Vishwaroopam: Rajinikanth backs Kamal Haasan
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Friday came out in support of actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan and urged Muslim groups in Tamil Nadu to help him release spy thriller 'Vishwaroopam' which is facing a government ban in the state.
"I am very upset about the developments in the Vishwaroopam issue. I have known Kamal for 40 years now. I know Kamal would not hurt anyone. From the very fact he showed the movie to Islamic community says he respects them," Rajinikanth said in a statement.
"Kamal is no ordinary artiste but an extraordinary one who can take Tamil cinema to new levels," he said.
The Tamil superstar urged Muslim 'friends' to "sit with Haasan and discuss the issue and allow its release without affecting its storyline".
The Madrash High Court on Thursday ruled that 'Vishwaroopam', facing a government ban, cannot release till at least Monday.
The movie, which was supposed to be released on Friday before running into opposition by groups protesting its "anti-Muslim content" and being banned by the government, will have to be reviewed by a judge on Saturday, media reports said.
Till the judge comes up with a verdict on the Rs 95-crore movie on Monday, the ban will stay in place.
Meanwhile, the film was not screened in other south Indian cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore on Friday.
"Many theatres in Bangalore and Hyderabad cancelled morning and noon shows ofKamal Haasan movie 'Vishwarooopam' on Friday after authorities requested them to help avoid law and order problems on a day when Muslims celebrate the Milad-un-Nabi festival," The Times of India reported.
Haasan on Thursday had moved the Madras High Court and filed a petition after the Tamil Nadu government banned the screening Vishwaroopam for fifteen days.
In a statement issued by Haasan against the ban order, the actor on Thursday said: "I am not only hurt by these accusations of denigrating a community but my sensibilities are truly insulted."
"While I am touched by the voices in support for me and my film, I am appalled at how my film is construed to be against my Muslim brothers," Haasan said.
"My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathizer. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organization called Harmony India which worked for Hindu Muslim amity," he said.
"I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose," Haasan said.
The state government banned the film after Muslim groups objected to its screening after a special screening for them.
'Vishwaroopam' is written, directed and co-produced by Haasan that features him in the lead role.
The film also has Pooja Kumar, Rahul Bose, Andrea Jeremiah and Jaideep Ahlawat in supporting roles.
The film was shot in many locations, including largely in USA, while sets resembling Afghanistan were constructed in Chennai.