06/11/2015 9:24 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Zoya Akhtar Says She Would Have Given Up Her National Award If She Had One

SAM PANTHAKY via Getty Images
Indian Bollywood director of Hindi film 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' Zoya Akhtar attends a promotional event for the release of the new Hindi film,in Ahmedabad on July 8, 2011. The film's cast along with the producers are currently on a Mumbai to Delhi promotional tour for the new movie. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

MUMBAI -- Bollywood director Zoya Akhtar said that if she had a national award to her credit she would have returned it given the current atmosphere in the country.

"If I had the national award, I would have returned it. It is a peaceful way of saying things, expressing things. I support them," Zoya said on the sidelines of Mumbai Festival here tonight.

Actress Kalki Koechlin said it was a brave act for artists.

"It is an important statement that people are making about the situation (returning of national awards). It is a brave act for artist to do (sic)," she said.

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When asked about film makers returning the national awards in protest against "growing intolerance in the country", superstar Salman Khan said, "Sad (dukh) phase is going on. I am here for MAMI festival and I would not like to get into things which would turn other way or interpreted in another way."

When their reaction is sought, actors Riteish Deshmukh and Jackie Shroff and filmmaker Sudhir Mishra parried the query whether they will support the act of film makers returning their awards and merely said that everyone has right to express their opinion.

"We are in a democratic country like India and if one is upset with anything one can go and say what they don't like. Every person has the opportunity to believe and say what they want," Riteish said.

Jackie said, "We live in a democratic country and everyone has the right to express things. Everyone has the freedom of expression and speech. People have their own way of expressing things."

A string of filmmakers including big names like Anand Patwardhan and Kundan Shah of "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" fame have returned their awards over "growing intolerance".

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