'By banning 'Vishwaroopam', we're risking ban against all creators'

Chennai, Jan 26 (IANS) The ban on Kamal Haasan's "Vishwaroopam" could very likely pull away other creators from going forward freely, says veteran Tamil filmmaker P. Bharathiraja.

"The problem Kamal is facing today is not just his own, but may very likely become a problem for all other creators of this country. This only proves that there is no unity between us," Bharathiraja said in a statement Saturday.

The Tamil and Telugu versions of "Vishwaroopam", which deals with the adversities of war, was scheduled to release Friday, but the Tamil Nadu government Wednesday imposed curbs on it following protests from Muslim groups.

"At this juncture, Kamal needs our support and wants us to help him fight for justice. We should lend a helping hand," added Bharathiraja, who was one among the few to have watched the film even before its release in a private screening.

"It is sad to see such kind of reaction from a small section of the people. I've watched the film and I know for a fact that Kamal has made a Tamil film on par with Hollywood standards. We should celebrate such a rare feat than opposing it", added the 71-year-old.

"Vishwaroopam" was banned by the state government for two weeks when around 25 Muslim organisations objected to the film on the ground that it portrays the community in bad light.

A day later, the Madras High Court restricted the film's release till Jan 28. A judge will see the movie Saturday and decided on its fate.

Following the ban, actors such as Rajinikanth and Ajith Kumar opposed the ban against the film and urged Muslim outfits to allow peaceful release of the film.

On Friday, superstar Rajinikanth had said: "Kamal and I have been friends for over 40 years and I know personally for a fact that he wouldn't hurt the sentiments of anybody let alone Muslims".

Rajinikanth made the above statement after Haasan screened the film few days back for some members from the Muslim organisations.

Ajith, in favour of the movie's release, said, "Don't we respect the words secularism and democracy anymore or these words have merely become adjectives for our nation?"

"Vishwaroopam", in Tamil and Telugu was scheduled to release Friday, but was only released in places like Kerala and few parts of Hyderabad.

The film, which also features Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur and Jaideep Ahlawat, was also banned in Andhra Pradesh Friday by the state government.

Its Hindi version "Vishwaroop" is slated to release Feb 1.

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