New Delhi: 'Vishwaroopam' is supposed to be released on February 1 in Hindi, but going by the latest controversy, its release doesn't seem possible even on February 6. When an emotional Kamal Haasan says, "I'll look for another country if I don't find a secular place in India," he actually wants to make a statement against the religious intolerance.
Bone of contention:
Some Muslim organisations think that the film shows the community in a poor light, and thus they decided to suggest a ban on 'Vishwaroopam'.
The film released in United States and Canada on January 25 with English subtitles. The 95 crore film also released in Karnataka on January 25 but was banned from screening after the first show. It is still to be released in Tamil Nadu as the matter is still sub-judice.
Information from available sources says that 'Vishwaroopam' is a story about a man Vishwanath (Kamal Haasan) who has a very dubious identity. A little ravelling into his past discloses that he is connected to a dreaded terrorist Omar (Rahul Bose). The story takes a turn and it becomes a cat-mouse game between the terrorist groups and authorities to diffuse a Cesium bomb which can destroy New York.
The reactions from the people who have seen the film in Karnataka suggest that terrorists use the old city of Hyderabad as a hide-out. Muslims live in large numbers in this area.
This is not the first time when any of Kamal Haasan's films has invited controversy. When 'Hey Ram' released in 2000, some religious groups protested the content of the film. 'Hey Ram', which was India's official entry to the Oscars, depicted the assignation of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse.
At that time, protesters said that Haasan is playing with the facts but later all the objections proved to be meaningless when 'Hey Ram' evolved as a well-constructed film.
Similarly, 'Dashavataaram' (2008) was criticised by some Hindu groups because of its depiction of Saivaites and Vaishnavites and their clashes. Once again, the film proved out to be a balanced one on its release.
The irony of the matter is that today when some Muslim organisations are voicing their dissents, the groups which one opposed 'Dashavataram' are supporting Haasan.
The so called 'freedom of speech' comes into play everytime any such controversy catches fire without realising that it's the hardliners who are actually enjoying the privilege of saying anything to anyone and getting away with it.
The importance of Censor Board has become a questionable thing in itself, what's the point of having a committee if everything has to be decided on roads only. The state governments that have problems with 'Vishwaroopam' need to acknowledge the value of CBFC, and they are there to protect the value judgement of the board rather than overruling it.
The democracy has its own importance when certain groups try to make their opposition felt but how can one criticize a film just because it has shown a terrorist living in a particular area. Shouldn't an ideal government strive for giving choices than hindering the release of a problematic film?