Filmmaker Shazia Iqbal's "Bebaak" and Atul Mongia's "Awake", which were dropped by the 20th edition of MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, saw a huge gathering for their first ever public screening Tuesday night.
In the wake of the allegations of inaction by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane in the sexual harassment case involving their former partner Vikas Bahl, MAMI dropped "Bebaak" and "Awake", independently produced by Kashyap and Motwane respectively.
The short films were screened together for three consecutive packed shows, attended by film enthusiasts and industry friends, including Kashyap and Motwane.
"It's very satisfying. It's a film that I had loved at the script stage itself. I wanted to produce the film at the script level itself before even my wife was cast. The journey has taken its own time," Motwane said at the screening.
The "Lootera" director, who was "amazed" by the turnout, said he wasn't expecting the films to be dropped from the festival.
"We both had told Atul and Shazia that if need be, we would drop our names. Of course, we don't endorse it but when you have to do it, you have to do it. But when they got dropped... I don't know... It's disappointing not for me but for the cast and the crew, which put in so much hard work," he added.
"Bebaak" director Shazia in an open letter had questioned MAMI's decision to drop the films and had called it a "knee-jerk" reaction as the film was independently backed by Kashyap and not Phantom Films, which now stands dissolved.
"I just wanted the film to be seen by people and it's overwhelming to see such a huge turnout. I was not expecting it," Shazia said.
The filmmaker added that though the anger hasn't settled, she doesn't regret whatever transpired.
"I don't want to say that I am still pissed about it but I don't regret it. It's fine. Whatever had to happen, happened. It's in the past. I wanted people to see the film and that has happened. To physically get people to watch the film, that effort has paid off," she said.
(With inputs from agencies.)