Screening withdrawn in four districts following protests

The screening of Kamal Hassan’s latest film Vishwaroopam was stopped at many centres in the State on Friday following protests that it depicted a section of the people in bad light.

Kerala Cine Exhibitors Association president V.Mohanan told The Hindu that the screening of the film at Perumbavoor was stopped after noon and matinee shows in the wake of protests by a group of people.

“All those who came for the two shows could not find anything objectionable in the film and they enjoyed it but we were forced to stop the screening following threats from a group of people that they will torch the theatre on screening it again. The police also expressed their helplessness in giving protection and advised us to avoid provocation,” Mr.Mohanan said.

The protests were spreading in Palakkad, Kozhikode, Idukki and Kollam districts, Mr.Mohanan said.

The film has been withdrawn from theatres in Ernakulam district, along with that in Kozhikode, Idukki and Kollam, after protests were reported from areas where it was screened. A case was registered against protesters who stoned the cinema hall at Paravur and another incident of violence was reported from Nedumkandam in Idukki. Protests were reported from various other centres like Perumbavoor in rural district. Activists of the Popular Front of India held a protest march at Menaka Junction in Kochi.

Producer and chairman of the Kerala State Indigent Artistes Welfare Fund chairman G.Suresh Kumar said the protest against the screening of the film was nothing but intolerance and should not be allowed to continue. “The film was cleared by the censor board after a through scrutiny and the protests saying that it will disrupt communal harmony are completely baseless and should not be entertained,” Mr.Suresh Kumar said.

Kerala Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sanghom general secretary V.N. Murali said Kamal Hassan was a prominent secularist and preventing the screening of his film was only an attempt to thwart the freedom of expression and creation. The protests smacked of cultural fascism, Mr.Murali said. The Cine Exhibitors Federation, which has 300 ‘A’ class theatres, decided to boycott the release in protest against Kamal Hassan’s decision to air the film through DTH a week after the release.

Eight arrested

Staff Reporter adds from Palakkad: The screening of the film was disrupted in 10 out of the 12 B-class theatres.

The Chittur police arrested eight persons who took out a t march to Chithranjali theatre against the film screening.