Haasan calls ban on Vishwaroopam in TN cultural terrorism

Mumbai: Actor and filmmaker Kamal Haasan has described the ban on his silver screen extravaganza Vishwaroopam by the Tamil Nadu government as ‘cultural terrorism‘.

The Rs 950 million film was to release on 25 January in around 500 screens in Tamil Nadu alone. According to media reports, "district collectors have been orally instructed to pass appropriate orders and to make sure advance booking is stopped".

The move came in response to Muslim organisations‘ expressing fear that the "film could disturb communal harmony" after watching a show, specially screened for them, a few days ago.

The film has had its share of controversy in the run up to its release. Earlier the debate around the movie was over Haasan‘s intention to premier launch the movie on Direct-To-Home (DTH). This was thwarted when theatre owners opposed the move reasoning that it would affect their revenues and thus the actor had to launch the film on DTH a week after theatrical release.

The following is the text of Haasan‘s 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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