Books

Penguin To Publish The Memoir Of Award-Winning Film-Maker Onir

Penguin Random House India are delighted to announce the acquisition of the intimate and dramatic memoirs of award-winning film-maker Onir. The book will be released in 2022 under the Viking imprint.

Craftsman extraordinaire, Onir shares his fascinating journey in this book, co-written with his sister, Irene Dhar Malik, an award-winning film editor, screenwriter and short-story writer. He narrates deeply personal experiences, laying bare the struggles and triumphs that moulded him on his path to success. He offers readers a rare glimpse of his life, from his childhood days in Bhutan to when he was a young man with no connections in the Hindi film industry and later when he faced especially turbulent times. From the beginning of his career, Onir bravely asserted his sexual identity in a conservative, competitive environment. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, he dreamt big and fought hard to carve a niche for himself.

Onir writes about his creative process and the off-beat films he has chosen to make, how by drawing on his life he confronted and transcended frontiers, to be ultimately rewarded with admiration and worldwide critical acclaim. The book also offers exclusive behind-the-scenes views of the making of some of his most popular films.

Onir is today one of the few in the industry who are confidently and openly queer, making him an inspiring figure for India’s youth. This exhilarating, moving book will encourage many to look beyond their shackles and follow their heart.

Thinking back on the inspiration for the book, Onir says, ‘I was initially a little hesitant about it, thought that it is perhaps too early to be writing my memoir. But I then realized that there are so many youngsters who message me about being afraid to pursue their dreams, be it about their career choices and beliefs, or about accepting and asserting their identity in terms of gender and sexuality. I hope my journey resonates with some of them and helps them live their dreams.’

Talking about the process, Irene says, ‘It’s been a rather unusual and exciting experience for me to co-write my brother’s memoir, but I was perhaps best suited for the job, having been around since the time Onir was born! We have had fun remembering stories from our childhood, even as we also went over some painful times, tried to put things in perspective, and corrected each other’s memory lapses. Along the way, also came the realization that his has been quite an incredible journey, and I’m glad that we’re documenting it.’

Richa Burman, Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘Onir’s story is unlike any other in the Hindi film industry. Through this much-needed memoir, commissioned by Kanishka Gupta of Writer’s Side Literary Agency, Onir’s admirers will get to see up-close the sensitive, thoughtful man behind all the glitter and the glory. Co-written with his accomplished sister, Irene, this book is sure to tug at your heartstrings.’

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