|Tamil Nadu keeps ban against film that Muslims decry
The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has defended its ban on a new film by veteran actor Kamal Haasan which has sparked anger over freedom of artistic expression in the country.
Spy thriller Vishwaroopam was forced out of cinemas after Muslim groups complained that they were portrayed in a negative light. Haasan, who directed and co-produced the film, then threatened to go into exile, AFP reports.
Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram said her government was forced to impose the 15-day ban to prevent unrest across the state.
She said the state did not have enough police to maintain law and order outside more than 500 cinemas that were due to show the movie.
Haasan, traveling to Mumbai for the film's release tomorrow, has reportedly agreed to modify his movie.
“If the leaders of the Muslim organizations and Mr Kamal Haasan can sit together and work out an amicable agreement, the government of Tamil Nadu will do everything possible to facilitate that,’’ Jayaram said.
Indian film stars have rallied around Haasan since the ban in the film, which has already passed the national censor.
“Go stand outside the cinema hall [and] insist on seeing the film,’’ Bollywood megastar Salman Khan told his huge following on Twitter.
Another leading actor, Shah Rukh Khan, said it was “the most unfortunate thing to happen to a film.’’
India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari told NDTV that each case was different, but state governments “need to lean in favor of freedom of speech and expression,’’ even amid law and order fears.
Acclaimed British author Salman Rushdie also faced the wrath of Muslim groups on Wednesday, forcing him to cancel a trip to the eastern city of Kolkata for a promotional event for the film Midnight's Children.