Kamal threatens to quit India, 'Vishwaroopam' ban stays

Chennai, Jan 30 (IANS) An emotional Kamal Hassan Wednesday threatened to quit India if the ban in Tamil Nadu on his controversial film "Vishwaroopam" wasn't lifted but the Madras High Court reimposed the ban.

As controversy swirled over the Rs.95 crore multilingual espionage thriller, the acclaimed actor said he had agreed to make cuts in the movie that some Muslim groups found objectionable.

Kamal, 58 and one of southern cinema's most successful stars, said if the ban on his Tamil-Telugu film was not lifted, he might have to look out for a "secular state" abroad.

Saying he was fed up with the opposition to the movie, Kamal said here: "If there is no secular state in India, I would go overseas. I think Tamil Nadu wants me out.

"M.F. Husain had to do it and now Haasan will have to do it. It's fine. What would change is my passport. I would still be an Indian.

"I have pledged all my property for the film. I have lost my house because of delay in (its) release," he said.

He said he had invested his lifetime's savings, including all his assets, on the film that has also been dubbed in Hindi and which has been released in the US and Canada.

Soon afterwards, he met Muslim leaders here and announced he was ready to make cuts said to be maligning India's largest religious minority.

"There is no (more) difference between me and my Muslim brothers. It is our duty to take care of them. There are four scenes that are being pointed out and I am willing to remove these scenes from the movie," he said.

The lavishly mounted film, which stars Kamal and is written, produced and directed by him, was banned by the Tamil Nadu government after some Muslim groups complained that it portrayed the community in poor light.

The film was to release Jan 25 in Tamil Nadu but saw the light of the day only in a few places in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

It was banned in these places too after the first show. As the protests became vocal, it was also banned in Malaysia and Sri Lanka after two days of run. But the movie is now running in the other southern states.

Kamal said he was still trying to understand why "some members with strong political backing" were against his film.

"The film is running successfully in other states and the feedback from the audience has also been positive."

On Wednesday, the Madras High Court overturned Tuesday's single bench ruling revoking the ban on "Vishwaroopam", which revolves around the story of an Al Qaeda plot in the US and an Indian couple.

The high court bench chaired by Justice Dharma Rao asked the filmmaker and the Tamil Nadu government to respond by Monday.

The film fraternity are backing Kamal and his film, cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

CBFC chairperson Leela Samson said Wednesday that the ban was "an infringement on freedom of expression". "This is hounding of an artist, an icon of Tamil Nadu," Samson told CNN-IBN.

Said Actor Siddharth: "What a sad day. What a horrible week. Taliban Tamil Nadu."

Director Mahesh Bhatt said Kamal was a victim of state terrorism.

As Kamal's critics and fans took to the streets, sporadic violence was reported in Tamil Nadu.

Miscreants attacked with petrol bombs a theatre planning to screen "Vishwaroopam" in Ramanathapuram, 310 km from here. Tyres were set on fire outside a Chennai theatre.

In Chennai, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi wondered whether the ban was linked to Kamal's comment obliquely supporting Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as India's prime minister.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesman P.C. Chacko said Kamal's threat to leave India "was an unfortunate statement".

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Meryl Streep funds initiative to help women screenwriters
    Meryl Streep funds initiative to help women screenwriters

    By Maria Caspani NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - U.S. actress Meryl Streep is among the funders of a new initiative to support women screenwriters in a film industry dominated by men. The Writers Lab, run by New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and announced at the Tribeca Film Festival, will provide mentorship to eight women screenwriters over the age of 40 at a location in upstate New York in September. Screenwriters Kirsten Smith (Legally Blond, Ten Things I Hate About …

  • Prognosis unclear for daughter of late singer Whitney Houston - lawyer
    Prognosis unclear for daughter of late singer Whitney Houston - lawyer

    Bobbi Kristina Brown is expected to live a long life, but her prognosis remains unclear, an attorney for her father Bobby Brown said on Monday, clarifying the singer’s remarks at a weekend concert that she was awake months after being found unresponsive in her bathtub. She's watching me," Brown told concert-goers at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, according to a video posted on the website TMZ. "However, Bobbi Kristina is presently embarking on a rehabilitation process and the …

  • AC/DC's Rudd pleads guilty to threatening to kill, drug possession

    Phil Rudd, the Australian-born drummer from world-famous rock band AC/DC, pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court on Tuesday to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs, his lawyer said. Rudd, 60, who has been on bail since his arrest last November, reversed an earlier not guilty plea and admitted to one charge of threatening to kill, as well as possession of cannabis and methamphetamine. The district court in the seaside city of Tauranga, about 200 km (125 miles) southeast of …

  • Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to U.S., Chinese investors
    Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to U.S., Chinese investors

    By Allison Lampert MONTREAL (Reuters) - Cirque du Soleil, the ragtag group of street performers in Canada that grew into a global circus and entertainment colossus, is selling a majority stake to a U.S. private equity fund and its Chinese partner, Cirque du Soleil said on Monday. The deal to sell control to a group led by Texas-based TPG Capital LP values Montreal-based Cirque at about $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.. TPG will own 60 percent, while a unit of …

  • Bobby Brown says daughter with late singer Whitney Houston 'is awake'
    Bobby Brown says daughter with late singer Whitney Houston 'is awake'

    (Reuters) - Singer Bobby Brown said at a weekend concert that his daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who has been hospitalized since being found unresponsive in her bathtub nearly three months ago, was awake but did not elaborate on her medical condition. She's watching me," Brown told concert-goers at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, according to a video posted on the website TMZ. It was not clear whether Brown's statement reflected a change in the health of his 22-year-old daughter …

  • Rock band The Slants cannot trademark disparaging name - U.S. appeals court

    By Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asian-American rock band the Slants, which says it chose its name as a way to reclaim a term usually considered a racial slur, cannot trademark the name because it is disparaging, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected the band's argument that the government's refusal to grant a trademark violated its free speech rights. The ruling could have implications for the high-profile fight …

  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal over Arizona 'fish pedicures'

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by the owner a Phoenix-area spa that ran afoul of Arizona state regulations that barred her from providing pedicures in which clients have their feet nibbled by small fish to remove dead skin. The procedure involves customers placing their feet in a water tank filled with toothless Garra rufa fish, also known as doctor fish, which suck the dead tissue off their feet to leave them feeling softer. Cindy Vong, who has operated a nail salon in …

  • Coming-out musical 'Fun Home' gets rousing welcome on Broadway

    By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway welcomed its first lesbian lead character in the musical "Fun Home" with open arms and glowing reviews, praising the groundbreaking show for its originality and sensitivity. It is based on the best-selling graphic memoir, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic," by lesbian writer/cartoonist Alison Bechdel about her dysfunctional family and childhood in rural Pennsylvania in a funeral home run by her father, a closeted gay man who also taught English. …

Loading...