New Delhi: I have not yet seen Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam. I was waiting for its release since the promos went on air. Simply because I like Haasan films. They generally make a political statement. Today, I am all the more eager to watch the movie after the unfortunate controversy and bad publicity over the last week.
I feel sorry for Kamal Haasan. He's a great entertainer and by all accounts a good human being. He simply doesn't deserve to be in all this mess. I am angry that some fringe groups have got the film banned in the name of Muslims of India. In my name. And why should the Tamil Nadu government's insistence on banning the film gives legitimacy to these handful of people as the real voice of the Muslims of India. It's sad.
The Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) President, M.H. Jawahirulla, who watched a special screening of Vishwaroopam, declared that the film is anti-Muslims. No, he actually said it's anti-Tamil Muslims and also anti-Indian Muslims. His logic: the one-eyed villian in the movie, modelled on Taliban chief Mullah Omar, speaks Tamil. What other language is a character in a Tamil film supposed to speak? And what's wrong with showing a terrorist who owes allegiance to Islam in a film on international terrorism?
Don't the Taliban or their comrades in arms in our neighbouring country do all sorts of crazy things in the name of Islam? Of course, the same can be true of people of any other faith. Also, why object to a Muslim agent, played by Haasan, saving USA? Is a good Muslim only supposed to save Muslims? And going by Haasan's illustrious track record, there is no reason to believe that he ventured on a "malign Muslims" project by choosing to locate the story in Afghanistan.
I would rather believe him when he says his film is not anti-Muslim, than Mr Jawahirulla.
It will be in order to mention that the TMMK is an ally of Jaya's AIADMK. But never mind. Even if, all considered, I did take the TMMK chief's word for it - who has given him the right to decide for me? It's for every one of us, the movie-goers, to see the film and decide for ourselves if it is a good film or a bad film. Well, many people hate so many films. If Vishwaroopam fails to impress the people or rubs one section of people the wrong way, so be it. But let it have its life at the box office.
And that's what Kamal Haasan is fighting for. To get his film released. To recover the money spent. To make profits for all those who put their money on him. And that's why he is today ready to cut scenes, apologise, take it all with a smile. Because he is a weak man today. Many may argue that Haasan is giving in to the pressure, but sitting on a 95-crore film, he cannot afford to play an idealist, a crusader.
As for those who believe the film is anti-Muslim, please don't watch it. In any case, as any mullah would tell you, a true Muslim is not supposed to watch films. Films are bad, they are made by bad people for bad people. They can stay home and pray that the film tanks!
I hope the Supreme Court comes to Kamal Haasan's rescue. He certainly doesn't deserve this.
Dear Kamal Haasan, I am a Muslim Indian and I am with you.
Story First Published: January 30, 2013 18:40 IST