On Wednesday night Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi saw Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial Padmaavat and came away completely bowled over by the experience. Says Javed Akhtar, “I saw the film and I feel it is among the most accomplished achievements I’ve seen in Indian cinema in recent times. I fail to understand what the protesters are protesting against. The film is a passionate unadulterated homage to the valour and integrity of the Rajput community. Not a word, not a frame in the film is an insult to the community. In fact it is insulting to the film to suggest that it in any way insults the very community it honours.”

Adds Shabana, “It is a film that should be sent as India’s entry to the Oscars. My heart was filled with pride while watching Padmaavat. It is a film for every Indian. I was completely drawn in by the storytelling. It is spectacular and spell-binding.”

Reacting to the lack of support from within the film industry Shabana says, “The film industry is being accused for its lack of support for the director and his team, which is not fair. We were prevented from doing so as the producers thought it was more prudent not to be confrontational! I believe that if FIRs had been lodged in the first place when SLB was assaulted in Rajasthan, things would not have reached this state. ”

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