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
- ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 7 Finale Spoilers: Kurt Sutter On Ending The Biker Series And Picking The Right Song For The Final Ride
- Prince Charles’ Wife Camilla Parker-Bowles In Drug Scandal - Reports
- Prince Harry Kissing Mystery Blond, Cressida Bonas & Camilla Thurlow Are Distant Memory
- St. Louis Rams 28, Seattle Seahawks 26 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Kate Middleton Pregnancy Update: Duchess Spotted All Smiles, Sickness Seems Over
- 14 Contestants For Miss Hitler 2014 Beauty Pageant Organised By Russian Equivalent Of Facebook
- ISIS Crucifies Teenage Boy For Filming Syrian Base; Image Of Baby Girl Being Beheaded Found [VIDEO]
- How Australian Father Stabbed 11-Year-Old Son Dead, More Details Emerge
- 2014 Meteor Shower: Slooh To Have Live Broadcast Of Orionids Meteor Shower October 21 Peak, NASA Assures Ideal Observing Conditions
- Galaxy Note 4 vs Redmi Note 2 vs iPhone 6: Samsung in Danger with Depressing Q3
- iOS 8 Jailbreak Release Date Likely this October 2014 with Pangu not Evad3rs Firming Up as Creator
- Apple Inc. (AAPL) Stock Set to Soar Beyond $100 Despite Decline After New iPad Launch
- Russia Beefs Up Gold Reserves To Offset Heat of Sanctions And Undercut Dollar
- iPhone 6 vs Nexus 6 vs Galaxy Note 4: Performance and User Interface Comparison
- Fappening: Message Board Posters Belittle Nude Photo Leakers As D-Listers Seeking Publicity
- Fappening: Lindsay Clubine, Wife Of Boston Red Sox Pitcher Clay Buchholz, & George Sampson Of Britain’s Got Talent, Are The Latest Victims Of Celebrity Nude Leaks