After being mired neck-deep in controversy for over a week, filmmaker and actor Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam emerged in the clear for a theatrical release in Tamil Nadu, where it was blocked by a State government ban.
Stepping out from a five-hour-long deliberation with Muslim organisations opposed to the film’s release, at the Secretariat on Saturday evening, the actor said he had agreed to carry out a list of cuts to the content and would apprise the Central Board of Film Certification of the changes, and then decide upon a release date.
“I thank the State government for facilitating the talks and allowing both sides to reach an amicable settlement. After the talks with the Muslim groups, we have mutually agreed on certain changes to the content. I have also explained to them the technological challenges in agreeing to certain requests. Everything has been sorted out.”
The actor was accompanied by his brother S. Chandrahasan to the meeting. On behalf of the Muslim organisations — 15 persons representing the Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslims Social and Political Organisation and Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath — participated in the meeting. Tamil Nadu Home Secretary R. Rajagopal oversaw the tripartite meeting. At the end of the marathon meeting that went on till 8 p.m., Kamal Haasan, on behalf of Rajkamal Films International, gave a written undertaking to the Muslim groups to carry out the cuts agreed upon.
In his concluding remarks to the media, the actor said: “We have decided to withdraw our petition in the case [in the Madras High Court]. I am hopeful that the government would lift the ban.”
While the actor did not dwell on the nature of changes, representatives of the Muslim organisations who participated in the meeting said that in all, seven cuts, a few audio mutes and a title card disclaimer had been agreed upon. Speaking to The Hindu, M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA of the Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi, the political wing of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, said the Muslim organisations submitted a 15-point charter of demands and both sides had presented their views. Those who participated included Mohammed Munir and R. Rahamatullah of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath and Mohammed Hanifa on behalf of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslims Social and Political Organisation.