Jayalalithaa takes potshots at Kamal Haasan

Chennai, Jan 31 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday hit out at Kamal Haasan for not agreeing to submit early his movie "Vishwaroopam" to Muslim protesters.

She told the media that the entire controversy over the film could have been avoided had Kamal Haasan screened the multilingual thriller to representatives of 24 Muslim groups who objected to some portions.

She said Kamal Haasan, who has produced and directed the movie besides playing the lead role, cancelled a screening for them at the last moment.

Even the pre-release Jan 21 screening for the Muslim representatives was done at the urging of her government, Jayalalithaa said.

Muslim groups in Tamil Nadu protested against the movie, which revolves around an Al Qaeda plot and an Indian couple in the US, saying it maligned their community.

On the losses Kamal Haasan and his production house would incur due to the 15-day ban in Tamil Nadu, she said he was "a responsible adult" who took a calculated risk in pledging all his property against the movie.

It was his decision and the government was not responsible for that, she said.

She also ridiculed charges that she had acted against the movie because she had a grudge against Kamal Haasan and because the latter had implicitly batted for Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as India's prime minister.

"I have been in politics for more than 30 years to know that Kamal Haasan does not select the PM of this country...

"I have no personal grudge, no personal interest in banning the movie. There is no political vendetta."

Kamal Haasan, she pointed out, was not her political rival.

She said Kamal Haasan could have approached the government soon after the 15-day ban was issued in Tamil Nadu but instead went to court.

Agreeing that she had got a letter from the actor seeking time to meet her, Jayalalithaa said by that time he had gone to the court.

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