A bench of the Madras High Court today stayed the release of Kamal Haasan's controversial movie Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu till Monday.
Earlier in the day, the actor-cum-director had announced he had agreed to remove some parts of the movie objectionable to Muslim organisations and claimed a truce had been arrived between them.
The high court order is a fresh setback for Haasan, who got a temporary reprieve last night, when a single judge of the high court revoked the ban imposed by the state government on the Rs 95-crore movie. The Tamil Nadu government banned the movie across the state, saying it could trigger law and order issues as Muslim organisations had raised objections. Muslim leaders say the movie puts the community in a bad light.
The state government today moved a division bench, challenging the single bench order. The next hearing has been fixed on Monday.
Haasan threatens to leave the country
An emotional Kamal Haasan today said he wanted to leave the country if Vishwaroopam was not allowed to release.
"If I have to find a secular state in India from Kashmir to Kerala... If I can't find a secular state in India I will probably find a secular country. I have to find my place somewhere in India or abroad which is secular, like M F Husain," he said.
Besides support from his fans and friends from the cinema industry, Haasan today got the backing of the Centre as well. "We are a free society. There is freedom of expression. There is liberty for artists. We have a Constitution," home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was quoted as saying in New Delhi by PTI news agency. "We will see, we will inquire into what has happened."
Similarly, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajnath Singh also supported the actor and said he should not leave the country.
Meanwhile, Haasan said he had pledged all his properties, including his house, to raise funds for producing Viswaroopam. He said financiers would take pocession of the mortgaged properties if the movie was not released soon.
It may be noted that states like Kerala are showing the movie from January 25 as per the release date announced by the production house.