Relief for Kamal Haasan, ban lifted on 'Vishwaroopam'

Chennai, Jan 29 (IANS) The Madras High Court Tuesday ruled in favour of Kamal Haasan's banned controversial film "Vishwaroopam" and lifted the ban by the state government.

"The film can be released in theatres tomorrow and the Section 144 order issued by the district collector will be kept in abeyance," said Justice K. Venkatraman in an interim order. The film will be released without any cuts or edits.

"I have watched the film and it has no scenes that hurt the sentiments of Muslim community," Justice Venkataraman had said earlier in the day.

The verdict on the ban was issued after actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan was requested to settle the matter amicably with the government of Tamil Nadu Jan 28. This was after a judge saw the movie in a private screening Jan 26.

The Rs.95 crore espionage thriller was originally scheduled to release in Tamil and Telugu Jan 25. However, a day before the screenings, the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban on the film after some Muslim groups complained that some scenes in it portrayed the community in bad light.

Haasan, 58, described the ban as "cultural terrorism" and added: "Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose."

"Vishwaroopam" was banned from being screened in Kerala, parts of Hyderabad, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Jan 25, soon after the first show.

The film resumed playing in as many as 40 theatres amidst police security in Karnataka Tuesday morning. It was released with the tagline included in the credits, "All Muslims are not terrorists and the characters depicted in this film are imaginary".

Distributors and theatre owners who had to take off the film fear losses of up to Rs.30 crore and above.

Chandra Haasan, Kamal Haasan's brother and one of the producers of the film, said: "We are anticipating a loss of Rs.30 to 80 crore due to the initial delay in the release of the film. Since it has become a matter of law and order, we worry if theatres will screen the movie or not."

The film was also banned in Malaysia Jan 26, where it released Jan 24, after the Malaysian ministry intervened and requested the distributor to stop the screening the film.

However, according to trade pundits, the film is doing exceptionally well in the overseas region.

"Tamil film 'Vishwaroopam' is superb in the US and very good in Britain. In the opening weekend the film collected Rs.81.23 lakh in Britain and Rs.3.43 crore in the US", tweeted trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

Following the ban in Tamil Nadu, actors such as superstar Rajinikanth, Ajith Kumar, Parthepan and filmmaker Bharathiraja and producer Mukta Srinivasan opposed the ban and urged members from Muslim organisations to allow peaceful release of the film.

Produced and directed by Kamal, "Vishwaroopam" features him in the title role. Other members of the cast include Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur and Jaideep Ahlawat.

Its Hindi version "Vishwaroop" is slated to release Feb 1.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Troubled Trott to take another break

Troubled Trott to take another break

Jonathan pulled out of England's tour to Australia Brisbane with a 'stress-related illness'. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »