Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam, titled Vishwaroop in its Hindi version, was released in multiplexes and single-screen cinema halls in Uttar Pradesh on Friday, setting at rest speculation about the fate of the film. Barring symbolic protests by activists of some Muslim organisations in Lucknow and Agra, there were no reports of violence from anywhere in the State.

IG (Law and Order) B.P. Singh told journalists that the screening of the film passed off peacefully. Mr. Singh said security had been tightened in malls, multiplexes and single cinemas across the State and there were no major protests.

The film’s fate in the State remained uncertain till Thursday as the Samajwadi Party government feared that its screening would spawn protests.

Some Muslim organisations, including the Islamic Centre of India headed by the Imam of Lucknow’s Aishbagh Idgah, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali, the All-India Sunni Board and the All-India Muslim Youth Federation had demanded that the film not be released, and if at all it was released it should be with cuts.

U.P. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, on a visit to Allahabad on Thursday, said a decision on the movie would be taken after seeing the film. In Kanpur, Samajwadi Party national general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha reportedly said that a special committee would review the film before its release in the State.

However, a decision was taken at the top level late on Thursday night to permit the screening from Friday. Directives were issued to district police chiefs to step up security at malls, multiplexes and cinemas to prevent any untoward incident.