Onir Wiki, Age, Wife, Family, Biography & More



Onir is a renowned Indian filmmaker, who directs, edits, writes scripts, and produces films and TV shows. His notable work includes the 2005 film “My Brother…Nikhil,” which sheds light on the life of Dominic d’Souza, an Indian AIDS activist. The film features Sanjay Suri and Purab Kohli and is one of the early Hindi films that deals with AIDS and same-sex relationships.


Anirban Dhar was born on Thursday, 1 May 1969 (age 54 years; as of 2023) in Thimphu, Bhutan. His zodiac sign is Taurus.

A childhood picture of Onir (in his father’s lap)

In 1984, he completed his high school education at Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School in Thimphu, Bhutan, and earned senior secondary school education at Motithang Higher Secondary School in Thimphu, Bhutan. His family moved to Kolkata, India, from Thimpu, Bhutan, in 1986. From 1986 to 1989, he pursued a BA in Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, West Bengal. While pursuing his higher studies in Kolkata, he simultaneously attended film classes at Chitrabani Film School.

Onir during his college days at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal

In 1991, he completed an advanced editing diploma at SFB/TTC, Berlin. In a media conversation, Onir once revealed that he was born in a small village in Bhutan to Bengali parents. As a child, he watched classic films with his mother, who was a film enthusiast. During those days, Bhutan had no television.

A young Onir

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 4″

Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper

Eye Colour: Black


Parents & Siblings

His father’s name is Aparesh Dhar, and his mother’s name is Manjushree Dhar. His parents used to work as a teacher. His brother, Abhishek Dhar, is a theoretical physicist, and his sister, Irene Dhar Malik, is a film and television editor.

Onir (standing extreme left) posing with his father (sitting), mother (sitting middle), sister (in pink clothes; sitting extreme right), brother (in maroon shirt; standing), sister-in-law (in white top), brother-in-law (in white shirt), and nieces (in yellow and red dresses)


He is unmarried.

Sexual Orientation

Onir is one of the few openly gay filmmakers in the Hindi film industry.


Upon completing his education, Onir returned to Kolkata from Berlin and used the scholarship money to make a documentary about the leftist painter, Bijan Choudhury, titled ‘Fallen Hero.’ Later, he worked in various roles in Mumbai, such as art director, editor, and music album director. Onir gained his first experience directing a full-length feature film while working as an assistant to Kalpana Lajmi on the movie “Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence” in 2001. He got the idea for his first film while working on a documentary about Dominic D’Souza, a champion swimmer and AIDS patient in Goa. “My Brother… Nikhil,” Onir’s debut film, was released in 2005, starring Sanjay Suri and Juhi Chawla. It highlights the situations of AIDS patients in the 1980s who faced harsh treatment from the Goa government and societal stigma. The film was screened at various international festivals and won numerous awards, including the Audience Choice Awards in Milan and the LGBT Film Festival, as well as the Best Film & Jury Audience Choice Award at the Montreal Image+nation Film Festival.

The poster of the film ‘My Brother Nikhil’ (2005)

In 2006, Onir made his second movie titled “Bas Ek Pal,” which starred Urmila Matondkar, Sanjay Suri, and Jimmy Shergill. Even though he got nominated for the Best Director Critic’s Award at the Global Indian Film Awards, the movie did not do great at the box office.

The poster of the film ‘Bas Ek Pal’

His 2007 film “Sorry Bhai!” was released during the week of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai; hence, faced difficulties and did not perform well at the box office.

The poster of the film ‘Sorry Bhai’

In 2009, Onir released his eighth movie called “I Am,” which included four short films discussing topics like single motherhood, displacement, child abuse, and same-sex relationships. “I Am” won the National Award in two categories: Best Film and Best Lyrics. It also received the I-VIEW 2010s Engendered Award in New York for an Outstanding Contribution.

The poster of the film ‘I Am’

In 2005, Onir and Indian actor Sanjay Suri started Anticlock Films, a production company that helps young directors. The company has helped filmmakers like Bikas Ranjan Mishra, who directed Chauranga, a movie available on Netflix India in 2014.

The poster of the film production company ‘Anticlock Films’

In 2016, Onir made a documentary called “Raising the Bar,” which tells the stories of six young people with Down syndrome from India and Australia. The film won the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Award.

The poster of the film ‘Raising the Bar’ (2016)

In 2017, he released his fifth movie, “Shab (The Night),” starring actors Raveena Tandon, Ashish Bisht, Arpita Chatterjee, and French actor Simon Frenay. The movie premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival and was also shown at other events, like the River to River Indian Film Festival in Florence and the Melbourne Indian Film Festival.

The poster of the film Shab (The Night) (2017)

Onir’s sixth film, “Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz,” released in 2018, starred National Award-winning actor Geetanjali Thapa and introduced Kashmiri actor Zain Khan Durrani. The film won the Audience Choice Award at the Jagaran Film Festival and was screened at several other festivals.

