Putting up a brave front in the wake of reports that screening of Vishwaroopam were cancelled abruptly in several parts of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday morning, actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan said he is likely to face bankruptcy for the third time in his life and that if he found no place in the State to continue his profession, he may have to look for a place in any other secular State.
“When [M.F.] Husain can do it, Haasan will do it... I am fed up. I am an artist. After that, I will have to seek a secular State for my stay... secular State from Kashmir to Kerala, excluding Tamil Nadu... Tamil Nadu wants me out,” he said.
In a calm, composed but strong address to the media at his residence in Chennai, Mr. Haasan said he had pledged his entire property for the making of the film and that he had informed his creditors that they can attach all his property if the film did not recover its Rs. 100-crore budget beyond a certain given date.
The actor said he had been apolitical all his life and always encouraged minorities. Several Muslims were his fans and he always encouraged more Muslims in his Narpani Iyakkam. (Mr. Haasan does not have fan clubs. His fans run welfare associations in the name of Kamal Narpani Iyakkam.)
The delay in relief after the legal tangle had caused him substantial loss. But he would wait in the hope of a favourable legal outcome. “This is not the first time I am facing bankruptcy and it will not be the end of my cinematic journey. I went bankrupt when I produced Raja Paarvai (1981) and had to work seven to eight years to come out of the losses. I once again faced bankruptcy in 1986 because of my own doing. However, I have learnt to pick myself up and I will pick myself up again.”
The filmmaker said he did not want to go into the reasons for the delay or the legal problems. “I don’t want to be dragged into politics as that is not my forte.”
He did not entertain any queries after his statement, saying the matter was sub judice. “I have confidence in myself. My arrogance is over my straight-forwardness.”
As reports flowed in the morning about screening of the film being halted in various parts of the State, his fans started gathering outside the Rajkamal Productions’ office.
The crowds continued to swell through the afternoon – when the news broke that the Madras High Court had set aside the single judge order and reinforced the ban on the movie – and stayed on till night, as the actor held hectic discussions with various groups of people.
Mr. Haasan met representatives of the Muslim community, led by Congress MP J.M. Haroon, and told journalists he had agreed to delete the portions that purportedly hurt Muslims. But by this time, it was already evident that the High Court had reinforced the government ban on the film, invoking Section 144 of Cr.P.C.