‘The good Muslims in the film are Indians’

Thanking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for offering to break the impasse over the release of his film Vishwaroopam, actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan on Thursday virtually ruled out moving the Supreme Court on revoking the Madras High Court order that stayed the film’s release.

“I thank the Chief Minister. I am grateful to her. She has been kind enough to offer her help... now that she has helped us why should we go [to the Supreme Court]…I do not want to carry coals to Newcastle,” he said at a press conference here after the premiere of the Hindi version of the film, which was released here.

"She is an artist, she has understood, she has come forward. I am grateful,” he said.

On the issue of Muslims opposing his film, the actor said that for him, there was no religion. “For me there are only people. I really do love them [the Muslim community]. I request India — my Muslim brothers, Christian brothers, Sikh brothers to avoid such things. We have so much more to do to take India forward.”

Describing the support he got from the Muslim community as “unbelievable,” Mr. Haasan lauded his fans for being together through thick and thin with him.

“I am touched by the overwhelming support,” he remarked.

He further sought to know why he was being accused of hatred. “I mean no harm. The film [Vishwaroopam] is not about hurting Muslims. The good Muslims in the film are Indians and bad Muslims are terrorists who are not from India…I do not want to paint terrorism in any colour,” he said.

Muslims who were arrested for holding protests against the film were misled by rabble rousers, said Mr. Haasan.

“Kamal Haasan has never been accused of painting the Muslims in bad light. Islam is not targeting me...it is the politics...it is not religion,” he said.

The actor also thanked the media and the film fraternity profusely for extending their support to him on the Vishwaroopam controversy.

“In anger...in an emotional outburst, I said that I will leave the country. It does not mean I will do it... I enjoy the glory and fame. But if this happens again, I will seriously think of leaving. I am serious,” he said.

Asked whether the controversy on the film would push up box office receipts, Mr. Haasan said: “It is very silly to say I got good publicity; India did not get good publicity. What is the use of me getting good publicity when India's name is being dragged in the muck?”