Vishwaroopam row ends, Kamal Hassan, Muslim groups reach accord

Vishwaroopam

Ending a week-long suspense and drama, Kamal Haasan's controversial Tamil film Vishwaroopam is finally poised for release in the state with some cuts after the actor and Muslim groups opposed to it reached a settlement during the state-government brokered talks here today.

Emerging after the marathon talks lasting six hours in the presence of Home Secretary R Rajagopal at the Secretariat, Haasan said they have agreed to remove certain audio portions and hoped the government would revoke the ban imposed in the wake of protests by some Muslim outfits which considered the film offensive to their religion.

"We will immediately arrange to announce the date of release after consultations, including with technical team," the actor who produced the mega-budget Rs 100 crore film told reporters ending nearly two-month long uncertainty marked by twists and turns over its release.

Haasan said they would withdraw their petition in the Madras High Court challenging the two-week ban and expressed hope that the government would revoke its action that drew nation-wide criticism for stifling freedom of expression.

Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam representative M H Jawahirullah, MLA, said Haasan has agreed for some cuts in the film, portions of which Muslims had deemed to be offensive.

"The outcome of the meeting is fruitful," he said as the tri-partite meeting came after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa offered to facilitate it to pave the way for the release of the film though she had strongly justified the ban.

The multi-lingual film, originally slated for release on January 11, has been released and running smoothly in other states including Kerala with a 25 per cent Muslim population, and Andhra and Karnataka. Its Hindi version "Vishwaroop" hit theatres in north India yesterday which, according to Haasan, had evoked 'fantastic' response.

Haasan, who made a brief statement and refused to take questions, thanked Jayalalithaa for facilitating the solution to the issue which sparked a major controversy.

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