Kamal Haasan’s controversial film Vishwaroopam was today screened for Madras High Court to take a final call on the cine star’s interim prayer for a stay on the two-week ban imposed by the Tamil Nadu Government on its release in the state.

The special screening of the film, which has raised hackles of several Muslim groups, was watched by Justice K Venkataraman along with stakeholders at a private studio here, court sources said.

The Judge had on January 24 declined to grant interim injunction sought by Haasan on government ban which followed protests from various Muslim organisations over alleged depiction of their community in a negative light.

Passing orders on Haasan’s petition challenging the ban, the Judge had ordered that the film’s release be deferred till January 28 by which time he would view it.

Haasan has held a special screening of the film for the Muslim outfit leaders but failed to win their approval.

Calling the protest as ‘cultural terrorism, he denied that any community had been denigrated in the film reportedly made with a budget of Rs 100 crore in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.

Barring Tamil Nadu, the film hit theatres elsewhere yesterday and is now being screened after initial hiccups in Karnataka and Kerala.

The film ran into trouble earlier after the tech-savvy Haasan decided to premier it on Direct-to-Home platform ahead of its theatre release.

Meanwhile, PMK founder leader S Ramadoss today flayed the ban on the movie despite Censor Board’s clearance and said it was against freedom of expression.

“The state government has been indulging in acts against the freedom of expression. If there is a law and order situation, it is the responsibility of the government to handle it. It is not appropriate to ban a movie,” Ramadoss said in a statement, demanding withdrawal for the ban.

Veteran Tamil film director Bharatiraja said the ban did not affect only Haasan but the entire artiste community.

Praising Haasan as a ‘socially responsible’ person, he said, “we do not know where to seek justice when a movie has been banned despite a Censor Board certificate”.

(This article was published on January 26, 2013)
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