Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa (in pic) said yesterday that Kamal Haasan’s movie Vishwaroopam was banned in Tamil Nadu due to real fears of violent protests and that she had no grudge against the actor.
The chief minister also announced that she would file criminal cases against DMK leader M Karunanidhi and sections of the media that she said had maligned her on the issue.
She said it would have been impossible to provide police protection to all 524 cinemas in Tamil Nadu where the multilingual film was to be released after Muslim groups announced a wave of protests.
“I have no personal grudge, no personal interest in banning the movie,” said the actor-turned-politician, adding she knew nothing about the Rs 95 crore espionage thriller until it became controversial.
She said her government had the powers to ban a movie completely but it banned it only for 15 days so that tempers could cool down and both Kamal Haasan and Muslim groups could reach an agreement.
Jayalalithaa also pointed out that the movie had been banned in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.
Compromise in sight
The CM said Muslim leaders had told her that they were ready to accept the movie now as Kamal Haasan had agreed to delete some portions they had found objectionable on religious grounds.
“If the leaders of Muslim organisations and Kamal Haasan can sit together and work out an amicable agreement, the government will do everything possible to facilitate that ... and the deck will be cleared for screening the movie. There is no question of curbing the freedom of speech.”
She said that while the total effective strength of the Tamil Nadu Police was 91,807 inclusive of special units, guarding 524 cinemas in a surcharged atmosphere would have required 56,440 personnel.
“This is not possible, not sensible, not practical. The sensible way is to prevent violence... It is only in that spirit that we approached the release of the film.”
She denied speculation that Haasan’s troubles began after he refused to sell the movie rights to Jaya TV. “This is a wild reckless charge against a constitutional authority. We will have to take legal action.”
She targeted Karunanidhi for alleging that she wrote a letter in the 1980s against Kamal Haasan to then chief minister MG Ramachandran.
“(This is) a wild fictitious story. We will be instituting legal proceedings against Karunanidhi and against newspapers which published this charge.”
‘I will quit India it this happens again’
Kamal Haasan warned that he would seriously leave India if similar protests envelop his films. “In anger and in an emotional outburst I had said I will leave the country,” he said. “But if this happens again, I will seriously leave. It is not that I will leave this fame and glory. I enjoy that”. Haasan also thanked Jayalalithaa after she said she was doing her best to resolve the impasse.
Now, SP mulls ban on Vishwaroopam
The Samajwadi Party said it won’t let Vishwaroop (Vishwaroopam in Tamil) to release in UP until it ceased to be controversial. “We will not allow the film to be released until there is a final decision in the courts and the controversy settles down,” party general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said. He said the authorities would first watch the film and only then consider its release.