Bollywood star Rani Mukherjee said there is no politics involved in her ongoing visit here, which is purely to promote Indian cinema among Australians and the community that has been hit by series of violent attacks.

During an inaugural of the Indian Film Festival here, Mukherjee was quoted by The Australian as saying that her visit was purely to promote culture.

“No, from the way I look at it in my career and the way I’ve turned out in my life, I’ve kept away from all politics because in India it’s very easy to get (involved) with the political stuff,” she said.

The Indian Film Festival program, which will screen in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and New Zealand in coming weeks, kicks off in the backdrop of strained India and Australia relations.

Over 100 incidents of attacks on Indians, including racial, have come to light since May last year in Australia.

21-year-old student Nitin Garg, who was stabbed to death here, was the first victim of such assaults this year.

“We are coming here to promote our movies culturally,” Mukherjee said.

“We are here for the larger number of Australians who love our cinema. We are (here) for the Indians and the Asian communities who watch our movies, so we are here for a greater cause” she said.

“Just a few people who believe in hatred — we can’t kowtow to them,” she added.

Echoing similar views, the festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said the festival had “made a conscious attempt to be like a cultural bridge between the two countries“.

As the free screenings of Bollywood hits this week at Melbourne’s Federation Square, largely targeting Indian students, organisers are hoping thousands to attend.

“We are doing this so that... not only our Indian students but international students can bring their friends, bring their beanbags and just make a night of it and watch these great films under the stars,” she said.

Rajkumar Hirani, the director of 3 Idiots, said, “You can’t generalise and say that a country is against us.”

“The incidents are sad but one wouldn’t like to say that every person, every Australian, walking down the street is against Indians. These types of incidents happen in India also,” he said.