The original Tamil version of actor-director-producer Kamal Hassan’s controversial spy thriller Viswaroopam’ opened to rousing reception from his fans associations as well as film buffs with over 500 theatres, including some multiplexes, screening the movie in Tamil Nadu.
Even early morning shows were, predictably, housefull as cinema parlance goes. Exuberant Kamal fans, who were initially worried their ‘Ulaganayakan’s (as the actor’s title goes) film may not hit the screens, celebrated the occasion putting up huge 25 and 50 foot cut outs and performing the traditional ‘palabhishekam’ (pouring milk as a mark of reverence) on them. According to some theatre managers, the film was booked till February 16 and expected to do well, as his fans swear.
The film that Kamal had also written, directed andproduced under his Rajkamal Films International’s banner with elder brother Chandra Hassan, has also been dubbed into Telugu and Hindi and shot extensively in United States and Afghanistan. The film also had a world premier in America. However, the Tamil version of the film had its release delayed.
It was orignally slated for January 25 release. However, 24 Muslim outfits demanded a ban making a representation to Tamil Nadu Government alleging it hurt Muslim sentiments and portrayed them in poor light besides insulting the Holy Quran. A legal battle in Madras High Court ensued with a Division Bench upholding the temporary ban imposed by the state government citing possible law and order breakdown. Kamal, following the advice of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, sat down for talks with the protesting Muslim groups and agreed to cut seven scenes and release the film with a disclaimer.