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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

State govt trampling Kamal Haasan's freedom of expression: Mahesh Bhatt

PTI  Mumbai, January 30, 2013
First Published: 20:31 IST(30/1/2013) | Last Updated: 20:38 IST(30/1/2013)

Reacting to the controversy surrounding Kamal Haasan's movie Vishwaroopam, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Wednesday appealed to the film fraternity to stand up for the southern superstar who he feels has become the victim of "state terrorism".

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"According to me, Kamal Haasan is the victim of state terrorism. I don't think the release of the film can be stopped by any state government using the excuse of law and order to trample on his right to freedom of expression," Bhatt said during a media interaction here.

In a setback to the embattled actor, the screening of Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu was stayed by the Madras high court on Wednesday even as the actor agreed to delete certain scenes considered offensive by Muslim outfits.

Bhatt said it was a "tragedy" especially for an artist living in the state like Tamil Nadu, where personalities from film industries had often been at the helm.

"It's a tragedy as in Tamil Nadu where politicians like MGR, Karunanidhi came from film industry. Even present chief minister began her journey from the world of movies. If you have a chief minister who doesn't feel the sense of outrage for an artiste then where will we go," Bhatt said.

He said people should reflect upon whether law and order exists in the country.

"Are we living in a state where there is no law and order? This is a question which not only a filmmaker but people of India must be asking," Bhatt said.

Referring to the problems encountered by Haasan in pulling out the release of his film, Bhatt rued that it was ironical that the actor had to "beg" before various stake-holders even though institutions like high court and Censor Board are very much there.

Terming Haasan as an "asset", Bhatt said the need of the hour was entertainers raise their voice and support for the actor.

"This is the time when each entertainer has to raise his voice and be on his side. It's a very dark moment of our history. Each and every person would fight for Haasan's justice," he said, adding that celebrities are fast becoming "soft targets", referring to the recent controversy surrounding actor Shah Rukh's article.


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