Kamal Haasan’s ambitious spy thriller Vishwaroopam in Tamil will not release in the UAE on Thursday as previously scheduled. The film has been banned for two weeks in south Indian state Tamil Nadu.
In response to the ban, the actor-director-producer, who is in Los Angeles for a special screening of the film on Thursday issued the following statement to the press, a copy of which has been posted on his facebook page http://www.facebook.com/kamalhaasan.theofficialpage
“While I am touched by the voices in support for me and my film, I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers.
“My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathiser. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organisation called Harmony India which worked for Hindu Muslim amity. I am not only hurt by these accusations of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted.
“I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose.
“Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop.
“I thank those who rose to the occasion and to my support on the Internet.”
The film is still under review in the UAE, an official at the National Media Council told tabloid! on Wednesday.
“They are yet to give their last verdict on it. It touches upon sensitive subjects like Osama Bin Laden and Muslim groups. There are bombings and more killings. We need to review it very carefully,” said Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the Council. His team is scheduled to review the film again on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Vox Cinemas posted the message: “Dear All, Vishwaroopam (Tamil) is now banned in the UAE.” to alert fans about the latest development.
In Tamil Nadu, the film has been banned for two weeks following allegations made by Muslim groups that the film depicted their religion in poor light. The state government took the decision citing law and order.
It’s not the first time that Haasan’s production has run into trouble.
The legendary actor’s radical move to release his film on India’s Direct-To-Home (DTH) platform eight hours prior to the theatre release was opposed by cinema owners. After several rounds of discussions, a decision was made to release the film on January 25 in India, with the DTH release on February 2, a day after the Hindi version of the film releases.
Haasan displayed no signs of concern over that issue when tabloid! met him at the Star Oasis event in Dubai last Thursday.
“I don’t regret decisions taken. Now let’s see where the decision takes me. The people are clear about welcoming the good stuff,” he said, referring to the DTH controversy. “It’s the vested interests who are very worried. I don’t blame them. Success is everybody’s friend. That’s what I am hoping to achieve,” said Haasan. His leading lady in the film, Pooja Kumar, who had accompanied him, called Vishwaroopam a “dream launch”.
“It’s a well-made film. Acting with Kamal Haasan is a dream come true. My first introduction to Indian cinema was Ek Duje Ke Liye starring Kamal Haasan. I can’t believe I am making my debut with him,” said Kumar