Chennai, Jan. 31: Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa has announced her readiness to broker peace between Kamal Haasan and the groups protesting against his movie Vishwaroopam.
Reciprocating quickly, Kamal authorised director Ameer to prepare the ground for talks while the minority groups said they were waiting for the government to arrange the meeting.
If the talks are successful, the movie is expected to be released in Tamil Nadu over the weekend. Vishwaroop, the Hindi version, is slated for release tomorrow.
"If Muslim organisations and Kamal Haasan are willing to sit and arrive at an amicable agreement, the Tamil Nadu government is willing to facilitate that," Jayalalithaa told a rare media conference.
She, however, justified the ban on the ground that the state had to uphold law and order in the face of protests, pointing out that the police force could not be stretched to give protection to all the 524 theatres (screens) where the movie was to be screened.
Sources said the peace moves started after Kamal's well-wishers restrained him from going to the Supreme Court. Actor Sharath Kumar, close to the AIADMK of Jayalalithaa, spoke to top officials. A senior police officer asked the Muslim groups to consider the cuts offered by Kamal.
By then, the state government had received inputs that Kamal was being seen as a victim. Besides, the AIADMK's political rivals were imputing motives to the ban, which were being reproduced in the media and lapped up by the public.
Jayalalithaa felt Kamal could have avoided the stand-off had he shown the film to Muslim leaders earlier rather than a few days before its release.
Jayalalithaa rubbished suggestions by rival M. Karunanidhi and others that she had a "personal interest" in banning the movie over TV rights and Kamal's backing of P. Chidambaram as Prime Minister. "Jaya TV only supports the AIADMK. It does not belong to me or the party," she said.
"The second reason being attributed is that I have a personal motive or grudge against Kamal Haasan because he made a speech that a dhoti-clad Tamil should be the Prime Minister. Why should I take offence? I have been in politics for over 30 years to know that Kamal Haasan does not select the Prime Minister," she said.
Kamal's side, too, simmered down as his elder brother Chandra Haasan clarified that there was no politics behind the film's ban. ( )