The release of Kamal Haasan’s controversial film Vishwaroopam, scheduled for Sunday in Karnataka, has been put on hold pending clearance from police in the wake of protests against its screening in some places of the state

The film was slated to be released in 40 theatres across the state, including 12 in the city. But its opening was delayed as Bangalore Police Commissioner Jyothiprakash Mirji wanted to view it before giving the nod for its screening, sole distributor of the multi-lingual movie in the state H D Gangaraju said.

Mr. Mirji watched the Rs 100 crore budget film at a special screening this afternoon but is yet to convey his decision, Gangaraju said.

The film, facing a two week-ban in Tamil Nadu due to its alleged anti-Muslim content, hit screens worldwide on January 25 but its release was deferred in Karnataka till today following a police suggestion in view of “Milad-un-Nabi” and Republic Day.

However, Mr. Mirji on Sunday expressed his wish to view the film before giving permission for its release in view of a group clash in Bhadravathi on Saturday over the screening of the film, Gangaraju, also a former President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, said.

Tension gripped Bhadravathi town in Shimoga district when two groups clashed over the screening of the film, prompting police to use canes to disperse them.

The district administration had imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC for 48 hours in the town.