Mahesh Bhatt, unquestionably lands in the list of Bollywood’s most controversial figures.
The director had stirred chaos with his film Zakhm that encircled the story of faiths, communalism and relationships. Addressing his parents’ inter-faith marriage, the filmmaker claimed that he was unable to separate his Muslim identity from his Hindu one.
“I felt it was a privilege that I came from such a rich background. I had the best of both worlds. My mother was a Shia Muslim, while my father was a janoi-clad man. He never pretended to be secular,” he said in an earlier interview to Communalism Combat.
“What’s very interesting, both (father and mother) retained their individual faiths. They were madly in love but neither indulged in the farce of wanting to do things the other way,” he added.
“My mother always wore this big tikka, and saree — she liked that kind of thing. But, at the same time, I could see that there was something she was hiding.”
“She felt that her minority status would perhaps interfere with our day-to-day lives. She was a little embarrassed when I flaunted my Muslim roots,” he said.
Speaking to Sunil Dutt later on, Bhatt addressed the same issue once again, saying: “It’s like me, how can you, or I, separate my Muslim DNA from my Hindu DNA! You’d have to kill me! Or call me an aberration and put me into quarantine. It’s so sad, when we make films like this, which are nothing but human documents of great affection and concern for the social environment, we have to run to politicians and bureaucrats.”
“It makes you feel like a leper, having made something that you have experienced. It’s your experience, and I don’t give a tinker’s damn what people say. This is what I have experienced. And the job of a writer and a film-maker is to present the truth as he or she has felt it, without fear,” he added.