Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, who plays a pivotal role in Nandita Das's directorial debut Firaaq, admits the film's team was often criticised of "raking up old wounds", but maintains that it is a "hard-hitting picture" of what happened in the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
"This film is a very accurate and hard hitting picture of what happened. In fact, we have been subjected to quite a bit of criticism for raking up old wounds since we made the movie," Naseer said in an interview with NDTV.
"Firaaq" traces the emotional journey of victims, perpetrators and those who chose to watch the Gujarat riots silently.
The film, which released Friday, also stars Paresh Rawal, Dipti Naval, Tisca Chopra and Sanjay Suri. It has already won several awards at international film festivals.
The actor said he now wanted to do films that can "stand the test of time", an NDTV press release said.
"I am not looking for parts that I can sink my teeth into. I have had very many wonderful parts to play and I am grateful for that. So at the moment, I am not looking to deliver great performances. I am looking to participate in movies that I think are worthwhile and will stand the test of time," said Naseer, who has given critically acclaimed performances in movies like "Masoom", "Mirch Masala" and "A Wednesday".
A three-time National Award winner, Naseer has always been vocal about his thoughts. While speaking about being a Muslim in India post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the actor cited an example from his film "Firaaq" where an Indian Muslim is equated to being a Pakistani.
"There is a sequence in the movie where a Muslim played by Tisca's (Chopra) husband Sanjay Suri is confronted by a cop who wants to know his name and he tells him his name and then out of habit the wife says his name is Hindu. But he says no my name is this and I am a Muslim, the cop says ?Chal Chal Pakistan Chala Ja'.
"I have heard this thing said to me. The Indian Muslim is equivalent to Pakistan and his disloyalty to our country has taken for granted."