The Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal governments came under pressure from Muslim groups to ban the release of Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam, even as Maharashtra braced for the film’s release on Friday.
The ruling Samajwadi Party in UP indicated it might ban the film if it portrayed any community in poor light. “If it’s a pure entertainer, we have no problems. Otherwise, all options including a ban are a possibility,” said SP general secretary Asrey Kushwaha.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said in Allahabad the government would take a stand after watching the film. “Until we have watched it, it’s difficult to say anything.” In 2011, the then BSP government had allowed the release of Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan — which showed the issue of reservation in educational institutions — only after ensuring that “objectionable” portions were removed.
In Kolkata, a day after writer Salman Rushdie was prevented from attending a book fair, the government found itself pressured again. Muslim leaders who spoke to CM Mamata Banerjee about the film claimed she had assured them minority sentiments would be respected.
In Mumbai, the police promised to provide protection to theatres screening the film.