In a major relief to actor Kamal Haasan, the Madras high court on Tuesday night lifted the ban imposed on his movie 'Vishwaroopam' by the Tamil Nadu government after it courted controversy over its alleged anti-Muslim content.
After a day-long hearing, Justice K Venkataraman passed the orders, paving the way for the screening of the movie reportedly made with a budget of nearly Rs 100 crore amid indications that the state government may prefer an appeal.
The court also kept in abeyance prohibitory orders imposed by the District Collectors across the state under section 144 of the CrPC.
The tech-savvy actor was not available for comment. During the hearing, Tamil Nadu government questioned the 'UA' certificate issued for the film and alleged that the certification of films itself was a ‘very big scam’ and sought a probe into it by a law enforcing agency.
Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan said the ‘UA’ certificate to Vishwaroopam was not issued by the Censor Board, but only by an Examining Committee not mandated by provisions of the Constitution.
Rejecting the charge, Additional Solicitor General Wilson said the certification was done by procedure. The application for certification came to the Censor Board on Oct 4, 2012, the film was viewed on Oct 8 and a show cause notice to cut certain scenes sent on October 10, he said.
The cuts were accepted and removed and the final certification given on October 17. Scenes to a running time of 1.08 minutes were cut, he said. Even at a meeting with the home secretary on Dec 23 last, the examining officer said objectionable scenes were deleted from the film, Wilson said.
The Tamil Nadu government had banned the screening of the film in the face of opposition by some Muslim outfits, who claimed that the nearly Rs 100 crore movie portrayed their community in a negative light.