The Tamil Nadu government deserves praise for its mature decision to facilitate a dialogue in order to settle the row over film Vishwaroopam peacefully. It remains to be seen how the brokered peace translates into reality. The issue has brought into focus the role of the censor board. Why did the matter assume such proportions that groups agitating against the release of the film had to set the limits of ‘decency’ through negotiations? Should the authorities have been more sensitive before certifying the film as fit for viewing?
S.A. Thameemul Ansari, Kayalpatnam
It is perhaps the huge money involved that made Kamal Haasan agree to a compromise. Now that the ban on the film has been lifted, other issues have come to the fore. Is the Central Board of Film Certification relevant?
When a question of law arises, it is better that the highest court of the land pass a binding verdict so that there are no more calls for negotiations by guardians of sentiments. Let principles of theism, atheism and agnosticism freely flourish in our land, guided by the rule of law. Freedom of expression may not be absolute in a ‘fragile’ democracy as ours. But “the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened,” as John F. Kennedy rightly said.
A. Victor Frank, Chennai
No religion can be demolished by a film. But that is not a licence to tarnish a religion in the name of anti-terrorism campaign. Terrorism has no religion. Therefore, tagging it with a religion cannot be justified.
T.K. Abdul Rasheed, Kozhikode
The movie is running worldwide and in other States of the country without any cuts. The purported report of Muslim unrest only in Tamil Nadu begs the question: who are these Muslims? Who do they represent? What right do they have to claim to be the voice of the Muslim populace at large?
Mushtaqh Ali, Chennai
I do not agree that Kamal Haasan has validated the concerns of fringe Muslim groups by agreeing to make a few cuts in the film (Letters, Feb. 4). He did so against his wishes to avoid bankruptcy. He would have certainly won the case if he had gone to the Supreme Court. But whether he would have succeeded in screening the film in Tamil Nadu is anybody’s guess.
Vishwaroopam is running in Kerala and U.P. which have a sizeable Muslim population. Muslim groups in Tamil Nadu alone raised objections. One wonders whether there were ulterior motives in protesting against the film.
K.L. Bhaskaran, Coimbatore
As one who lived in Kerala for many years, I can say with certainty that nobody there takes a serious view of actors and films. That explains why Vishwaroopam did not encounter any problems there. Tamil actors develop their fan following to feather their own nest, and rope their fans in to vanquish opposition, if any. In a few weeks, Kamal Haasan will earn huge money on his investment and laugh all the way to the bank. What social contribution he will make from the profits is to be seen.
T.M. Renganathan, Srirangam
I live in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto. I drove 50 km in the unsparing winter to see the unedited version of Vishwaroopam. I wanted to see the film for myself to know what the fuss is all about. The trip was indeed worth the trouble. As far as I could see, the film is a portrayal of international political realities as they exist.
It is really sad that the Tamil Nadu government played along with retrograde forces and banned the film initially. Certain environments encourage creativity and certain others discourage it. Perhaps, there lies the distinction between the western world and the India of today.
Shankar Swaminathan, Mississauga
This refers to the argument that the stigmatisation of a large innocent community as terrorists (Letters, Feb. 4) is the making of the media. The media cannot create things out of nothing. ‘Islamophobia’ is not the product of media messages alone. Terrorism is a reality with its impact on every human being. The media is a mirror held against the truth.
A.C. Jinil, Malappuram