Mumbai, Oct 12 (PTI) Veteran actor Sharmila Tagore today said to make meaningful films it is essential to have an “enabling environment” and the freedom to express.

Tagore made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival, where she was felicitated with the ‘Excellence in Cinema Award’ for her contribution to Indian movies.

“I want to highlight this, that to make meaningful cinema, we really need an enabling environment and freedom to express,” Tagore said after receiving her special award.

Superstar Aamir Khan and co-chair of the Jio MAMI Film Festival Nita Ambani gave the “An Evening in Paris” star the special honour.

The actor said her experience of working in Mumbai enriched her a lot and made her realise the diverse cultures of the country.

“When I came to Bombay, as it was called in my time, it was filled with people from everywhere, Kashmir to Kerala.

People came here to pursue their dreams and working in that hybrid context really enriched me.

“It also made me understand and appreciate the diverse, pluralistic culture of our country… Beyond our cultural differences what exists is a commonality that far exceeds our differences,” she said.

“When a film is released, anywhere in the country, exactly in the same place people laugh, cry, get bored, what is that, but commonality…” she added.

Tagore said what also helped her immensely was working in two film industries -Hindi and Bengali- in one country.

“Every time I worked in Calcutta (Kolkata) in a Bengali film, they would say ‘this is not a Bombay film, can you please pause, think, reflect and then say the lines.’ When I worked here, they said ‘this is not a Ray film, can you please speed up a bit?'”

The opening ceremony of the film festival was held at the iconic Liberty Cinema, here. It was hosted by actors Kunal Kapoor and Aditi Rao Hyadri.

The opening film of the festival was Anurag Kashyap’s “Mukkabaaz”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.