Chennai, Jan 24: The Madras High Court today said that Kollywood icon Kamal Haasan's latest film Vishwaroopam cannot be screened in theatres across Tamil Nadu till Jan 28. A judge will watch the film on Jan 26 and decide whether to overturn the ban imposed by the state government.
Some organisations have alleged that Vishwaroopam shows Muslims in a bad light. Their strong obection to the release of the film and the possibilty of law and order problems forced the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments to ban the film.
However, the Centre called for a rethink. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari cited an earlier order by the apex court that the Censor Board's decision is binding on all concerned.
"The Supreme Court of India in Prakash Jha's matter had the occasion of considering the various provisions of the Cinematograph Act and juxtaposing them against the law and order powers which the state government has under the Constitution," the union minister noted.
"And the Supreme Court was very categorical that Article 246, seventh schedule, list one, entry sixty gives the central government the powers to certify films for exhibition and once the Central Board for Film Certification has taken a particular view, it binds all the other instrumentalities of the state," Tiwari said.
"I suggest that Tamil Nadu government peruse that judgement of the Supreme Court in Prakash Jha's case before coming to any conclusion which may fall foul of the very clear directive which the court has given," the union minister added.
According to Kamal Haasan, banning Vishwaroopam is "cultural terrorism". He said that he is "touched by the voices in support" but is at the same time "appalled" at how his film "is construed to be against my Muslim brothers."
The 58-year-old actor rued "these accusations of denigrating a community" and pointed out that "My statements in favour of that community have marked me as a sympathiser. I have always gone beyond the call of my duty as an actor to voice my opinion in favour of what was humane and civil. I have been part of an organization called Harmony India which worked for Hindu Muslim amity."