No screening for Kamal film till Jan 28
‘Vishwaroopam’ to be watched by judge before decision
The Tamil Nadu government’s ban on the screening of veteran actor Kamal Hassan’s latest film “Vishwaroopam”, scheduled for release on January 25, will be in force till January 28 as the Madras High Court adjourned hearings on the actor’s petition challenging the ban till that date.
A special hearing by a single judge Justice K Venkatraman, on Kamal’s production house Raj Kamal Films’ urgent petition seeking to revoke the 15-day ban on the film’s screening imposed on Wednesday, failed to end the deadlock on Thursday. The ban in Tamil Nadu will stay at least till January 28.
After hearing preliminary arguments, the judge said that he would be able to decide on the petition only after he watched the movie and fixed January 26 for a special viewing of “Vishwaroopam”, when representatives of the Muslim organisations opposing its release and from the film maker’s side could be present.
While counsel for Kamal Hassan maintained that the film was in no way against the Muslim community or Islam, he also pointed out that crores of rupees had been invested in producing “Vishwaroopam” (about Rs 90 crore).
The film was already released in Malaysia Thursday morning and was due for screening in Singapore later in the night. Further, the movie’s Telugu version was slated for release in cinema theatres across Andhra Pradesh on Friday.
Kamal’s counsel also contended that there could not be a “ban” on screening the film once the Central Board for Film Certification had cleared a film for viewing by the public.
Advocate General A Navaneetha Krishnan, however, argued that the ban was a preventive measure to ensure there was no breach of peace or threat to public order.
Even as Kamal, now reportedly in the US for the global release of his film, got some sympathy from the Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani, the actor in a statement categorically said the movie was not against the Muslims or Islam.
Stating that he was appalled at how his film was “construed to be against my Muslim brothers,” the actor said he had always worked for Hindu-Muslim unity in his long career as part of an organisation called Harmony India for the purpose. “I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile,” Kamal said.