Both parties met the Tamil Nadu Home Secretary on Thursday and handed over formal letters expressing their willingness to talk and solve the issue, a day after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said her government was ready to facilitate a meeting between the two to resolve the matter amicably.
This raised expectations that the meeting would be held in the evening. But it was postponed, expected to be convened on Saturday. The protesters are hoping that Kamal would be present during the discussion “as he is the writer, producer, director and lead actor in the film”, said Mohammed Haneefa, convenor of 24-member umbrella group Federation of Islamic Movements and Political Parties.
The issue of creative freedom vis-a-vis public sentiments figured even in the Governor’s address to the Assembly on Friday. K Rosaiah urged filmmakers to show “due respect for the sensitivities of the people while making such films and avoid hurting public sentiments”. He was referring to the ban on the film Dam 999 that courted controversy in Tamil Nadu due to its storyline that touched upon the contentious Mullaiperiyar water-sharing row between the state and neighbouring Kerala.
In a related development, a public interest petition was filed at the Madras High Court seeking a ban on Vishwaroopam. The petitioner, advocate C Jebakumar George, who claimed to have watched the film in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala where the film was released, alleged it contained scenes that were violent and derogatory to religion. The film should be banned unless edited to remove the offensive portions, he added.
Film gets good response in north India
The Hindi version of Vishwaroopam opened to good response in the northern region on Friday, with multiplex owners claiming that the controversy surrounding the movie has generated more curiosity among the audience. Titled Vishwaroop, the film saw an average occupancy of about 50 to 60 per cent across theatres in north India without any untoward incident barring some protests in Lucknow.