NEW DELHI: Did Ranveer Singh feel let down by the way the government handled the row over his historical drama "Padmaavat"? The Bollywood star dodged the question repeatedly here on Saturday, but said he was enraged by the protests which he felt bordered on fascism.
"It's bizarre when I watch it," he said of the scale of protests against the movie, when asked if people have become cynical about affairs in the country.
"I can't believe that it's 2018. It is so blatant that it's bizarre. It borders on fascism. I found it appalling, I was in shock which then turned into rage."
Ranveer was at the News18 Rising India Summit where he spoke his heart out about how he felt "helpless" in the "frustrating" incidents that preceded the release of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial in January.
When asked if he felt let down by the government or whether the government was not doing enough to ensure a smooth journey for "Padmaavat", Ranveer said: "You could say that Mr Prasoon Joshi (censor board chief) did a lot for the film, which eventually saw a release.
"I prefer to see the positives, and it is that the film got made, got released, with police deployed at exhibition centres, getting the appreciation it got, the perpetrators got taken to the cleaners after the release... And the film has gone on to make Rs 300 crore.
"There's a silver lining, and there's a sense of victory for Mr Bhansali, who fought tooth and nail to get it mounted, to get it made, and it eventually turned to a success."
So, he was okay with the way the government handled the situation?
Ranveer maintained: "I don't want to rake up what has already transpired."
"Honestly... I have moved on to another film. And it's going really well. I hope you come and see it. It's called 'Gully Boy'... It's a film very close to my heart, and it is embedded with a social message."
But coming back to "Padmaavat", he said: "The thing is... I have to move forward. I can't keep things in my system. I don't keep things in my system for too long. When I look back at 'Padmaavat', there are fond memories. The film eventually released and is not just a massive commercial success, but it seems to me that it will be remembered."
Later, another audience member pointed out "how beautifully" Ranveer had evaded the question on the government's take on "Padmaavat'.
He was then asked if he felt the course of the row would have been different had the reigns of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) not changed from Pahlaj Nihalani to Prasoon Joshi?
"I really don't know," pat came the reply.
"I don't know that many details to know what would have happened. All I know is Prasoon Joshi supported the film and it released, and it is there where it is today."
"Padmaavat", a historical drama, went through a tumultous journey from the beginning of its shoot till its release and beyond over conjectures that it distorted historical facts.
Rajput organisation Shree Rajput Karni Sena was up in arms against the makers, and not just vandalised its sets twice and assaulted Bhansali, but also held major protests across the country opposing the film's release.
Ranveer said it was "hugely infuriating" and left him "full of rage".
"But I was asked not to do anything," he said, adding that if he was to get involved, "things would get worse and it could have been perceived as retaliation".
So, he put all the frustration in his performance as Alauddin Khilji -- an act that has won him appreciation all the way.