There were reports that the film could get create rift between Catholics and Protestants. What's your take on this?
It's not anti-Catholic. That this film is being perceived as anti-Catholic is because the West assumes that any kind of fundamentalism now could have only come from the East, because they are the ones who are fundamentalist.
When you remind them that there is a sense of fundamentalism that existed not that long ago in their own history, they don't like that. It's not anti-Catholic because it's the truth. The fact is that Philip was the man who encouraged the Spanish Inquisition and there was a particularly dark chapter in the history of the interpretation of Catholicism.
Even I have read everything and none of them are saying that Philip was not like that; of course he was a fundamentalist. What they are saying is that why have they not shown that Elizabeth was a fundamentalist too? But if you look at English history, she is not a fundamentalist; if you look at Scottish history, she is a b***h, if you look at Irish history, she is an absolute b***h, if you look at Spanish history, she was the b*****d queen.
The fact is that the Pope ordered her execution; he said that anybody who executes or assassinates Elizabeth would find a beautiful place in the kingdom of heaven. Where else have you heard these words about Salman Khan or Salman Rushdie? That's why I made this film, so this idea of a rift between Catholicism and Protestants does not arise.
My interpretation of Elizabeth is an interpretation of greater tolerance and Philip, which is absolutely true. It's completely true that she had this kind of feminine energy. It's a conflict between Philip, who had no ability to encompass diversity or contradiction, and Elizabeth who had the feminine ability to do that.
In the picture: Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett and Shekhar Kapur. Photograph: Christophe Simon/Getty Images
Also read: Review: Elizabeth: The Golden Age