As the largest democracy, India is a liberal country in which people enjoy the freedom of expression. From that perspective, it is wrong on the part of the Tamil Nadu government to ban Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam. By banning the movie for 15 days, the government will end up giving an opportunity to radical elements, which make issues out of non-issues, to influence their community and politicise the matter.
Shivajyoti Das Baruah,
The Tamil Nadu government’s decision to ban Vishwaroopam for two weeks just a day before it was set to be released is unfair. The cinemas must have spent a lot of money to book the film and thousands of film goers purchased the tickets well in advance. The State should give protection to the theatres rather than ban the film. The film has been cleared by the Censor Board. Any interference at this stage is unwarranted.
C. Lakshmi Narain,
If the logic for banning Vishwaroopam is protecting communal harmony, what about films which have explicit scenes of rape and violence? Are not such films responsible for downgrading our society in general and inculcating immoral values in the minds of the young?
Once again, the release of a film has become controversial based on some unwarranted apprehensions. When the movie has been cleared by the highest approval body, the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to ban it for two weeks (which also means the film will be screened after two weeks) is unjustifiable.
The State government’s reasoning — the release of Vishwaroopam will constitute a threat to law and order — is unfortunate. It has become fashionable for fringe elements rooted in obscurantist ideologies to unleash violence against those who do not subscribe to their views, with elected governments in most cases playing second fiddle to them. The Supreme Court has already said that law and order should not be used as an excuse by the government to ban movies.
The obnoxious trend of banning films in the name of preventing law and order problems at the instance of some fringe elements in all religions is a bane of society as a whole. The government exists only to protect the freedom of expression.
Whether it is Vishwaroopam now or Ore Oru Gramathile then, Tamil Nadu has resorted to knee-jerk reactions. Unconventional films were curtailed during the colonial era. But an elected government should protect cinema which is a powerful medium for the spontaneous expression of divergent views.
Tamil Nadu has seen ban on films earlier too. Kalki’s Thiagaboomi was banned by the British government; and Parasakthi by the Congress government. Kamal Haasan’s Hey Ram also went through anxious moments. However, all the films were released later, upholding the artists’ right to air their views.
A book or film is an artist’s impression about the happenings in society over a period of time, more often a mirror reflecting events happening elsewhere. However, the treatise is imaginary. A religious segment which opposes a creation saying it goes against its tenets is only choking the artist’s freedom. Describing the scenes in a film as being against the whole community of Muslims is not correct. If the trend continues, freedom of expression through any medium may become impossible.