Upset over the hurdles caused by the ban on the release of mega budget Vishwaroopam, an emotional Kamal Haasan on Wednesday said Tamil Nadu does not want him to stay in the state and he might seek a "secular" place in the country or overseas.
"When M F Hussain can do it, Kamal Haasan will do it... I am fed up. I am an artiste. After that, I will have to seek a secular state for my stay... Secular state from Kashmir to Kerala, excluding Tamil Nadu... Tamil Nadu wants me out," he said in a choked voice as the fate of the movie is still to be decided in the court.
The actor said he had pledged all his property to make the trilingual movie, estimated to have cost around Rs. 100 crore. He said he might lose his house because of the losses incurred by the delay in the release of the movie.
Haasan said he was still to get interim relief as the film shows were "started and stopped" by police on Wednesday, who sought a physical copy of the single judge's order passed last night, giving clearance of the film.
"...But I believe that along with my Muslim friends, I have been instrument in a political game. I don't know who is playing and not even hazarding the guess. The fact remains that my history has proven that I have been neither leaning to the left or right but trying to maintain my position," Haasan said.
He said he would wait for the judgement of the Madras high court where the Tamil Nadu government today moved swiftly to file an appeal against the interim relief given by the single judge.
"Now I shall wait for the afternoon judgement but after this... I think I will have to see a secular state for me to stay in. I have nothing to lose. I might as well choose a place which would house an artiste like me.
"I will learn in another couple of days whether I will be able to find a secular state in India or not. I will find, hopefully, another country which is secular that might take me in," Haasan said.
The Rs. 95 crore espionage thriller was originally scheduled to release in Tamil and Telugu on January 25. However, a day before the screenings, the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban on the film after some Muslim groups complained that some scenes in it portrayed the community in bad light.
Haasan, 58, described the ban as "cultural terrorism" and added: "Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose."
Vishwaroopam was banned from being screened in Kerala, parts of Hyderabad, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on January 25, soon after the first show.
The film resumed playing in as many as 40 theatres amidst police security in Karnataka Tuesday morning. It was released with the tagline included in the credits, "All Muslims are not terrorists and the characters depicted in this film are imaginary".
Distributors and theatre owners who had to take off the film fear losses of up to Rs. 30 crore and above.
Here are key quotes from his press conference:
With PTI inputs