Jan 30 – The Madras Hight Court, after hearing lengthy submissions from both parties, finally decided last night that Kamal Haasan’s big-budget thriller ‘Vishwaroopam’ can be released in Tamil Nadu, rescinding a ban imposed on the movie last week by the state government.
The government has said it will appeal against today’s verdict.
At the hearing yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government defended the ban it ordered just days before the film’s scheduled release, citing the need to protect communal harmony after Muslim groups accused the film of portraying the community negatively.
Kamal Haasan’s lawyer argued that the ban is unconstitutional, which was seconded unequivocally by Leela Samson, who heads the Central Board for Film Certification. “It is absolutely unacceptable. We have certified hundreds and thousands of films…only with Vishwaroopam, you find it has not been done with due diligence? This is an infringement on freedom of expression,” she said.
Before going to court, Kamal Haasan, who stars in the film which he has also directed and produced, described the government’s intervention as “cultural terrorism” and said Vishwaroopam is “one of the most Muslim-friendly films in recent times.”
The judge hearing the case had reviewed the film over the weekend.
The controversy engulfing the film had spilled over to neighbouring states, with protests being held outside cinemas where it was showing. In Karnataka, the film was released yesterday; cinema owners said the police had offered protection, if needed.