Kirti Kulhari in the film
Kirti Kulhari in the film

At the onset of our conversation, Kirti Kulhari, the leading lady of the upcoming political-drama, Indu Sarkar, clarifies that the Emergency period is only "a part of" the entire film. Even before getting a clean chit from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the Madhur Bhandarkar-directed project has already come under the scanner by the Congress, which has opposed its release.

Bhandarkar recently received a letter from Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, who demanded that a screening for party bigwigs be held before the film hits theatres. The party fears Indu Sarkar may show the former prime minister, Indira Gandhi, in poor light. But Kulhari sees little reason for the makers to abide by their demands.

Also read: Protests force Madhur Bhandarkar to cancel film promotions

"We're not obliged to show the film to anybody. They can see it in the theatres. Today, he [Nirupam] is demanding it, tomorrow, another political party will do the same. Where does this end? We will not succumb to such pressure. It is for us to decide who we wish to hold the screening for. This is a democracy. We won't allow someone else's freedom to protest get in the way of our freedom of expression," says Kulhari, adding that the CBFC has already declined the demand.

The actor is moved by the sufferings that Indians may have endured during the Emergency. "While leading the cushy lives that we do in 2017, it's tough to fathom what it must have been to go to sleep one night with everything in place, and wake up the next day with all your rights suspended. It lasted for 21 months. Why is there such an uproar over our film," she questions, as she chronicles the difficulty that the team is facing as they aim to bring their film to the theatres.

Also read: 'Indu Sarkar' row: Madhur Bhandarkar provided security cover by Maharashtra government
'Indu Sarkar' row: Madhur Bhandarkar provided security cover by Maharashtra government

"The film hasn't even been cleared by the CBFC and we have to take it to the Tribunal. We can't promote it in certain cities because we fear for our safety. We have to cancel events and be escorted by cops everywhere. Madhur sir has shielded me, but this uproar is unnecessary," she says, adding the team will also object to every cut that may be demanded.