Mumbai: Tension is brewing between Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Farah Khan over the release date of their films Saawariya and Om Shanti Om respectively. The former is upset with his colleague for ridiculing him and his mother on chat shows and interviews.
"Making fun of my 75-year-old mother is really not done. I'm proud to have my mother's name as part of my name. No civilised human would want his or her parent ridiculed. Even if 'reliable sources' decide to make fun of my mother to make mileage they'd still have my mother's blessings," said Sanjay.
Saawariya, which is launching two star kids–Neetu and Rishi Kapoor's son Ranbeer and Anil Kapoor's daughter Sonam–is coming to the theatres on November 9. Farah Khan's second directorial venture Om Shanti Om with Shah Rukh Khan in the main lead also releases on the same day.
"My mom has shown immense love for Farah and her family, although over the years they've repeatedly made barbed comments about her in public. On Koffee With Karan, Farah was heard saying that if I made Om Shanti Om it would be called Ma Shanti Ma.
"Why bring my mother into this unnecessarily, specially since my mother has always shown so much love and affection for Farah? No matter how much the provocation, I'd never speak like this about anyone's parents," said Sanjay.
The same day release may cause what many distributors see as a bottleneck at the box office.
When asked about the supposed competition, Sanjay said: "I'm here to make a film and believe filmmaking to be an art form. Cinema is not a battlefield. We all work very hard on our films. And I'm sure my film is as dear to me as other people's films are to them.
"Let me say at the outset that we had announced our decision to release Saawariya on November 9 a year ago at a press conference held by Sony Pictures. So we aren't coming on anyone else's release date. I'm sure Om Shanti Om is a terrific film. And Shah Rukh Khan has a huge draw. In fact, he's the biggest star of the country. We are very small compared with him. I wish his film all the best."
Bhansali, whose last film Black received critical acclaim and is being honoured with the National Award, says Farah should restrict her comments to work.
"If Farah is feeling competitive towards my film she should restrict her comments to my work and not get personal. Farah and I go back a long way. We can't allow one film to sour our relations," he said.
"Shah Rukh and I had come to a moral decision to keep this dignified and not to speak about each other's films in print. I intend to stick to that decision even if other people on his behalf are eagerly breaking that moral code. There are 'sources' close to the film making catty comments about me, making fun of me and even my mother to get attention."
Such provocations won't affect him and he is not going to retaliate, said Sanjay.
"I'm not going to be provoked into talking about another person's film or its cast. My mother and I wish Shah Rukh and his film all the best from the bottom of our hearts."