‘Vishwaroopam’ ban: What was the hullabaloo all about?

By Gayatri Sankar | Updated: Feb 02, 2013, 09:27 AM IST

Gayatri Sankar

Kamal Haasan might have faced the toughest times of his professional life after his ambitious project ‘Vishwaroopam’ worth several crores was banned in Tamil Nadu and its screening interrupted at various other states following protests from certain sections of the society.

With the Hindi version of the movie releasing Friday, as a lover of cinema I grabbed a ticket at the nearest screen showing the film.

What I found was that the film is a spy thriller and shows terror outfits masterminding attacks on the US, which has the least to do with hurting religious sentiments.

The film showcases the lives of terror mongers whose only mission is to destroy life and disrupt peaceful co-existence. Terror knows no barrier of faith, language or caste and hence all those who trigger war must be condemned.

Not that ‘Vishwaroopam’ is the only film based on terrorism. Sadly, Kamal Haasan’s film bore the brunt of “cultural terrorism” that has raised objections to the way he wanted to narrate a story the way he intended.

Perspectives of different people differ and rightfully so. But the onus of taking things in the right spirit and to not misinterpret something that may or may not be symbolic depends on an individual. Nonetheless, a film is nothing but a piece of art that does need creative freedom for expression. ‘Vishwaroop’ comes across as a brilliant story on celluloid that is visually appealing and intelligently produced. Kamal Haasan has put in a great deal of effort to assemble this piece of art and make it worthy of being seen and applauded.

With political personalities coming to resolve the matter that flared up after the Tamil Nadu government imposed a ban on the screening of the film, only showed that even a democratic set up fails to do justice to a citizen who is at no fault.

"I have not shown bad Muslims in my film. The good Muslims in my film are Indian Muslims and the bad ones are terrorists," Kamal Haasan had said while addressing reporters.

An emotionally charged and a visibly hurt Haasan had added, “In anger and in an emotional outburst I had said I will leave the country. But if this happens again, I will seriously leave. I was angry (when I spoke earlier) and I am still angry”.

Nonetheless, with negotiations in place, the fate of the film in Tamil Nadu is lying suspended on a tightrope. And with Haasan agreeing to remove content that looks “objectionable” to the people who opposed the release of the film, the least a fan could do is to pray for his idol.

The nation cannot afford to lose a national treasure, who has contributed immensely as an artiste and a responsible citizen. Haasan, is perhaps the only celebrity to have converted his fan club into a welfare organisation that works for the poor and the needy and has even pledged to donate his organs. For someone who is known for being thoroughly secular, such treatment does look unjust.

In simple words, ‘Vishwaroop’ does not throw poor light on any faith even remotely. At least that’s what I found.