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Vishwaroopam ban no doubt curbs the freedom of expression: Meenakshi Mahadevan

IBNLive.com
Jan 25, 2013 at 06:09pm IST

Is the ban on Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh justified? CNN-IBN's senior correspondent Meenakshi Mahadevan joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. What exactly there in the movie that is creating problem and one more isn't it fact that even media and government is not backing whole heartedly as it backed Shahrukh Khan at the time of My Name is Khan. Asked by: Prithviraj Chavan

A. I wish I knew what was in the movie to answer better.. but I'm not sure how your saying media not backing Kamal.. govt has its considerations but i guess everyone around feels whats being done is not right.

Vishwaroopam ban no doubt curbs the freedom of expression: Meenakshi Mahadevan

Is the ban on Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh justified?

Q. The movie is already released in other states and overseas so there is much chance for piracy. Then what could be done by the Muslim communities to stop the pirated CDs reaching to people hands. Asked by: Elango B

A. Why would the muslim community do anything to stop piracy?

Q. How come the govt. of TN block the way of the film,that has been certified by the censor board? Asked by: saikumar1510

A. The TN govt has imposed section 144, which is a prohibitive section.. and cited law and order concerns..

Q. Isn't it unfair to say that just a 3hour film displays a bad image abt a religion? Why Kamal's breakthrough ideological films always face controversy, right from 'devar magan'? has the freedom of art n expression been cremated? Asked by: Suren

A. True.. but I guess its not the first time.. we saw how my name is khan was also targeted by Shiv Sena but the govt had decided to go ahead and allow the film.. here of course the govt has cited law and order concerns and chosen to impose a ban.. freedom of expression has no doubt been curbed in this case..

Q. What would the TN Govt do, if the high court lifts the ban.Police protection for theaters screening them? Asked by: Ragu

A. That's what they will have to do.. maintaining law and order is their duty isn't it..

Q. Thus question is asked in twitter.i just ask that to u .why these people dint say any opposition to 'payanam'? Asked by: raja

A. There are very vague questions.. what people find objectionable varies from person to person... this also has become this big only cos a large number of groups came together with the same objective - to seek a ban.

Q. Is is that the IAS and IPS bureaucracy of TN scared after the unexpected demonstrations against the US Consulate? Or is there any political/vote bank angle to it? Asked by: R.Sundaram

A. Ha ha... that was one of the angles we thought of too.. but i guess it would be wrong to say our police got scared of one such random instance.. This time the fact that it was a weekend which included Milad-un-nabi and Republic day led to this overly preventive decision..

Q. Because the Muslim communities dont want the movie to be viewed by general people as they think it may create wrong image on them. Do you think the movie will reach to more people than normal via theater (if released) or pirated CDs because of this negative publicity. Asked by: Elango B

A. Sometimes any publicity - even if its negative - works well for the movie... this entire furore would definitely have made a few who wouldnt have been otherwise interested, want to watch it.. BUt to answer ur question - Piracy is a huge issue and something that cannot be stopped..

Q. Whether this kind of banning is right because it is against rights to express thoughts and it is pressure to artists? Asked by: raja

A. Bans can never be right..

Q. Why is Kamal Hassan not getting sued if his movie intends to hurt sentiments of muslims? If not so the case, why is govt not taking strict actions against protesters and let Hassan to release the movie? Asked by: vimlesh dwivedi

A. Because nobody really knows what the movie is all about.. a handful of people saw it and claim its against a religion.. the govt cant take action without proof.. also, the govt' concern is only law and order over the weekend..

Q. Why couldn't the Supreme Court order on Aarakshan's case be used as a precedent to release the movie in TN and AP? Why wasn't it done? Asked by: Ashwin

A. Because the movie hasn't been banned.. the govt has used a prohibitve section to temporarily delay the release..

Q. I don't understand the furore on this whole issue. Do you think its right to mix politics and arts? I side with Kamal when calls for a curb on cultural terrorism. Your take on this? Asked by: Srikanth

A. No, it's not right to mix the two.. but the right things don't always happen :)

Q. When a film portrays terrorists bad motives and finally shows the good will triumph over evil what is bad in showing such a movie. all the muslims are not terrorits, most of the terrorists are muslims!! Asked by: sankar

A. You are making a judgmental observation.. I don't wish to comment in this..

Q. If some one above censor board is going to decide means, we have rethink about the board and change the process immediately. Is it so? Asked by: kumar

A. No, it's not.. but we do have such instances when some movies find themselves in trouble.. it has happened in bollywood before.. especially in recent times.. and what process can we change?

