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'Vishwaroopam' row: Kamal Haasan likely to hold talks with protesting groups today to reach consensus


Meenakshi Mahadevan,CNN-IBN
Feb 01, 2013 at 10:41am IST

Chennai: Tamil actor and director Kamal Haasan is likely to hold talks with Muslim groups on Friday over Vishwaroopam's release. On Thursday, in an interview to CNN-IBN, Haasan implored the protesting groups to "see reason" and said he will not stop pursuing negotiations with them over his film. The actor and director also claimed he does not "rule out politics" in the controversy that has surrounded his Rs 95 crore budget film.

Haasan said his film would "make Indian Muslims proud". However, he questioned whether those protesting against his film "understood cinema".

A now visibly mellowed Haasan said his statement on Tuesday about leaving the country was out of anger and he was very "inflamed". Haasan, who earlier in the day thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for clarifying her stand on the ban on the film, said he could not reach her initially, which resulted in him approaching the court.

The film had received a short-lived relief from the Madras High Court, which revoked the ban on Tuesday night, but was again lifted from the screen amidst stray violence in some cinema halls. "This film was proposed to be released in 524 theatres in Tamil Nadu but various Muslim organisations submitted a memorandum to the government, demanding a ban on the movie. These Muslim organisations also announced various demonstrations, there was every apprehension that this could turn violent," Jayalalithaa had said, while justifying the ban on the film.

The actor claimed he is "not a big man" to put pressure on the government. However, he went on to say, "I will criticise what is wrong and I will not tolerate extremism."

Haasan, 58, had earlier described the ban as "cultural terrorism" and said, "Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose." Muslim groups had objected and protested against the alleged portrayal of the community in the film.

Meanwhile, the film's Hindi version, 'Vishwaroop' was released on Friday in cinema halls across Mumbai. However, back in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister hit out at the critics accusing her of having personal grudges against Kamal Haasan, and said, "I have been accused of having personal grudge against Kamal Hasaan on his remarks at an event about a 'dhoti clad to become the PM'. I am experienced enough to know that Mr Kamal Hasaan doesn't select the PM." Jayalalithaa added, "These are ridiculous pieces of fiction and most absurd charges in the media."

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