'Vishwaroopam' banned in TN, Kamal Haasan says 'stop this cultural terrorism'

CNN-IBN
Jan 24, 2013 at 06:55pm IST

Chennai: Legendary actor Kamal Haasan on Thursday reacted strongly to the Tamil Nadu government's decision to ban his latest film 'Vishwaroopam' following protests from some Muslim groups and said such "cultural terrorism" should stop.

The Madras High Court put a stay on 'Vishwaroopam' till January 28 and the judge is expected to watch the film on Januray 26 and then decide.

ALSO SEE Tamil Nadu bans 'Vishwaroopam' for two weeks

"I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose," he said in a statement.

The actor, who had held a special show for Muslim representatives recently, said while he was touched by voices in support of his film he was "appalled" at how the movie was "construed to be against my Muslim brothers."

ALSO SEE Full Text: Kamal Haasan's statement on Vishwaroopam

"I am not only hurt by these accusations of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted. Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop," he said.

He said his statements in favour of that community have "marked me as a sympathiser." "I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organisation called Harmony India which worked for Hindu-Muslim amity," he said while thanking those who supported him on the matter, especially on the internet.

ALSO SEE Hassan to take legal recourse against ban on 'Vishwaroopam'

Tamil Nadu government had asked district administrations across the state to invoke relevant legal provisions to ban the screening of the movie for about two weeks to maintain law and order. The ban came after several Muslim outfits protested against screening of the film, due for release tomorrow, claiming that it depicted the community in negative light.

The actor had already courted controversy with screen-owners uniting against the tech-savvy actor's decision to release the high-budget movie on DTH platform ahead of its release in theatres.

A group of 20-odd organisations under a common banner submitted a memorandum to Home Secretary R Rajagopal to press for their demand, a day after taking up the matter with city police. MH Jawahirullah, MLA and president of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, told reporters that the movie "targets Muslims and their beliefs".

Mohammed Haneefa, coordinator of Federation of Islamic Movements and Political Parties, said the community would not accept such portrayal even if certain scenes are deleted. "We intend to register our apprehensions that release of the film with (even) deleted scenes or changes will affect the social harmony and all-round peace in the state," he said.

Haasan has been facing lot of hurdles with his latest movie, which has been made on a huge budget. His decision to show it on a DTH platform ahead of its theatrical release was faced with strong protests by screen-owners recently. He was forced to drop his plans to have a DTH premiere first after the protests but moved the Competition Commission of India against Tamil Nadu theatre owners for allegedly restricting the release.

Here is the full text of his statement:

Dear Friends,

While I am touched by the voices in support for me and my film, I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers.

My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathizer. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organization called Harmony India which worked for Hindu Muslim amity.

I am not only hurt by these accusations of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted.

I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happenning again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose.

Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop.

I thank those who rose to the occasion and to my support on the Internet.

Kamal Haasan

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