is much better.
I walked into the bedroom with him to watch the movie-he played the movie and then suddenly pounced on me." The strapping actor who unhesitatingly exposes the bite mark on his chest as a result of that alleged attack claims he was too stunned to react. "I am in pain and I feel nauseated at the thought of what I had to go through on Tuesday."
Next morning Onir sent him a text message enquiring about his hickeys. He also tweeted about an interview he'd given to the news agency IANS in which he spoke about films based on homosexuality and where he made a special mention of Yuvraj Parashar and Dunno Y.
When asked about Parashar's allegations the stricken director admits to a sexual encounter with the actor but emphatically denies any coercion. "It was Yuvraj who started flirting with me so I flirted back. What happened that night was mutual. Does he have any proof that I forced myself on him? And if I did, he is a big man and I am five foot nothing, why did he not push me away, why did he not slap me?"
"He is only taking advantage of my sexual identity to gain publicity. Besides this will cut me from forging friendships, which is not fair to me.
Parashar says that if need be he would go to the police but he wants to make an example of this so that young, gullible men like him are not exploited any further. "I just wanted him to see the film because he has made films on the issue. Somebody who was propagating the issue in cinema is exploiting newcomers in real life!''
A tearful Onir claims that Parashar sent him a message wishing him a good morning the next day and that wouldn't have been the case had there been coercion.
"In fact just before leaving my house he asked me, 'I am drunk, should I drive back home?' and I told him if he wished he could crash at my place.''
Parashar who strenuously denies that he is making these allegations to gain publicity says it will impact his family adversely back home in Agra and also his chances in Bollywood. "I know that my speaking out thus may go against me, but after this incident I want to speak out for those who are being exploited but don't have the courage to go public about this issue."
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