Citing the late M.F. Husain, actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan
Wednesday said he could be forced to look for a secular state
overseas and even change his passport if the final verdict on his
film "Vishwaroopam" was not in his favour.
Stating that he was "fed up", Kamal said at a press conference:
"If there is no secular state in India, I would go overseas. I
think Tamil Nadu wants me out. What would change is my passport; I
would still be an Indian. I have pledged all my property for the
film. I have lost my house because of delay in release."
"Going by what is happening with me, I'm very likely to seek a
secular state or country to release my film, on which I've
invested my lifetime's savings, including all my assets," Haasan
"If by becoming a secular man like M.F. Husain, I can peacefully
continue making films, then so be it," an anguished Kamal told
reporters, referring to the late artist who died in a London
hospital in June 2011 after being forced to leave the country
following threats by right-wing activists upset with his paintings
of Indian goddesses.
"I have lost all my property for the film, so I have nothing to
lose, but choose now. If the judgment is not favourable for me, I
have to look out for a secular state abroad. We will get away from
this place but will have lot of good memories," the 58-year-old
told reporters at a press conference here.
He said he was still trying to understand why "some members with
strong political backing" were against his film. "The film is
running successfully in other states and the feedback from the
audience has also been positive."
The Rs.95 crore espionage thriller, which stars Kamal and is
written, produced and directed by him, was banned by the state
government after some Muslim groups complained that the film
portrayed their community in bad light.
On Jan 29, the Madras High Court bench chaired by Justice K.
Venkataraman passed an interim order in favour of the film and
kept the 144 orders issued by district collector in abeyance. He
said the film can be released without any cuts or edits all over
Muslim groups that had protested against the film have said they
hope the government will appeal again, if needed in the Supreme
Kamal said he cannot release the film in the state until he gets
the physical order from the Madras High Court.
"We are waiting for the final verdict and the physical copy of the
orders from the honourable judge and until then we can't release
"The fact is that I have yet to get interim relief as some of my
friends have reported in press. The film shows are stopped again
and the police have sent away fans, asking for court order copy. I
have been thrashed in a political game, monetary loss is not
important," he said.
Despite the lifting of the ban, most theatres still haven't opened
bookings for the film.
"Even though the ban is lifted, we're waiting for an official
confirmation to open the bookings for the film," a representative
of a leading multiplex here told IANS.
The film was originally scheduled to release Jan 25 in Tamil and
Telugu, but was only released in a few places in Kerala, Karnataka
and Andhra Pradesh. It was banned in these places as well after
the first show on the release day.
It was also banned in places such as Malaysia and Sri Lanka after
two days of run in the cinemas.
Besides Kamal, who plays the title role, "Vishwaroopam" also
features Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur
and Jaideep Ahlawat. The Hindi version "Vishwaroop" is slated to
release Feb 1.