The Congress yesterday termed as “unfortunate” the remark of actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan that he may leave the country if the final verdict on his controversial film Vishwaroopam was not in his favour. Amid allegations of his film being against Muslims, the actor said, “If there is no secular state in India, I would go overseas. I think Tamil Nadu wants me out. What would change is my passport; I would still be an Indian. I have pledged all my property for the film. I have lost my house because of delay in release.”
Commenting on the statement, Congress spokesperson PC Chacko said “it was an unfortunate statement”. Vishwaroopam was due to release on January 25, but was banned by the Tamil Nadu government following objections from certain Muslim groups, who claimed that the film portrayed their community in a bad light.
The problems faced by the mega-budget Vishwaroopam increased yesterday after the Madras High Court set aside the single judge’s interim order that allowed screening of the film in the state. Hearing the appeal of the Tamil Nadu government, a two-member high court bench set aside the single judge’s order and re-imposed the ban. The high court bench chaired by Justice Dharma Rao nullified the revocation of the ban on the film by Justice K Venkataraman on Tuesday.
Shinde supports Kamal Haasan
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde came out in support of filmmaker Kamal Haasan, saying all have “freedom of expression”. “We are a free society. There is freedom of expression. There is liberty for artists. We have a constitution,” Shinde said, in response to a question on the ban on Haasan’s movie. “We will see. We will inquire into what has happened,” he assured.
Theatre attacked over the screening
Miscreants yesterday attacked a Tamil Nadu theatre, with petrol bombs, that planned to screen the film. “Some miscreants attacked a theatre. However, nobody was injured,” said a police official from Ramanathapuram district, where the incident took place. A few movie theatres in the state decided to screen the Rs 95-crore movie on the basis of Madras High Court’s late Tuesday night order lifting a state government-imposed ban on the movie, police said. Miscreants also burnt tyres outside a theatre here and tore down a movie banner.
‘Wanting dhoti-clad PM may have caused ban’
DMK president M Karunanidhi wondered whether the Tamil Nadu government’s ban on Haasan’s movie was because the actor wanted a dhoti-clad Tamilian as prime minister. In a letter to party cadres, Karunanidhi said some sections of people are of the view that the actor earned the ire of the state government after he said that a dhoti-clad Tamilian, referring to Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, should become the country’s prime minister.
Karunanidhi also said that there is a view among a section of people that a television channel close to the ruling party in the state had offered to buy the rights of the film, which the actor declined as the price quoted was much lower than what the film was sold for to another channel.