A judge from the Madras High Court will watch Kamal Haasan's mega-budget thriller Vishwaroopam today to review a two-week ban imposed on the film by the Tamil Nadu government.
Although the censor board had cleared the film and it was slated for release yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government put it on hold on January 23. It cited law and order concerns following protests held by several groups against the film's portrayals of Muslims.
Actor-director Kamal Haasan has described the ban as "cultural terrorism" and the movie as "Muslim-friendly." Following a petition filed by him, the Madras High Court on Thursday refused to rescind the ban but said that a judge would review the movie over the weekend; a verdict could be delivered at the next hearing on Monday.
Yesterday, southern superstar Rajinikanth appealed to Muslim groups to work with Kamal Haasan by suggesting changes that would not "affect the storyline." Lobbying against the ban on the film, he said, "I have known Kamal for 40 years. He would not hurt anyone."
Vishwaroopam blackout has spread from Tamil Nadu to other cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore. The movie was initially released in Andhra Pradesh yesterday, but the distributor later decided to cancel screenings in the state capital of Hyderabad. The film did not show at all in Bangalore. Distributors in both cities said they did not want to provoke any violence.
While Vishwaroopam is temporarily banned in Tamil Nadu, Kamal Haasan is in the US for the movie's release there and its promotion; he is expected to return in a couple of days.