After facing a controversial ban in Tamil Nadu, Kamal Haasan’s ambitious film Vishwaroopam may face a similar fate in Uttar Pradesh.
“Before it is allowed to be screened here, we will take a look at Vishwaroopam to find out what is objectionable in the film”, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told media personnel in Allahabad on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha had declared, “We will disallow the screening of Vishwaroopam in UP in case we find anything objectionable in the movie.”
But no official order to this effect was issued until Thursday evening.
On being contacted, UP’s Principal Home Secretary R M Srivastava said, “I have not received any instructions in this regard from the chief minister so far.”
Opposition parties claimed that the ruling Samajwadi Party was clearly being guided by the politics of the Muslim vote bank.
The manner in which SP leaders, including the chief minister, have started making statements against a work of art by renowned actor and film-maker Kamal Haasan clearly shows that they are only worried about Muslim votes on which the future of the party depends,” observed veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lalji Tandon.
“How can you term a film as bad or objectionable without knowing anything about it? The statements by SP leaders clearly show that the state government is more worried about its vote bank politics,” he pointed out.
Significantly, even leading Islamic scholars and clerics are toeing the official line.
Lucknow’s Naib Imam Maulana Khalid Rasheed , who also heads the city’s oldest Islamic seminary -- Firangi Mahal -- also supported a ban on the film.
“I am told that the film has sought to project Muslims in poor light; it shows people offering namaaz before embarking on a terrorist mission,” he told rediff.com.
He declined to comment when his attention was drawn to a popular Pakistani film -- Khuda ke liye -- in which the Taliban militants were shown offering namaaz before carrying out their terror operations.