Q. First question is - who has called for a ban on the movie? 2nd - Have they seen the movie themselves before making the demand? Asked by: Ranjit

A. 1. no ban - release has been held for 15 days.. and its a state govt decision - more like individual collectors deciding for their districts based on law and order situation.. 2. No.. only a handful of muslim leaers saw the movie with Kamal Haasan

Q. Some people are telling real issue is about satellite right, between Jaya TV & Vijay TV. Is it true? Asked by: Dona

A. There are always theories.. rightly or wrongly fact is there have been cases when govt has put its weight behind a cause whenever it wanted..For eg: Maha govt supporting My name is Khan despite Shiv Sena wanting a ban

Q. When a ban is to be made it has to be banned completely, what difference does it going to make by banning for 2 weeks. This clearly shows some internal intention by some one to go all against the 100 crs budget movie. What benefit does that people are going to get by banning for 2 weeks? Asked by: Somanath

A. This isn't a ban.. the release has been delayed.. and the govt is citing law and order concerns.. they have used a prohibitve section - Sec 144 - which can be use only for 15 days.. hence the delay of 15 days..

Q. Any news about next week releases getting postponed because Vishwa in all likelihood might release next week? Asked by: karthik

A. Nothing yet.. will have to await the Monday order from Madras HC to know what happens next..

Q. Is it fair to the protestors get banning the movie without watching the movie, but just seeing the posters. Even muslim people who saw the film in foreign says that there are no scenes hurting the minds of muslims? Asked by: raja

A. There are always 2 sides to a coin.. there will be ppl on both sides of the line.. and the delay in release is a govt decision.. not sure if it was only cos of a small group of people.

Q. Supreme court has upheld the ban on Dam999 in TN saying screening would increase the tension between the neighbouring states.Now how diff is it from the Vishwaroopam case, wherein here its not the neighbours but a people of a certain religion are assumed to be getting offended. So the ban , in some sense, might sound rite, isn't? Asked by: Ragu

A. Wasn't dam999 released - and then the uproar - and then banned.. here the question is why ban something even before it has been seen?

Q. I don't get it!... There are good honest muslims who represent a large section of their community... and then there are Islamic terrorists... R these groups that demand a ban unaware of the latter? R they living under a rock? No one should hold art to ransom!.. I believe this move by these fringe groups, is more detrimental to the social harmony than any movie... I appreciate Mr Kamal Hassan for reining in his many fan clubs... otherwise this could've been an ugly confrontation... specially, in a state like TN, where movies form a big part of entertainment!... Asked by: kart

A. There will always be all kinds of people.. and they will have all kinds of demands.. question is whether the govt should have paid heeds to those demands or put its weight behind Kamal to support freedom of expression..

Q. Kamal has always remained trail blazer and it is unfortunate that his movie gets bogged down for unnecessary controversy. Does the banning of the film not reflects poorly on the law and order maintenance capability of the Govt? Then what is the purpose of Censor Board? Does it mean that objections from any set could stop anything in this country? Asked by: R Varadarajan

A. True... The question being repeatedly asked is whether the govt couldn't have handled the law and order situation.. and this kind of a move would definitely set a bad precedent for the future..

Q. Da Vinci Code, Dam 999, is Tamil Nadu becomes hostile to freedom of expression of artists. Asked by: Dona

A. Da Vinci COde - if im right was given a go ahead by the HC.. But yes, freedom of expression is increasingly becoming difficult not just in Tamil Nadu - but across the country..

Q. Is they want to ban the movie or want to remove certain scenes. Asked by: lakshmikanth

A. They want a total ban!

Q. There may be big hue and cry for this. I think the ban by the Govt. Is justified. What do say on this? Asked by: V Sridhar

A. How do you know there would be a hue and cry? Have come to conclusions even before something has happened.. let the movie release.. only then we would know if its objectionable or not.

Q. After govt and court permits to show the film,now B class theater owners refuse to screen it because of local "Politicians" interference,why they mix up both film and politics? Work on it and find a solution. Asked by: ARAVIND,Kerala

A. Really? I must check whether such things are happening here...

Q. Talk about business.Producer invests Rs 80 crores on a project just group of ten people,even after knowing this movie deals only with Talibaans not any Indian muslims, still threatens the producer and Govt supports them....who will pay Loss to the businessman who invested money here? Asked by: Sunder56

A. It's a sad situation... wish the govt had waited for the movie to release and then taken a decision..

Q. All movie reviews, now out, say reference only to Afgan Islaam terrorists....then why this pure Indian Muslims get worried? Release right now as not even one scene or dialouge againt Indian Muslim Community. Asked by: Ellen

A. Let's wait for Monday.. HC orders.

Q. I hope this isn't a protest instigated by disgruntled theatre owners in view of the DTH fallout. Asked by: Raj

A. No way!! the theaters now have only to lose cos of this postponment.. they had gotten their way with the delay in DTH release anyway.

