Mumbai: Against the backdrop of several filmmakers returning their National Awards in solidarity with the FTII students who had gone on strike, filmmaker Farah Khan feels returning National Award is a peaceful way of protest.

The FTII students had gone on a strike from June 12 following the appointment of television actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the Pune-based institute's chairman. Later, the students ended their 139-day-old strike in October to return to the classes, but said they will continue to seek his removal.

Subsequently, eminent filmmakers Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan and eight others had returned their National Awards in support of the FTII students and against growing intolerance in the country.

"It is not that the industry alone is divided, I think the whole country is divided on this. It is good when people talk, discuss things. People are allowed to give their opinion. If someone wants to return their awards they have the right to do so," Farah said here at an event.

The 50-year-old choreographer-turned filmmaker thinks returning National Award is a peaceful form of protest.

"Mahatma Gandhi taught us how he did (things) peacefully and non-violently. He used to do that all his life. It is not a violent protest, one should respect them instead of shouting at them and saying how dare you give your award back," Farah said.

"It is one's preference how they want to show displeasure. I think discussion and debates are always good," she said.

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