One of Bollywood’s leading lights Shahid Kapoor cannot be kept quiet for long. One of the most anticipated films of his career has been in trouble for a while along with his co-actress and the lead heroine of the film Padmavati - Deepika Padukone and Shahid forgets that he has a gag order when asked if the situation has become tougher for the film to release.
"I don't think it has worsened. It is taking longer than what anyone has anticipated. In the normal course of things, it does not take so long. We are all surprised by the turn of events.
Everyone is aware that the release date has been deferred. Things are not extremely bad but it is very strange that people are choosing to decide what is in the film without watching it.
It's very weird. I have been saying this all along that you have to watch the film before you have an opinion. Why do you want to have so many pre-conceived notions about the film without knowing the facts which is the content of the film?
It's also surprising to see so many people discussing what they have not watched," he rattles off, all in one breath.
Shahid comes down hard on the Karni Sena that issued a bounty on Deepika Padukone's nose. "It is in terrible taste. I am surprised that there are such things being said about a lady. I am shocked, " says Shahid.
The actor says that they had to abandon promotions on the absence of a release date. "I had just started promoting the film with a radio trail and it stopped. Once we get a release date, we will be everywhere," promises the actor.
His director Sanjay Leela Bhansali however seemed to be relaxed even as he stepped out recently along with a huge police protection when he went to Mumbai airport to appear before the Indian parliamentary panel looking into the Padmavati controversy.
“I am glad that you feel he is relaxed. I have not had the chance to meet him recently,” he says.
“My heart goes out to him. He is probably the finest filmmaker that I have ever worked with. He has tried his level best. Eventually it is subjective. In a democracy everyone has a right to their opinion and one needs to respect each other’s opinion and do things with love because you have to believe that the person in question is not trying to deliberately harm us with his film. Sanjay has been at the receiving end of the criticism and he has not been able to show his film. For someone of his calibre, it is not right for him not to be able to show his film at this stage in his career. I am just wishing and sending him a lot of love and prayers to him every day,” says Shahid.
Shahid who is no stranger to controversies feels that it is the CBFC that should be taking the call and not anyone else as he has seen earlier in this year’s earlier controversial release Udta Punjab.
“It has been a nice big circle and we are back to where we started from. The CBFC should be the right body to take a decision, I am hoping that sooner and not later – we are already pretty long - that we should get moving. I saw a lot of problems in Udta Punjab and eventually the film released. I believe that it will be the same for Padmavati. So, I want people to see the film with an open heart and I will respect their opinions once they see the movie,” says Shahid.
Shahid feels that the film is not designed to hurt anyone for the sake of controversy. “Nobody will ever want to make a film to hurt anybody’s sentiments. Everyone wants to make films for the maximum number of people to see it. That’s the basic of cinema,” he reiterates.
Shaid says that the film has many firsts and the deference of the release date may not really hamper the box office outcome of the film.
“Lot of things about the films are happening for the first time. Eventually a good film does well. Whenever this film comes out, they will react to the film like they will to do to any other story. If the film has the dignity, the strength, the originality and the cinematic effect that a good film should have, I think the people will speak well about it. I believe that Padmavati is a really good film,” he insists.
Shahid however refuses to be drawn into further controversy when asked to send a message to the Karni Sena that has sent several threats to the film’s makers and artistes. “We have said what we want to. I refuse to be drawn into making any sensational statement,” he signs off.