Q. When govt cannot allow to release the movie in cinima halls and multiplex, is the option of releasing the movie on DTH platform a valid one? If it hurts religious feelings of one community, then how come it was cleared by Censor Board? Asked by: Anmol Sharma

A. Don't think the the whole process of releasing on DTH/theaters is so easy to be constantly changed.. And to answer your second question, yes, the censor board cleared the film and gave it a U/A rating.. whether it has objectionable content can be known only if releases.. the protests now are purely on the basis of hearsay and views of a handful who were shown the movie

Q. I am really surprised at the way people representing the minority are raising slogans.I guess they are misusing the name minority in India where minority are given importance more than majority nowadays. DO you agree with this? Reason am saying is we've seen move like Roja, Payanam(Hero:Nagarjuna) which were also in the same line. Asked by: Subramaniam

A. You are contradicting yourself.. if the minorities were to misuse they would have done so at the time of the movies u mentioned.. BUt it didnt happen.. Its not about who protests.. its about what the govt decides..

Q. Why we established sensor board which is concerned about all this concerned issue? And they are responsible for give clarifications on time Asked by: Mathew

A. Censor board does its duty of certifying films... But when the state cites law and order problems, the Censor board can't do much I guess.

Q. Are there muslims groups outside the state of TN that are provoking this action, such as PFI? Prior to the last year or so, unlike the rest of the country, muslims in TN have been largely peaceable!... but the attack on the US consulate and protests against movies have been a recent phenomenon! Asked by: kart

A. As far as we know, there is no provocation from anywhere except a handful of ppl who happened to see the movbie.. I guess Kamal Haasan shouldnt have screened the movie for a select few at all.. This issue has been escalated cos now each group wants to claim they saw the movie and its objectionable..

Q. In a recent function Kamal said P Chidambaram would be future PM.Is that statement gone not well with Jaya? Asked by: Vstm

A. There are theories and there are theories.. :)

Q. Courts has to take a report from Sensor board as first evidence? Just think that movie is not yet released. Right? Asked by: Kuriakose

A. Well, in this case the problem is there is no ban!! its a prohibitive section imposed by the respective district authorities to stop the screening of the film for 15 days.. whether the court wants to hear the censor board or not will be known only when the case comes up again on Monday.

Q. What would have been the response, if the ban had been put in place after the film released.Would all those factions against Kamal Hasaan, demand a ban then? Thuppaki had some issues and the producer obliged to cut some scenes.Why no fuss before thuppaki was cutting them? Asked by: Ragu

A. Personally, i believe this is partly Kamal Haasn's mistake.. He shouldnt have agreed for a private screening for a select handul.. he paved the way for a larger protest., He should have quietly eleased the movie.. What would happen later is anybody's guess

Q. Is this ban due to the personal equation of the CM and Kamalhassan??... Rumour has it, that Kamal had publicly supported Chidambaram and wished that he becomes the next PM... and everyone from here till timbuktu is aware of Jaya's antagonistic feelings for Chidambaram! Asked by: kart

A. Another baseless theory.. have been hearing plenty of those in the last couple of days.. :)

Q. Commercial disputes is the only root cause and relegious gropus are made scape goats by Kamal Hasans opponents for all this shocking incidents, is it true? Asked by: Subodh Deshpande

A. Again, one more baseless theory.

Q. Is it not time to bring in a law which says movie will be released once censor board approves it? Far too many events in recent memories where groups and individuals have held big budget movies at ransom. Asked by: Ramesh

A. Isn't there a SC order like that already? But I guess in this case too many things worked against Kamal. Muslims unhappy - Milad - u - nabi, followed by republic day - became easy for the govt to cite law and order as a problem.

Q. Do you think there would have been so much controversy if a muslim had directed the movie? Asked by: Srikanth

A. :)

Q. There was nothing objectionable in Dashavtaram then why ban on Vishvaroppam, vishwaroopam was dream project of Kamal Hasan where he choose all of his choice over costly highly paid actors and hence the commercial disputes started coming to surface. Asked by: Subodh Deshpande

A. Don't think you can compare movies that way and say.. each movie has its own story and its own set of problems :)

Q. Commercial disputes is the only root cause and that is why they fueled the religious groups and now the religious group can not come back other wise they will loose their image, is this the cause for all such incidents. Asked by: Subodh Deshpande

A. Let's hope to find the root cause of this trouble soon enough.. Cheers :)

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