Finally after lengthy deliberations about the fate of the Rs 95 crore film Vishwaroopam, Kamal Hassan has been given some relief by the Madras High Court. The ban was lifted on the film and the court said that the film should be allowed to be released today. This is going to be a great news for the filmmaker and actor who also plays the lead role in the movie. Several other top actors and actresses are part of the film that was expecting to do really well at the box office in the days to come.
The court had earlier directed the celebrated actor to talk to the government and settle the issue amicably. The court had said that this was needed keeping in mind the governmentâ€™s assessment about the law and order in state and the loss of lives and property that could occur if the film really vitiates communal atmosphere as was being assessed by government authorities. But the central governmentâ€™s intervention in this regard seems to have turned the tide in thespianâ€™s favour.
Central government said as the film has been cleared by the censor board, it was free from any objectionable content and there was nothing against Muslim community in the film or anything that will cause deterioration in law and order in this southern Indian state. Following the central government intervention Madras High Court overturned the ban. â€œThe film can be released in theatres tomorrow and the Section 144 order issued by the district collector will be kept in abeyanceâ€, said Justice K. Venkatraman in an interim order. The film will be released without any cuts or edits. “I have watched the film and it has no scenes that hurt the sentiments of Muslim community,” Justice Venkataraman had said earlier in the day. The verdict on the ban was issued after actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan was requested to settle the matter amicably with the government of Tamil Nadu Jan 28. This was after a judge saw the movie in a private screening Jan 26.
Kamal Hassan had expressed frustration over the ban and had called it cultural terrorism. The Rs.95 crore espionage thriller was originally scheduled to release in Tamil and Telugu Jan 25. However, a day before the screenings, the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban on the film after some Muslim groups complained that some scenes in it portrayed the community in bad light. Haasan, 58, described the ban as “cultural terrorism” and added: “Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose.” “Vishwaroopam” was banned from being screened in Kerala, parts of Hyderabad, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Jan 25, soon after the first show. The film resumed playing in as many as 40 theatres amidst police security in Karnataka Tuesday morning. It was released with the tagline included in the credits, “All Muslims are not terrorists and the characters depicted in this film are imaginary”. Distributors and theatre owners who had to take off the film fear losses of up to Rs.30 crore and above.
But Tamil Nadu was not the only place where it was banned. It screening was stopped in Kerala, Karnataka, Hyderabad and even Malaysia over its objections. The film was also banned in Malaysia Jan 26, where it released Jan 24, after the Malaysian ministry intervened and requested the distributor to stop the screening the film. However, according to trade pundits, the film is doing exceptionally well in the overseas region. “Tamil film ‘Vishwaroopam’ is superb in the US and very good in Britain. In the opening weekend the film collected Rs.81.23 lakh in Britain and Rs.3.43 crore in the US”, tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh. Following the ban in Tamil Nadu, actors such as superstar Rajinikanth, Ajith Kumar, Parthepan and filmmaker Bharathiraja and producer Mukta Srinivasan opposed the ban and urged members from Muslim organisations to allow peaceful release of the film. But the film that got a fare share of controversy is going to be super hit thanks to the amount of media it got for free in the last two weeks.