Kamal Haasan’s ambitious spy thriller Vishwaroopam in Tamil will not release in the UAE on Thursday as previously scheduled. The film is still under review, an official at the National Media Council told tabloid!
“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. This weekend, another film dealing with Bin Laden, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, is set for release in the UAE as scheduled.
On Wednesday, Vox Cinemas posted the message: “Dear All, Vishwaroopam (Tamil) is now banned in the UAE.” to alert fans about the latest development.
Vox Cinemas and Grand Cinemas told tabloid! they would refund or exchange advance tickets for screenings.
In South India, protests have been staged by several Muslim groups calling for the ban of the film, fearing that their community will be wrongly depicted in the film.
Hasaan was in the United States promoting the film on Wednesday, and was not available for comment.
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 to tabloid!. 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 Dhuke Ke Liye starring Kamal Haasan. I can’t believe I am making my debut with him,” said Kumar, a US-bred actress.