Veteran actress and mother of Saif Ali Khan said it is important to have freedom of expression and an "enabling environment" to make meaningful cinema.
On the opening ceremony of the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival, Sharmila was felicitated with the 'Excellence in Cinema Award' for her contribution to Indian cinema. Speaking on the occasion, she remarked, "I want to highlight this, that to make meaningful cinema, we really need an enabling environment and freedom to express."
The actress also spoke about her experience of working in Mumbai which enhanced her and made her realise the diversity 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 added.