Indian Film Director Onir’s Health Diet & Fitness Regime


Indian Film Director Onir’s Health Diet & Fitness Regime

It was a wonderful Monday morning, when I rummaged through my letters, and chanced upon my dear brother’s article on a social networking site – it was an excerpt from an old post, talking about AIDS – a grim reality to which most of us even today choose to stay mum about.

The dear brother I talk about here is Onir an independent filmmaker, a very humble man, and someone who believes in calling ‘A spade a spade’. His movies have transcended the stereotypical notions and norms of society, and especially about relationships – ‘My Brother Nikhil’.

Indian Film Director Onir's Health Diet & Fitness Regime

To be honest, I didn’t sit with a list of questions to talk with Onir – the interview was via phone and I knew that going with the flow would be the best thing to do. Onir has always been an inspiration for many through his movies, but there is another part of him which most of us would like to know. The secret to him staying young and gorgeous – remember, Onir works almost round the clock and is constantly travelling for shorts, meets, conferences and the works.

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Onir has been extremely supportive of various social causes. Right from the parades to the pride forums, discussions on various social aspects, bringing to the world what it is for a displaced Kashmiri  from his own home to the perils of being gay and out in modern day India. I thus wanted him to share his secrets to being fit and fine – because we make so many excuses of not finding time to work out or eat right – here’s the talk, for your perusal.


Rohan: Thank You for taking the time to speak with me once again. I would like you to share with my readers about your daily life, and the way you keep fit.

Onir: I travel a lot, and as a person I like to be independent, fit and healthy. When I travel, I look for a park to run and jog – I run 5kms outside and do spot jogging in my room every day, coupled with freehand exercises.

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When I started off, I used to work late very often .Very often a group of us would take a short run in the beach at night, I really feel we give ourselves excuses of not having time – you make time to answer natures call so why not exercise.

Water is one of the best things for health; it cleans your system constantly. Sometimes we unnecessarily overwork, and don’t realise that our body need to sleep. This whole thing of being obsessed with the phone – the amount of time we spent on our ‘whatsapp’; if spent on working out would make us healthier.  I used to have pets in Bhutan – the bonding de-stresses you and taking them for walks/ games –makes you exercise too!

Rohan: You are a busy man – shooting, travels, conferences et al. How do your manage being fit in that rigmarole?

Onir: When you’re shooting, it is not always possible to follow a routine (set). What I do is to avoid too many sweets, oily stuff and junk food. I indulge in basic exercises (freehand) and drink plenty of water, which is a must. Back home, this is my routine;

Morning – Drink a full bottle of water after my morning cup of tea with Parle- G biscuits and my morning tabloid for company. Breakfast is usually fruits with a double fried egg (white) or double boiled egg, with brown bread (I am not fond of white bread).

Afternoon – A bowl of rice with daal or sabji – I like cooking, so I put a lot of veggies in the daal. Since I am strictly non-vegetarian, it would be alternate days between fish or chicken for me on my plate for lunch or dinner.

Evening – A boiled egg whites after my workout

Dinner – Simple and lucid; 1 chappatti with daal and chicken, or soup and salads


Rohan: Great going! Now that the festive season is here – what is your advice to our readers?

Onir: Since i am more of a home person and I do not like crowds, I prefer home made food to a bite outside. For me, Kolkata and Delhi is home for good food, In Kolkata ‘Sikkim House’ is my haunt if I ever eat out – You cannot miss out on the momos there.

Also love China town, 36 Ballygunj Place, I AM Momos, Qupries , etc.  In Mumbai, I do not find the kind of fish I like very easily, and yes, I am a fish lover. Delhi is where I am showered with a wide range of cuisines, but of late I have caught a fancy for Afghan and Korean food. Spicy food is out of the question because my taste buds do not allow me to savour the goodness, so bland Afghan food or Korean is good – they don’t make me cry. And, although I have a sweet tooth, I avoid sweets at night!

onir5Image Source: Francois Matthys

Rohan: The Indian man or woman needs to make time to be fit – Your thoughts please

Onir: In India, the biggest problem is people do not exercise enough. The ‘brisk walks’ too are strolls for them – so where is the desire to stay fit and healthy. One doesn’t need to be a ‘model body prototype to be FIT’. You do not have to do it for LIKES and PRAISES on social networks, you need to do it for your health – you need to love your body, respect it, and respect what you eat – work out too, even if it is freehand. This is a concept NOT well promoted in out country.

I do look at models and some celebrities and wonder if they would faint any moment – they are too thin and I wonder whom these clothes are made for and why is such concepts of beauty promoted?

His Words Of Wisdom

“I feel this whole concept of globalisation is a facade in fashion”

We don’t need to be reed thin to be healthy and beautiful, beauty is in the differences. The definition can’t be universal. Beauty should be culture specific. I have been out of home since age 17 and been very independent – I have always had people horrified when they know I can manage my own diet and life. In our home, my parents were working and we took turns helping them cook for every meal, so I feel not being able to eat right if you are a bachelor is an excuse for laziness – specially boys in India use this as an excuse as they are so pampered.

Usually I prefer having natural and organic foods, but cost factors can be harrowing. As kids we used to wait for summers and winters for certain fruits and veggies. That made it taste even better. Now – everything is available all through the year – the pleasure of waiting I feel is taken away by food preservation.

What do you have to say about Onir and his fitness regimen?

Images Source: Onir

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