: The Madras High Court on Tuesday turned down a plea for a direction to the Central and State Governments and the Central Board of Film Certification to ban the Kamal Hassan-starrer ‘Vishwaroopam’ in its present form throughout the country until the film is edited to be in conformity with the guidelines under XII and XIII of the Cinematograph Act.
“This is the second attempt to stall the release of the movie, Vishwaroopam,” the First Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice M.Venugopal said in its order dismissing the petition.
The petitioner, C. Jebakumar George, said that after watching the movie at Thiruvananthapuram on January 27, he was shocked to find many scenes to be very violent and derogative of religions and races. The petitioner’s counsel said because of the screening of the film, great prejudice had been caused to Christians in India. The CBFC’s Examination Committee had a Muslim representative, but none to represent Christians due to which, without knowing their sentiments, the panel had certified the film with the scenes offending the community.
Counsel for Rajkamal Films International submitted that the objection raised by the petitioner was not maintainable in view of the Supreme Court judgment in S. Rangarajan Vs P.Jagjivan Ram and others. When a similar issue was raised before the Supreme Court with respect to the release of the film “Ore Oru Gramathile,” a three-judge Bench held that the Censor Board as per Sections 5 A and 5 B of the Cinematograph Act after examination of the film while forming the opinion about its suitability for certification, should consider only the main theme and not the stray sentences or isolated passages. The Bench said it was of the considered opinion that the authorities constituted under the Act had gone into the matter and while forming an opinion, had considered the main theme, as held by the Supreme Court, and not the stray sentences or isolated passages and certified the film. Pursuant to a dispute, there was an understanding arrived at between the Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslims Social and Political Organisations and others and Vishwaroopam’s producer and director with the State Government, to release the film after agreeing for seven mutes. “After such a consensus and when the film is scheduled to be released in Tamil Nadu, having already been released in other parts of the country, the petitioner files the present writ petition, to ban the movie throughout the country, wherein we see no genuineness.”