Declining to stay a two-week ban imposed by the Tamil Nadu government on the screening of "Vishwaroopam", the Madras high court on Thursday restricted the film's release till January 28. A judge will see the movie on January 26 and decided on its fate.
Made in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi,
"Vishwaroopam", which deals about the adversities of war, is produced and directed by Kamal Haasan who has also acted in it. It was scheduled to release Friday, but the government imposed curbs following protest from Muslim groups.
"The final verdict on the release of 'Vishwaroopam' will be announced on Jan 28. Justice K. Venkatraman will watch the film on Jan 26 and will deliver final verdict on Jan 28," a lawyer said.
The Tamil and Telugu versions were slated for a Friday release, while the Hindi version, titled "Vishwaroop", is scheduled to come out Feb 1.
Earlier on the day, the actor-filmmaker moved the high court after the Tamil Nadu government stalled the screening of his fim Vishwaroopam for fifteen days.
The star said that he is "apalled how my film is construed against Muslim brothers".
He said that the circumstances leading to the ban were akin to cultural terrorism and added he was a victim of celebrity bashing.
"I am not only hurt by these accusations of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted.
"I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happenning again and again," Kamal Haasan said.
He added that he would "now rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop."
Expressing anguish over the developments he said, "I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers."
"My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathiser. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organisation called Harmony India which works for Hindu Muslim amity," he said to remind people of his secular credentials.
Actor-director Kamal Haasan addressing media persons regarding his movie Vishwaroopam at his residance in Chennai. PTI/R Senthil Kumar
The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday night banned the screening of Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam following strong protests from various Muslim organisations over alleged depiction of their community in a negative light.
Official sources said the state government has asked the respective district collectors to invoke necessary legal provisions to maintain law and order.
The ban came hours after the Muslim groups petitioned the government, seeking a ban.
A group of 20-odd organisations under a common banner submitted a memorandum to home secretary R Rajagopal to press for their demand, a day after taking up the matter with city police.
MH Jawahirullah, MLA and president of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, told reporters that the movie "targets Muslims and their beliefs".
Mohammed Haneefa, coordinator of Federation of Islamic Movements and Political Parties, said the community would not accept such portrayal even if certain scenes are deleted.
"We intend to register our apprehensions that release of the film with (even) deleted scenes or changes will affect the social harmony and all-round peace in the state," he said.
The move comes days after Haasan, who directs and stars in the movie, held a special show for them.
The big budget movie has been made in Tamil, Hindi and Telegu.
Haasan has already clarified that Muslims are not shown in a objectionable manner in the film but that has failed to soothe frayed tempers of the community, which blames him of having a history of doing so in earlier films like Hey Ram and Unnai Pol Oruvan, the latter a remake of Hindi hit A Wednesday.
Hassan had played the role of Naseruddin Shah in the original.
Haasan has been facing lot of hurdles with his latest movie, which has been made on a huge budget.
His decision to show it on a DTH platform ahead of its theatrical release was faced with strong protests by screen-owners recently.
He was forced to drop his plans to have a DTH premiere first after the protests but moved the Competition Commission of India against Tamil Nadu theatre owners for allegedly restricting the release.
(With IANS, PTI inputs)
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