Vishwaroopam release stayed, judge to watch film tomorrow

The climax in the drama surrounding the release of Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam will drag on for three more days, after a Madras High Court Judge said that he would watch the film on Saturday along with the leaders of Muslim outfits opposing it and deliver the verdict on Monday. This has ruled out its scheduled release on Friday, effectively helping the authorities to avoid any trouble on the holy day of the Prophet's birthday also falling the same day.

Lawyer representing Kamal Haasan, the writer, director and producer of the Rs 95-crore venture, who is now in the US to promote the film, moved the HC on Thursday against the state government's decision to temporarily suspend the screening for two weeks in view of the persistent opposition by a bevy of Muslim organisations. Hearing out the two parties, Justice K Venkataraman said he would review the film on Saturday.

Kamal's counsel argued that the Censor Board has cleared the film, adding that 500 theatres across the state have sold tickets for which there's no proper process to offer refund. Postponement was suicidal, said the lawyer.

However, state Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan informed the court that there was intelligence report that the law and order scenario in the state could be affected.

Kamal's counsel had submitted the story to the court and pointed out that a special screening was held for minority organisations to allay their fears of misrepresenting their community.

Kamal said in a statement that he would rely on law and logic. "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," alleged the actor, terming the recent protests against the film as a case of "cultural terrorism". The accusations of denigrating a community has hurt and "truly insulted" his sensibilities, said Kamal, adding: "Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film."

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