All of his films are essentially love stories, believes Onir Image: Twitter
From My Brother…Nikhil to Shab, Onir has always been the raconteur of tales that are issue-driven. So when you see him headlining Kuch Bheege Alfaaz, an outright love story, it feels a bit odd, isn't it?
Well, we may think so, but we're glad we didn't ask Onir the same. "Thank goodness you didn't ask me why did I choose to make a love story like fifty other people I spoke to," Onir let out a sigh of relief after we exchanged pleasantries over a telephonic with the maverick director. "I'm tired of people asking me this. Arrey, haven't all my films have been love stories?" he asks, exasperated.
Kuch Bheege Alfaaz, however, is a bit different from his other films, we probe, but Onir quickly clarifies that instead of looking at it as the story of a boy and a girl, we ought to be looking at it as a story about insecurities. "Social media is essentially a visual medium. Being attractive and liked by someone is determined by how one looks. But here is Archana Pradhan (the female protagonist played by Geetanjali Thapa) who suffers from leucoderma (also known as vitiligo, a skin condition). Is she pretty? Yes. Does she believe that? No," explains Onir.
Love, in the time of social media, is complicated. When you ask the young debutante Zain Khan Durrani, who plays Alfaaz in Kuch Bheege Alfaaz, he will tell you how faster gratification is a blessing. "You can easily connect with the one you love and not wait for a pigeon to deliver your letter," Zain says jokingly.
But it is a double-edged sword, according to Onir. "If social media is just about showing off, one tends to forget who they really are, and in the process, lose themselves. This film tries to explain that only once you love yourself the way you are, do you find true love," he says.
Archana's leucoderma, therefore, is a metaphor for all our insecurities — body issues, language barriers, social standings — and as the film unfolds, one realises that while these issues may not vanish into thin air, they do, as Onir puts it, "become inconsequential eventually".
And isn't this the perfect message to the world slowly being eaten up by the virtual world and all its vices?