After a stoic silence, support grew for Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam on Saturday from both the political arena and the film fraternity in Tamil Nadu.
In a statement here, similar in tone to actor Rajinikanth’s remarks made on Friday, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi advocated an amicable resolution to the controversy through talks.
Pattali Makkal Katchi leader S. Ramadoss strongly opposed the State government ban on the movie and suspected that it was “politically-motivated.”
Making a case for a settlement without delay, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was undeniable that both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth had respect and regard for Muslims.
Dr. Ramadoss said the actor, who had worked for Hindu-Muslim unity, could not have made a film that hurt the feelings of Muslims. In a statement, he said it was Kamal Haasan who strongly condemned the anti-Muslim riots in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and appealed to the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, to take stringent measures to prevent communal riots. “He is a member of Harmony India and is involved in many goodwill measures to promote Hindu-Muslim unity in the country.”
Dr. Ramadoss said there was a “political motive” behind the ban since the State government had imposed it without consulting anyone, even though the Central Board of Film Certification had cleared the movie for release.
In a scathing letter, veteran director Bharathiraaja lamented the silence on the part of prominent players of the Tamil film industry and called upon everyone to stand united in support of Kamal Haasan. It is “not just a ban faced by Kamal Haasan. I consider it a ban on the freedom of expression of every creative artist in the country,” he said.
Actor Ajith Kumar issued a statement in support of Vishwaroopam.
Meanwhile, Justice K. Venkataraman of the Madras High Court, who is hearing Raajkamal Films’ plea for lifting the ban, viewed Vishwaroopam t o ascertain whether the film affected religious sentiments and to decide whether it was fit for release. Along with the judge, A. Navaneethakrishnan, Advocate-General; P.S. Raman, senior counsel for the petitioners and R. Sankarasubbu, counsel for Muslim leaders, watched the movie screened at a preview theatre here.
Justice Venkataraman had on Thursday posted his final orders for Monday (January 28).