Jayalalithaa asks Kamal Hassan to make deal with Muslim leaders

February 01, 2013 - 11:54:21 am

Bollywood film actor, producer and director Kamal Hassan addressing a press conference on the controversy surrounding his new film Vishwaroopam in Mumbai, yesterday.

Chennai/Mumbai: A day before the Hindi version of Vishwaroopam is set for release, actor-producer Kamal Hassan yesterday thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa after she explained at length why she imposed a 15-day ban on the espionage thriller.

The versatile actor told the media that although he was angry when he threatened on Wednesday to quit India, he would certainly leave the country if similar protests enveloped his movies.

Kamal Hassan’s brother Chandra Hassan as well as Tamil filmmaker Ameer Sultan meanwhile met Muslim leaders in Chennai, a day after Kamal Hassan promised to cut parts of the Tamil-Telugu film that critics say portray the community in poor light. There was a ray of hope for the `950m film’s release in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa made it clear that Vishwaroopam was banned only due to fears of violent protests and not because of any grudge against the actor-producer Kamal Hassan.

“I have no personal grudge, no personal interest in banning the movie,” the actor-turned-chief minister said, adding she knew nothing of the movie until it became controversial.

Reeling out statistics, she said it would have been impossible to provide police protection to all 524 cinemas in Tamil Nadu where the multilingual film was to be released on January 25 after Muslims announced a wave of protests. She said her government could have banned the movie completely but it banned it only for 15 days so that tempers could cool down and both Kamal Hassan and Muslim groups could reach an agreement.

 She pointed out that it had also been also banned in Qatar, the UAE, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore. “Was I responsible for all that?” She said Muslim leaders had told her that they were ready to accept the film now as Kamal Hassan had agreed to delete some portions they had found objectionable on religious grounds.

“If Muslim leaders and Kamal Hassan work out an amicable agreement, the government will do everything possible to facilitate that ... and the deck will be cleared for screening the movie.”

Kamal Hassan has written, produced and directed the movie and also features in the title role in Vishwaroopam, which revolves around an Al Qaeda plot and an Indian couple in the US. But the chief minister found fault with Kamal Hassan for not showing the movie early on to the Muslim critics.IANS