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Court respite for Vishwaroopam

Madras High Court Thursday declined to stay a two-week ban imposed by the state government. The film fate will be decided on January 26

Image Credit: Supplied
Troubles continue for the Kamal Haasan movie "Vishwaroopam"
Tabloid on Saturday

Declining to stay a two-week ban imposed by the Tamil Nadu government on the screening of Vishwaroopam, the Madras High Court Thursday restricted the film’s release till January 28. A judge will see the movie January 26 and decided on its fate.

Made in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, Vishwaroopam, which deals with the adversities of war, is produced and directed by Kamal Haasan who has also acted in it. It was scheduled to release yesterday in India, but the government imposed curbs following a protest by Muslim groups.

“The final verdict on the release of Vishwaroopam will be announced on January 28. Justice K. Venkatraman will watch the film on January 26 and will deliver final verdict on January 28,” a lawyer said.

The Telugu version released as scheduled yesterday , while the Hindi version, titled Vishwaroop, is scheduled to come out February 1.

The distribution rights of the Telugu version of the film were bought by veteran Telugu filmmaker Dasari Narayana Rao.

“There is no change in the release of the Telugu version of the film. The court has only banned the Tamil version of the film in the country,” said Trinath, Hyderabad-based trade analyst.

“The Tamil version of the film released in Malaysia Thursday and has been receiving excellent reports,” he added informing that Muslims in that country have not opposed the film.

Kamal challenged the ban by the state government. In his plea, he contended that the movie was cleared by the censor board and the state government could not ban it.

On Wednesday, the state government banned Vishwaroopam for two weeks when around 25 Muslim organisations objected to Kamal’s movie on the ground that it portrays the community in bad light.

When the Muslim organisations had objected to the movie, the 58-year-old superstar organised a special screening for them to allay their fears.

However, the organisations hardened their stance after watching the movie, alleging that the community was shown in bad light.

Kamal, expressed his shock at the two-week ban ordered by the Tamil Nadu government in a statement from Los Angeles, where a special screening was held on Thursday: “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,” he said.

“Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop,” he added.

Earlier, the film got into trouble when Kamal had announced that he will premiere it first on DTH and then take it to the theatres.

But when distributors objected, he had to revise his plans. Now the Tamil and Telugu versions will be aired on DTH a week after the release in theatres.