Empty front rows at Vishwaroopam

In normal course obtaining a ticket to a Kamal Haasan film on the second day of its release and a few minutes before the matinee show in a single screen theatre like Lavanya in central Bangalore would be an impossible task if you are not willing to take the black market route.

So on Wednesday, on the second day of the screening of the Tamil version of Vishwaroopam in Bangalore, it was a pleasant surprise to breeze past hoardings of the actor put up by fans, and a posse of policemen stationed for security, to reach an empty ticket counter.

"People are coming in trickles. Not many are sure the film is playing as yet. This is our third show today and we are not sure if there will be a next show or if we will be forced to cancel screening again," says the man at the counter.

Though there was no government ban on the screening of Vishwaroopam in Karnataka, like in Tamil Nadu, following protests by Muslim groups, the BJP government here took a cue from Tamil Nadu and waited before finally allowing its screening.

As many as 12 Bangalore theatres, mostly single screen ones, began screening the film over 50 shows.

Inside the Lavanya theatre for the matinee show, the middle, back stalls and balcony sections are nearly full but the front seats, or "the Gandhi class", are empty. There are a sprinkling of women and children, a few old men but the rest of the crowd is largely local Tamils and Kamal fans.

Loud whistles ring when the censor board certificate announcing Vishwaroopam appears on screen and they continue to rise from around the theatre through the opening credits hitting a crescendo when Kamal Haasan makes his first appearance.

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