New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) Filmmaker Onir has said he is not an offbeat director and has been unfairly labelled as one.

The 48-year-old National Award-winner, who is known for his films like “My Brother… Nikhil” and “I Am”, said all his work till now has been mainstream.

“I’ve been wrongly slotted as an art-house director. I think I don’t make art-house films. Neither ‘My Brother…

Nikhil’ nor ‘Sorry Bhai!’ or ‘Bas Ek Pal’ are art-house.

“But somehow, because of the content, I have been bracketed as art-house. The way I use music, the narratives, all have been mainstream,” Onir told reporters here.

The filmmaker, who was in the capital to promote his upcoming venture “Shab”, said he lacks the skill to create art cinema.

“I don’t think I have the capability or the skills of a real art-house filmmaker. I make mainstream films but with content that has some semblance to reality and that’s what is tagged as art-house.”

“Shab” is Onir’s first script that he wrote in 2000 when he served as an editor on Kalpana Lajmi’s “Daman” but it took him 17 long years to bring his maiden project onscreen.

He added that he originally wanted to cast Raveena Tandon and Sanjay Suri in the film.

“I wrote the script in 2000, I met Sanjay and Raveena for the first time on the sets of ‘Daman’. I had a lot of ideas and Sanjay encouraged me to write the script. It took so much time. I ended up making other films but ‘Shab’ was not happening.

“And I wanted to do the film with them. So, when I restarted the project, I went back to them. But I told them, I wanted them to play a different role now. Sanjay said he was there when the film was born, so I didn’t need to convince him. He was onboard again as producer. Also, Raveena already knew about the script of the movie, so it wasn’t difficult to have her back,” Onir said.

“Shab” has been chosen to open the Westpac Indian Film Festival in Sydney on July 18 and close the Indian Film Festival Melbourne on July 22.

Onir said, it is still a struggle for independent filmmakers to release their films at home, even after showcasing them at various international festivals.

“It is difficult to get theatres with the right timings and reach out to the public at the same time. It’s way beyond the control of independent filmmakers,” he said.

Also featuring debutant Ashish Bisht, Bengali actress Arpita Chatterjee and French actor Simon Frenay, “Shab” releases this Friday.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.