Actor-filmaker Kamal Haasan's controversial film 'Vishwaroopam', facing a two-week ban in Tamil Nadu amid protests by Muslim community, was released in Kerala today but its screening was stopped by police in Hyderabad over security concerns.
As per the initial reports, the film was screened in 86 theatres in Kerala, where about 25 per cent of the population comprise Muslims.
“It is mainly screening in B-class theatres run by KCEA. But, some theatres run by the Federation also screened it today,” V Mohanan, president, Kerala Cine Exhibitors Association (KCEA) said in Thiruvanthapuram.
He said Haasan's home production Rajkamal Films International was releasing the movie directly in Kerala.
In Hyderabad, the police moved to stop the release of the film on a day coinciding with Milad-un-Nabi.
According to Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy, police commissioners of Hyderabad and Cyberabad approached her to allow them to stop the screening the movie to avoid disturbances.
“Yesterday some religious leaders approached me to stop the screening of the movie expressing apprehensions. There is no ban from the government side. City police commissioners have requested me to postpone the movie screening by a day in the city,”Reddy said.
Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari batted for Haasan over the ban issue.
The Minister said he did not want to say much since the matter was sub-judice but said the larger question is whether a state has the right to ban a film once it has been cleared by Censor Board.
“The right to clear films for screening is something which exclusively rests with the Central government,” Tewari said.
Haasan, 58, yesterday moved the Madras High Court seeking an interim injunction against the 15-day ban imposed on the film by the TN government.
The court will decide on the matter by January 28 after watching the film on January 26.
The actor, who is currently in Los Angeles, said he had faith in the Indian judicial system.
In Karnataka, the release of the film has been deferred to January 27.
The sole distributor of the film in Karnataka, Gangaraju claimed that the postponement is in pursuance to the request of state police not to release the film today and tomorrow in view of 'Milad-un-Nabi' and Republic Day as “it could disrupt communal harmony and lead to a law and order problem”.
“However, the film will be released in 25 theatres across the state including 15 in Bangalore city on January 27,” he said.
Gangaraju said money had been refunded to those who had