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Hope Bollywood stands united on intolerance issue: Sharmila Tagore 

Kolkata, Nov 17 (IANS) Vocal on the controversy over intolerance, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore asserted she has faith in Bollywood to remain united on the issue.

“I hope not. I sincerely hope not. So far Bollywood has been absolutely together and my hope and conviction is that they won’t be divided,” she told the media here at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival in response to a poser on the film industry being divided.

Sharmila recently said the attacks on writers and artistes were against the basic principles of democracy.

A host of filmmakers, including Dibakar Banerjee, have returned awards and honours as a mark of protest against events like the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri of Uttar Pradesh over beef, the murder of Kannada rationalist scholar M.M. Kalburgi, and the police “raid” on Delhi’s Kerala House.

The “Aradhana” and “Chupke Chupke” actress also finds it offensive to label audiences as “educated or uneducated”, “Indian or non-Indian” since she feels cinema is inclusive and elicits response from all.

“I think it’s an offensive statement and I don’t think you need education (to appreciate films). Anybody who has the quality to respond to cinema would. Don’t make such distinctions,” Sharmila said when asked on the need to acquire a certain degree of literacy to appreciate good films.

On a lighter side, when asked about any alternative career choice, Sharmila said she would have probably gone to Shantiniketan to learn painting.

“I joined films at the age of 13 in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’. The decision was made by Manik da (Satyajit Ray),” she said.

On veteran actor Saeed Jaffrey, who passed away recently, Sharmila said he was a “great bilingual actor” and made the film industry richer.

“I can’t ever imagine him being glum.”

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