SRK, Nagarjuna support Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam
Members of the film fraternity, including Shah Rukh Khan, have spoken out in support of Kamal Haasan over the controversy surrounding the release of his film Vishwaroopam.
After the Madras High Court cleared the film's release in a verdict last night, the Tamil Nadu government filed an appeal against the interim order by a single judge.
The film's screening has been started and stopped in various parts of Tamil Nadu, with an emotional Haasan saying he
would leave the state in search of a "secular" place after incurring losses due to the delay in the mega-budget project's release.
Here's what the film fraternity said in support of Kamal Haasan, and his film Vishwaroopam:
Shah Rukh Khan: We have all gone through this, we have all faced this. To say the least, it is the most unfortunate thing to happen to a film. I have done this for Billu Barber, Om Shanti Om...
A Censor certificate should mean that the film is fit for viewing all over the country.
Kamal Haasan is a senior, who I have a lot of respect for. My company Red Chillies Entertainment has done the visual effects in Vishwaroopam. So it is just unfortunate and wrong.
Image: Shah Rukh Khan
'Kamal Haasan is one of the best actors India has produced'
Nagarjuna: I haven't seen the film, but I know Kamalji for a long time now and been an ardent fan of him and his work.
He is one of the best actors India has produced. I don't think he is a man who would do something to affect communal harmony.
'If people are offended by Vishwaroopam, let them not watch the film'
Shabana Azmi: The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Prakash Jha's Aarakshan that once cleared by the Censor Board Of Film Certification. No state can impose a ban on a film. It is the government's business to give value to its own certification and ensure the film is shown.
Those who protest have the right to do so. But if they do so violently, then the law of the land must apply to them.
If people are offended by Vishwaroopam, let them not watch the film. How can they take away the right of others who want to watch it?
The Tamil Nadu government is being unfair to Vishwaroopam and to the minorities it claims to protect. For starters, have they even watched the film? India's audience is not a monolith. Some may be moved. Some may be offended, or claim to be offended for political gains. So be it. Nobody is forcing the film down anyone's throat. The space for freedom of expression is shrinking and we must act now to stem the tide.
Khushboo: The judgement of the court reaffirms our faith in democracy though it has come in a little too late. If this can happen to a man who has put in 50 years and every penny he has earned into films, and someone who eats, drinks, breathes and lives for the love of cinema, I wonder what lies in store for others in Indian cinema.
Image: Shabana Azmi
'What's happening to Kamal's film is very peculiar'
Shyam Benegal: What's happening to Kamal's film is very peculiar. It reeks of some kind of a vendetta. It doesn't make any sense.
The fact is the hero of the film plays a patriotic Muslim doing good things for the country. They've simply gone against their own rules.
Once the Censor Board clears the film, if any section of the audience has any doubts or fears, the matter must be referred back to the Censor Board. The state cannot do things on their own. Why have the Censor Board in the first place?
A censor certificate is valid in the entire country, and should not be disregarded in one state. A censor certificate has semi-judicial status.
R Balki: What if all the people, Muslims or Hindus, who have no issues with the film want a ban on the government? Will the courts hear that? We are scared of law and order issues because of the government.
Image: R Balki
'Sad that an icon is treated so shabbily in our country'
Kalpana Lajmi: Once the certificate of release is issued by the Censor Board and after the film is released, no private or judicial institution or government, be it the state or centre, should exercise its diktat and influence to ban the film, whatsoever be its content. A ban is tantamount to curbing the freedom of expression.
Hansal Mehta: It's a big farce. After the hullabaloo dies down, Kamal Haasan would be left counting his losses. Sad that an icon is treated so shabbily in our country.
Ketan Mehta: This is complete nonsense. The government is succumbing to cultural terrorism in spite of the Censor Board clearing the film. Isn't freedom of expression a fundemantal right? Democracy is meaningless without it. Please stop this recurring blackmail of creativity and the arts.
Image: Kalpana Lajmi
'Mobs cannot decide what films we should make'
Rensil D'Silva: I think it's time we got some rules firmly in place. If the Censor Board passes a film for screening, the government shouldn't bow down to vested interests. Mobs cannot decide what films we should make.
Priyadarshan: Nobody has the right to ban the freedom of expression.
Anusha Rizvi: The ban is ridiculous and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Our cultural space is increasingly being taken over by the right-wing discourse. All of us need to be on guard against this invasion of freedom and we must protest against it.
I stand by Mr Kamal Haasan and am deeply alarmed at the decision taken by the Tamil Nadu government.
Image: Anusha Rizvi
'The ban on Vishwaroopam is regressive'
Siddharth: Vishwaroopam must be edited beyond recognition if it wants to be screened in Tamil Nadu. This is the death knell for democracy, secularism and cinema. I see more conflict between Hindus and Muslims in Tamil Nadu because of the bizarre behaviour of the government than the film.
The ban on Vishwaroopam is regressive. It's a back-to-the-dark-ages blow by the Tamil Nadu government. How do we make a change?
My deepest condolences to Kamal Haasan. His service to our cinema and to shaping many creative destinies needed gratitude, not betrayal. Sad. In cinema as in other fields, your punishment is directly proportionate to how much you give.Godspeed, Kamal Sir.