Onir's talk on LGBTQ issue at Bhopal Lit Fest cancelled over security reasons 'as it may ruin event': They don’t want...

Jan 14, 2023 04:44 PM IST

Here's why Onir's session at the Bhopal Lit Fest (BLF) at the event, was cancelled. Onir was scheduled to talk on LGBTQ issues on the opening day of the event.

A member of the organizing team of the ongoing Bhopal Lit Fest (BLF) revealed why a talk on LGBTQ issues by filmmaker Onir Dhar, at the event, was cancelled. As per a new report, the member said on Saturday that it was cancelled as a group threatened to stage a protest. (Also Read | Besharam Rang row: Onir asks if ‘now goons will decide what we watch’)

Onir's session at the Bhopal Lit Fest (BLF) at the event was cancelled.
Onir's session at the Bhopal Lit Fest (BLF) at the event was cancelled.

Earlier on Thursday, Onir took to Twitter and shared the news. The filmmaker also posted a photo of himself. “Shocked and Sad that an event I was really looking forward to speaking at had to drop me. Apparently, there was a group threatening protest and violence and the police told the organisers that they cannot guarantee my safety. So, they cancelled the event. Let me process this...," he said in a tweet.

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Writer-journalist Abhilash Khandekar, a member of the organising committee, said that they were told by "government sources" that security issues could arise due to Onir's presence. "It is obvious that any author should be sad in such a situation, but we were told by government sources that they do not want this kind of author (Onir's) in Bharat Bhawan due to security reasons as it may ruin the event. We respect freedom of speech. Therefore, we had invited Onir Dhar to the BLF,” he told news agency PTI.

Abhilash said they thought it was better to cancel his session rather than cancelling the entire festival. “Even RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has recently spoken on the LGBTQ issue. The Lit Fest organised by the Centre in Shimla last year also had sessions on this subject. So, when we were told that a question of his safety and security can arise in Bhopal, we requested Dhar (about agreeing to cancellation). Someone suggested that police can be called, but we believe police should not be there in a literature festival...," Abhilash added.

Abhilash added that the organizers want to put Bhopal on the country's literary map. The Ministry of External Affairs has supported the BLF -- organized by a private group -- officially, he added. The BLF started at Bharat Bhawan, a government-owned arts complex in Bhopal, on Friday. Onir was scheduled to speak on the opening day.

Onir made his directorial debut with My Brother Nikhil in 2005. The film starred Sanjay Suri and Juhi Chawla among others. My Brother Nikhil has received several awards. In 2006, he released his second film Bas Ek Pal. The film featured Urmila Matondkar, Sanjay Suri and Jimmy Shergill. He made several other films such as Sorry Bhai, I Am, Shab, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz. In 2018, Onir directed a documentary Widows Of Vrindavan.

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