The poster of the film ‘Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz’

Onir then directed a documentary in 2018 called “Widows of Vrindavan,” which won the Best Documentary Award at the Jagran Film Festival and was later screened at the Stuttgart Indian Film Festival and Melbourne Indian Film Festival in 2019.

The poster of the documentary film ‘Widows of Vrindavan’

In 2021, Onir directed a documentary titled “SAMA: Symbols and Gestures in Contemporary Art of Italy and India,” which explored contemporary art in the Indian sub-continent and Italy. The documentary offered a glimpse into the aesthetics of the two regions and investigated the signs and symbols surrounding them in history and culture. The film also explored rare forms of craftsmanship.

The poster of the documentary film ‘SAMA’

In 2022, he released the film “Pine Cone,” which had its first showing at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. It also premiered in Australia at the “Indian Film Festival of Melbourne” and won the “Rainbow Stories Award.”

The poster of the film ‘Pine Cone’

In 2023, Onir shared on his social media that he was creating a web series for SonyLiv about the Pulwama Attack, based on Rahul Pandita’s book. He also mentioned that he was working on a follow-up to his 2011 National Award-winning movie “I Am,” and it’s called “We Are.”

Literary Work

In 2022, Onir, along with his sister, Irene Dhar Malik, co-wrote the book “I Am Onir and I Am Gay.” The book was released by Penguin Viking.

The poster of the book ‘I Am Onir and I Am Gay’ by Onir

Awards & Honours

  • In 2005, he received the Best Film (Jury) and Best Film (Audience) awards at Montreal (Image+ Nation film festival), Best Director award at The Saathi Rainbow Film Awards, Kolkatta, and Best Director/Producer award at TMG Global Awards for the film “My Brother…Nikhil.”
  • In 2006, he won the Best Film (Audience) award at the 20th Milan International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival for the film “My Brother…Nikhil.”
  • In 2010, he was honoured with the Triangle Media Group Honorary award and the Best Film awards at both the London Asian Film Festival and the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival. He also received the IRDS film awards for Best Director for Social Concern.
  • In 2011, he won the Best Hindi Feature Film award at National Awards, Best Director award at Jagran Film Festival, Best Film at London Asian Film Festival, NETPAC Award – Best in Asian Cinema and Special Mention – International Jury at IFFK 2010, Best Narrative Feature award at KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, Best Film (Audience) award at River to River Film Festival, Florence, 2010, Engendered Award for Outstanding Contribution award at I-VIEW, 2010, for the film “I Am.”
  • In 2018, he was felicitated with the Likho Award, also known as the Trailblazer Award.
  • In 2019, he received the Diversity Award from Film Victoria Australia and La Trobe University at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
  • In 2022, Onir received the Rainbow Warrior Award for his semi-autobiographical film “Pine Cone.”
  • In 2023, he won the “Trailblazing Award” at the Samabhav Travelling International Film Festival in Bhutan for the film “Pine Cone.”


  • Films: Pedro Almodóvar’s “All about My Mother” (1999), Luis Buñuel’s “Belle De Jour” (1967), Ritwik Ghatak’s “Meghe Dhaka Tara” (1960)
  • Character: Michel Poiccard from Jean- Luc Godard’s “À bout de souffle (Breathless)” (1960)


  • He follows a non-vegetarian diet.
  • Once, in a media discussion, Onir shared that he decided to become a filmmaker after watching Shyam Benegal’s 1979 film “Junoon.” He added that “Junoon” strongly influenced him.
  • Onir received a Jury Special mention for Outstanding work on LGBT Issues at the Indus Valley International Film Festival in October 2020.
  • According to Onir, his favourite film directors are Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, Luis Buñuel, and Andrei Tarkovsky. During a media talk, Onir once mentioned that he admired Indian actress Madhuri Dixit and enjoyed the work of actors Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan. Onir also shared that he liked European cinema more than Hollywood and appreciated actors like Tom Hanks, Belmondo, and Colin Farrell from Hollywood.
  • Onir is skilled in Bengali, English, German, Hindi, Nepali, Oriya, Russian, and Tamil languages.
  • Onir enjoys travelling to distant places, hiking, cycling, and swimming in his free time.

    Onir while enjoying holidays

  • He is a fitness enthusiast and regularly goes to the gym. He frequently uploads videos and pictures of his workout sessions on various social media platforms.

    Onir while working out at a gym

  • He is often spotted enjoying alcoholic beverages on various occasions.

    Onir while enjoying an alcoholic beverage

  • Onir often delivers speeches and lectures on various global motivational speaking platforms.

    Onir while delivering a lecture at TEDx

  • During one media conversation, he once shared the story of how he realized he was gay. He said,

    Initially, I was falling in love with women. But around 11th standard, I realised, I was attracted to men. By the time I moved to Mumbai, around the age of 21, I kind of knew. When I told my sister, “I think I am gay,” she just responded with “Okay.” It was that cool and that easy. Even with my parents, it was never difficult.”

    A picture of Onir