Actor-director Kamal Haasan has reportedly been asked to edit his mega-budget thriller Vishwaroopam
by nearly an hour to ensure it releases in theatres, say sources, adding that he is unlikely to agree.
The editing was suggested allegedly by representatives of the Tamil Nadu government which banned the film on the eve of its release last week after Muslim groups alleged that the film's portrayal of Muslims is offensive.
The Madras High Court has not rescinded the ban so far. A judge who watched the film on the weekend advised Kamal Haasan, who has also produced the film, to settle amicably with the government. The court is expected to rule tomorrow on whether the ban should be lifted.
The actor has described the ban as "cultural terrorism" and had said that, "Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose."
The censor board, which cleared the film, has also criticised the state government's intervention. "Even if there is any discrimination or any such against a community we are here to raise our voice even before the state government. Once we certify, I think the public should be allowed to watch the movie," said Leela Samson, Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification.
The controversy around the 95-crore film dogged its release in other southern states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
"Depending upon the way in which the judgment goes, the loss will be between Rs 55-80 crore. We don't know if the theatre will take up the movies, this is a matter of law. If the movie had to hurt the sentiments of any community, we wouldn't have made it," said Chandra Haasan, the film's producer and Kamal Haasan's brother.
Hardcore fans of the actor from Tamil Nadu have been taking buses to watch Vishwaroopam
in neighbouring Kerala where some cinemas managed to show the film.