Screening of controversial Indian film put on hold

January 25, 2013 - 3:12:16 am

A notice, saying the screening of the Tamil film Vishwaroopam has been postponed, outside the Gulf Cinema, yesterday.      Salim Matramkot 

by Fazeena Saleem 

DOHA: Several Asian film buffs were disappointed last evening as the controversial Indian film Vishwaroopam was withdrawn from the cinemas in Doha. 

They had to return from the cinema only knowing that the screening of the film has been cancelled without prior notice. A small notice was displayed outside the cinemas. 

Screening was cancelled soon after a court in India yesterday stayed it until January 28. 

The court will watch the film on Saturday and pass further orders, according to reports. 

The film was scheduled to be screened thrice at the Gulf Cinema, and was cancelled soon after the distributors decided to withdraw it. 

“It was a decision by the distribution company to withdraw the film,” said A Moshen El Mokadem, General Manager, Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution Company. He refrained from answering further questions related to the screening. 

Actor and director Kamal Hassan’s long-waited film caused considerable controversy following strong protests by various Muslim organisations, which felt that their community had been portrayed in a negative way and demanded it be banned.  They  claimed, “it will affect social harmony.” 

Although there were reports saying the film would be banned in Gulf countries, there were  no official announcement about such a ban. According to the screening schedule released by Qatar Cinema and Film Distribution Company for yesterday and published in newspapers,  Vishwaroopam was supposed to have been shown at 5.30pm at the Gulf Cinema yesterday.

“We went to the cinema, only to find out that the film is not being screened, hope it will be shown soon,” said an Indian expatriate, who went to watch it with friends. 

Another film buff said: “It’s disappointing, there should have been some prior notice. Now I’m keener to watch the film.” 

When contacted, the Gulf Cinema confirmed to The Peninsula that many people came yesterday to watch Vishwaroopam.  The film, made with a budget of `950m, is not aimed to hurt any sentiments, said  Hassan in a statement yesterday, prior to the court order. 

The Peninsula