Kamal Hassan’s decision to effect a few cuts, some audio mutes and a title card disclaimer has come as a relief to Tamil Nadu’s film lovers, who can now hope to see Vishwaroopam in cinemas soon. But a lot of uncomfortable questions have been left unanswered. If the movie could do without cuts in other States, why did it have to be cut in Tamil Nadu?
The government failed in letting the film be screened in the State. The justice delivery system was slow and inadequate to protect the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution. The Chief Minister’s explanation that the government could not protect all theatres across the State left a lot to be desired.
Yeshu Mishra, Bangalore
In legal parlance, it is said a bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit. This is what happened in the case of Vishwaroopam. Although Kamal Haasan had a good legal case on hand, he opted to compromise with Muslim leaders by agreeing to delete some portions of the film that Islamists took exception to.
K. Pradeep, Chennai
The Vishwaroopam episode is a lesson to filmmakers to exercise caution while portraying their characters, lest they hurt the religious sentiments of a community.
A. Jainulabdeen, Chennai
Islam’s brilliant contributions to science, maths, medicine, astronomy, art and culture are a timeless and precious heritage. The great achievements of Muslim scholars are rarely, if at all, acknowledged. And today their identity and impact remain largely obscure, rather tarnished as terrorists. Given today’s widespread negative stereotyping and falsely generated misunderstanding of Islam and Muslims, the initial ban on Vishwaroopam was important. It was necessary to repair the wrong that was sought to be perpetrated and restore the historical truth.
K.S.M. Shiek Mohammed, Kadayanallur
By agreeing to edit some scenes, Kamal Haasan has validated the concerns raised about his film. “Islamophobia” is the product of media messages. It forces a person to prove that he is not a terrorist only because he bears a Muslim name. Voices demanding freedom of expression have ignored one point — stigmatisation of a large innocent community as terrorists.
Ahammed Junaid Musaliyar, Kozhikode