Kamal Haasan Mulls Exile over 'Vishwaroopam' Row
January 31, 2013 12:55 AM EST
Actor and film-maker Kamal Haasan on Wednesday threatened to live in exile outside Tamil Nadu, and possibly India, after his film "Vishwaroopam" was forced out of cinemas by the state government and forced a debate on limits to freedom of expression.
"M F Husain had to do it and now Haasan will do it," the 58-year-old film-maker said in a televised news conference in Chennai, comparing himself to self-exiled painter Maqbool Fida Husain. "I think Tamil Nadu wants me out."
"Vishwaroopam", which was to open in cinemas last Friday, was mired in controversy with some Muslim groups protesting over its alleged depiction of the community in a negative light.
A state government ban on the film's screening last week was overturned by the Madras High Court on Tuesday but was upheld on Wednesday after the Tamil Nadu government appealed the court's ruling.
Television reports said Haasan will now take the case to the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, a visibly emotional Haasan said he was "fed up" and would look for a "secular state" that would "house an artist" like him.
"If I can't find it within India, which I will know in another couple of days, I will find hopefully another country which is secular that might take me in," Haasan said, drawing comparisons to Husain.
Husain, India's best-known artist, fled the country in 2006 and died in exile in London after his depictions of naked Hindu goddesses enraged zealots who attacked his house and vandalized shows. For years, galleries in India were too frightened of protests to display his work.
On Wednesday, Haasan denied that "Vishwaroopam" was against Muslims and said the matter has been "settled amicably" with Muslim groups after he agreed to cut certain scenes from the film, including words from the Koran.
"The film is not anti-Indian Muslim, it's pro-Indian Muslim," Haasan told reporters, flanked by leaders of Muslim groups.
Haasan said he would still consider himself Tamil and an Indian even if he leaves the country.
"Only my passport will change," Haasan said.
Television news debates on the controversy raised questions over the Indian censor board's authority to clear a film for screening and interference by state governments.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had approved "Vishwaroopam" for release and its chief Leela Samson said the row "amounts really to hounding".
"I cannot stress how detrimental it is to all future films, for all artistic expression, for secularism and CBFC will definitely take it up," Samson told CNN-IBN news channel.
Most Popular Slideshows
- Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant Among The Top 5 Overpaid Players In The NBA (Part 1 - Western Conference)
- Reasons Why Michael Jordan Is Better Than LeBron James [PHOTOS And VIDEO]
- Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire Among Worst Contracts In The NBA (Part 2 - Eastern Conference)
- Brawl-Marred Game in NFL Week 3: Philadelphia Eagles 37, Washington Redskins 34 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Kate Middleton Pregnancy Update: Duchess Of Cambridge ‘Dissed’ By Camilla Parker-Bowles; Delivery Expected In April- Reports
- 'Green Alien Eggs' Spotted on Sydney's Dee Why Beach
- The Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Attends Father’s Funeral Without Handcuffs, Brother Thanks TPB Founder’s Supporters on Facebook
- Drag Queens Fume That Facebook Is Banning Aliases And Threaten to Drop Out Of It
- British Teenager Wants Her Leg Cut To be Able To Compete At Paralympics – Watch Video
- Nexus 6, 8 Release Date is Halloween 2014 as Android L Intro Set for October 16
- New Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 L Killer Features, Encryption and More
- Moto G 2014 v Asus Zenfone 5 – Specification Comparison Shows Zenfone 5 Is A Good Alternative for Moto G
- Android 5.0 L Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 Release in October, Google Employees Offer Hint
- U.S and Canada Fighter Jets Chase Out Russian Jets Near Alaska: Air Space Violation Not Confirmed
- Microsoft Doubles OneDrive Space To 30GB Due To iOS 8 Update Issues
- Nexus 8, Nexus 9 Release Date, Device Name And Price Conundrum: What To Expect?