Chennai: Actor Kamal Haasan will find out today if his film Vishwaroopam, which was banned by the Tamil Nadu government, can release in the state. At a press conference this afternoon, the Tamil superstar said that he wants to live in a secular state, even if that means leaving India.
Here are 10 big developments in this story:
- The Madras High Court is expected to decide this afternoon whether Vishwaroopam is a threat to communal harmony and should screen in Tamil Nadu.
- Last night, a judge of the Madras High Court who reviewed Vishwaroopam cancelled a two-week ban on the film introduced last week by the government.
- The government has appealed against that verdict. Some Muslim groups in Tamil Nadu allege that the film's portrayal of Muslims is offensive and derogatory.
- Kamal Haasan, who acts in the 95-crore film which he has also directed and produced, said he has pledged his house and other properties to a money-lender. His lawyers have stressed in court that the film is losing crores everyday because it has not released in Tami Nadu cinemas.
- Kamal Haasan said he is being used "as an instrument in a political game."
- He refuted allegations that his film is anti-Muslim and said that if India cannot prove itself to be secular, he will move to another country. "Husain did it, now Haasan will do it," he said, referring to the artist MF Husain, who was forced to move abroad after protests and threats by right-wing extremists.
- The actor reassured his fans that no matter where he is, he will make Tamil films. "It is the only thing I am good at," he joked, one of the few light moments in his press conference.
- The film was cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification, headed by Leela Samson. She said the government's intervention equals an infringement of the constitutional right to freedom of expression.
- Neighbouring states in South India were also jittery about the film, but it released on Tuesday in Karnataka with clearance from the police.
- In countries like the US and UK, the film is running houseful.