HC lifts TN ban on Vishwaroopam

Actor Kamal Haasan's struggle to release his film Vishwaroopam finally came to an end on Tuesday night with the Madras High Court ordering to lift the suspension of screening imposed by the Tamil Nadu government.

The film is expected to hit hundreds of screens across the state on Wednesday.

The late night verdict by Justice K Venkataraman in favour of Kamal's Rajkamal International has come as a great relief for the filmmaker who scripted, produced and directed the thriller at a cost of Rs 95 crore, though Muslim organisations, which took umbrage over the alleged bad portrayal of the community, are said to be considering appealing the decision. It is believed that the state government would also appeal against the order.

The state government, which prohibited the screening for two weeks, citing law and order concerns, argued vehemently against the release of the film, stating that public order was more important than petitioner's right of expression and freedom.

Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan raised serious allegations that the whole certification procedure by the Censor Board was a "big scam", adding that there should be an inquiry by an agency chosen by the court.

Appearing for the production house, advocate P S Raman charged that the state government's claim of intelligence inputs and apprehensions over law and order problems were an attempt to stall the movie. He added that the district collectors had passed identical orders as per instructions of the Home Secretary. If the screening of the film was stopped, it would ruin Kamal Haasan who, he said, had invested his lifetime earning in the project.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General P Wilson said that after a film is certified by the Censor Board, the state government has no powers to bar screening. Wilson said due process was followed in granting the certification to the film, and presented relevant files to back the claim.

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