Vishwaroopam Screening Stopped in Andhra, K'taka

The screening of Kamal Haasan's controversial film Vishwaroopam, which faced a two-week ban in Tamil Nadu amid protests by Muslim community, was stopped by police today in Hyderabad and Bangalore over security concerns but went ahead as scheduled in Kerala.

The release of the spy thriller by the 58-year-old actor filmaker that coincided with the Muslim festival Milad-un-Nabi was deferred by a day in Hyderabad and two days in Bangalore after police feared law and order problems. However, no formal ban order was issued by authorities.

According to Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy, police commissioners of Hyderabad and Cyberabad approached her to allow them to stop the screening the film to avoid any disturbances.

"Yesterday some religious leaders approached me to stop the screening of the movie expressing apprehensions. There is no ban from government side. City police commissioners have requested me to postpone the movie screening by a day in the city," Reddy told PTI in Hyderabad.

In Karnataka, the release of the film has been postponed to Sunday.

The sole distributor of the film in Karnataka, Gangaraju claimed that the postponement is in pursuance to the request of state police not to release the film today and tomorrow in view of "Milad-un-Nabi" and Republic Day as "it could disrupt communal harmony and lead to a law and order problem".

"However, the film will be released in 25 theatres across the state including 15 in Bangalore city on January 27", he told PTI in Bangalore.

The film was screened in 86 theatres in Kerala, where about 25 per cent of the population comprise Muslims.

"It is mainly screening in B-class theatres run by KCEA. But, some theatres run by the Federation also screened it today," V Mohanan, President, Kerala Cine Exhibitors Association (KCEA) said in Thiruvanthapuram.

He said Haasan's home production Rajkamal Films International was releasing the movie directly in Kerala.

Haasan yesterday moved the Madras High Court seeking an interim injunction against the 15-day ban imposed on the film by the TN government.

The court will decide on the matter by January 28 after watching the film on January 26.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

12/D-17
Jan 27, 2013
02:56 AM

Ramki,

>> why dont we amend the constitution...

If you thought I was suggesting constitutional amendment you are more stupid than I thought.

Anwaar, Dallas
11/D-16
Jan 27, 2013
02:50 AM

Arun,

>> why should we not change as we modernize and democratise.

Modernization occurs at its own pace. It was not so long ago that books like "The Grapes of Wrath", "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and even "The Diary of Anne Frank" were banned by one or more institutions in the United States.

By the way, courts have ruled that there are exceptions even to the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, such as inciting immediate lawless action, libel, slander, child pornography, inflicting  severe emotional distress intentionally and knowingly, and threats of violence that are directed at a person or group of persons that has the intent of placing the target at risk of bodily harm or death.

Anwaar, Dallas
10/D-185
Jan 26, 2013
11:39 PM

 I would only say that let us enact a new law, that is applicable to all artistic works of future. The law should be consistent and uniformly applicable to all gods/prophets of all faiths.

Let every artistic piece of work be certified that it does not hurt or defame any religion or any god or any prophet and then only released to public.

Now question comes like - does this blanket law remove all rights of free thinking and free speech and questioning of all religions etc etc..

The answer could be this - If a piece of art (film, theater, painting) etc offends any faith, let it be certified as a special A grade film, can be shown only to adult audiences and more importantly must be taxed at special rates (or through special cess) and the taxation money should be used to protect places of worship (from offensive, inflammatory folks) and also maintain law and order.

Maybe as India developes , urbanizes etc, we slowly remove this restriction and become fully free nation even as we also alter our constitution and remove those sections like Article 370, separate civil code for some faiths etc ...

This is just one of the suggestions... We need an informed debate...

But moral of story is - the status quo at present - where only one religion (hinduism) is the punching bag while all other faiths are holy cows is SIMPLY SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE.

Ramki, Delhi
9/D-184
Jan 26, 2013
11:34 PM

 Anwaar >> Such material has previously been depicted in some European documentary shorts, but India is a tinderbox, and such themes in a mega-release film which will reach massive audiences may be considered by some to be problematic.

The constitution of India, a largely perfect legal structure has some flaws in giving special privileges to one state (because they follow some faith in majority) and some provisions such as separate civil code for some communities. This theme is a problematic one that hints that some other communities which are also part of India do not deserve any sympathy or attenting.

So why dont we amend the constitution and make it truly secular in every sense?

Ramki, Delhi
8/D-165
Jan 26, 2013
09:06 PM

 Anwaar ... OK so it is fact. My question really was why is it so that India is a Tinderbox. The "why" you seem to suggesting is we are "emotional". Assume you are right, why should we not change as we modernize and democratise. Why keep solving the problem by playing into this "emotionalism" rather than deciding this isn't the way to modernize and democratise?

Our colonial masters thought of us as adult-child and hence needing the colonial masters as the parents. Our current elite, including our masters (political or social or economic) have taken the same page from the colonists and want us to continue that way.

We are regressing.

Arun Maheshwari
Bangalore, India
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