Why J Jayalalithaa targets Kamal Hassan?

Aura 3d Launch of Vishwaroopam and Mr. Kamal Haasan Press Meet stills 586x355 Why J Jayalalithaa targets Kamal Hassan?

The ongoing row over Vishwaroopam is not simply due to some Muslims of Tamil Nadu alleging that the film shows the community in a bad light. At the root of the controversy lies a political angle that is much more intriguing.

Kamal Hassan‘s speech at a recent book launch and his decision to release the film on the Direct-to-Home platform seem to have proved detrimental to the actor. Incidentally, the satellite rights of Vishwaroopam were first bagged by Jaya TV. A subsequent dispute between the channel and Raj Kamal Films meant that the rights were given to Vijay TV.

Kamal Hassan had by then entered into an understanding with Airtel DTH and Vishwaroopam was supposed to premiere at 9.30 p.m on Jan 10, 2013. However, objections raised by the Tamil Nadu Exhibitors Association and the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association forced him to announce on Jan 14 that the film will be released on the DTH platform only on Feb 2.

Prior to these developments, the actor who has so far stayed away from politics made a statement with significant connotations on Dec 30, 2012. That day, a book about Finance Minister P Chidambaram was released at a function in Chennai. After DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi handed over the first copy of the book to Chidambaram‘s mother Lakshmi Achi, the Kollywood icon remarked that Tamils are very capable of leading the nation and pointed to the finance minister.

Kamal Hassan probably did not realise that by praising P Chidambaram, he had unwittingly incurred Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa‘s displeasure. According to political observers, the ADMK supremo was irked by the actor’s words as she harbours ambitions of becoming the prime minister one day. This apparently contributed to the actor’s present woes.

The alacrity with which the state government accepted the plea of pro-Muslim outfits to ban Vishwaroopam suggests that there is definitely a subtext. Last year, another film faced similar protests. Nevertheless, the Vijay-starrer ‘Thuppaki‘ enjoyed a successful run even though a few organisations in Tamil Nadu railed against its unfavourable depiction of Muslims.

Despite both megastar Rajnikanth and Karunanidhi urging members of the minority community to let people peacefully watch Vishwaroopam, the outfits which are opposed to its screening have refused to budge from their stand. The DMK chief is avowedly secular, he would not have backed Kamal Hassan if the latter is in the wrong.

The actor believes he is being unfairly targeted. Considering the aforementioned aspects, one cannot help agreeing with him. Fanatics once forced renowned painter Maqbool Fida Husain to settle abroad. It remains to be seen whether Kamal Hassan would feel compelled to leave not only Tamil Nadu but also the country.

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Comments

  1. Dheena says

    The first thought after watching Kamal Hassan literally breaking down, without visibly betraying his angst and anxiety, was the lack of safety for ordinary citizens in the country, and the farce called freedom of expression and right to life.

    “An icon breaks down” – my journalist-friend Karthik tweeted from Kamal Hassan’s office in Chennai.

    And it summed up everything.

    Here is a real icon, who straddled the Tamil and south Indian film industry for over five decades – ever since he was a child – helplessly telling the world that he was on the verge of bankruptcy and might be even forced to leave the country.

    All because he made the most ambitious movie of his life and it cannot be released in his home state. He always spoke of raising the production values of Indian films and the all the reviews so far have show that he has won hands down. It’s been running in the rest of the country and also overseas markets to packed houses, but it’s Tamil Nadu where it matters.

    With today’s turn of events, particularly after the government continued to stifle him by stopping the screening of Vishwaroopam in some B and C centres this morning despite the HC interim relief last night, it is pretty clear that the issue is not as simple as it appeared initially. It’s not just the opposition of some Tamil Islamic groups that is preventing the film from getting to the theatres, but something much bigger than that.

    And it is not likely to stop easily.

    When Kamal went to court against the ban, the general impression was that it would be a cakewalk for him because of the judicial precedence on Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan. Jha had taken three states to the Supreme Court and had won a favourable verdict and the states were asked to provide police protection for the screening of his movie. Going by the this SC order, Kamal should have got immediate relief.

    Although the state government has appealed against the interim order of a single bench of the High Court that lifted the ban on the movie and the prohibitory orders in districts, many still believe that the judicial precedence on the issue will work in Kamal’s favour. Let’s wait till the afternoon when the division bench takes up the petition by the state government.

    But, the issue is not legal one, but an enabling environment.

    Kamal may win the case, but will still not succeed in peacefully running his movie in the state’s theatres. If the state government and the police are hostile, it will be very difficult for the theatres and the rest of the film fraternity to support him. The question is if the theatres will fight it out for just one movie? They are in the business, not for one movie and one star; and they are not out there to prove a point on freedom of expression. Movie-screening is high-stake business these days.

    For the same reasons, the tepid response from the Tamil film fraternity was not surprising. The industry voices were surprisingly guarded and steered clear off protestations against the government. They all said good things about Kamal and expressed relief and happiness. I am sure Kamal must have been deeply disappointed by the betrayal of his colleagues. Even his old time friend and superstar Rajinikanth didn’t come out completely openly, other than appealing to the Muslim groups to see reason.

    This sense of isolation is indeed scary. You realise that all the sense of collegiality and fraternity is illusory. When it comes to the crux situation, you are all alone, except for your fans and family.

    Kamal Hassan is no small fellow. In mainstream Indian cinema, he is a legend and has always pushed the barriers of commercial cinema, in terms of content, genre and scale. He also can speak at least five Indian languages.

    He is the only Indian actor to have won four national awards – three as an actor and one as a producer – and 19 Filmfare awards. He has also taken unconventional and brave positions, whether it is on religion, beliefs, relationships, institutions such as marriage and family, food habits and production values of Indian films.

    He has been among the first to come out in support of social causes such as AIDS, blood donation, cancer etc. He was at the vanguard of change in Indian cinema and had tied up with FICCI to raise the industry standards.

    He also has a tremendous fan following in all the southern states, and also in Hindi.

    Still, when he needs all the social capital that he has built over the years, there is almost nothing to save him. Now even the commercial capital is threatening to abandon him.

    That makes one really scared about the living conditions in India, particularly when the establishment is against you. This is when people like Anna Hazare and their efforts look like a joke. The real India is in the states. Everything that matters happen at the local levels.

    At the more practical level, what will happen to Vishwaroopam?

    Industry-experts say that the film will lose anything between Rs. 30-50 crores. However, given the incredible goodwill that this controversy has generated, the movie can still create a massive “initial” if it is released without much delay. Two weeks of full-house shows in 500 theatres will see him sail through.

    Anymore delay will be costly because there are other films waiting for theatres. Even if all goes well, Kamal will have a real tough time in finding theatres because two biggies – Mani Ratnam’s Kadal, and Bijoy Nambiar’s David – are scheduled to release this weekend. If they postpone the release for Kamal for at least two weeks, he should still be able to recover most of his investment.

    Perhaps Kamal’s guarded emotional threat of abandoning his state and the country for a secular space is aimed at the conscience of the film industry and the public.

    Let’s see how both respond and if we lose him the way we lost MF Hussain.

  2. A Dinesh says

    Siddharth shocked hearing Kamal Hassan plans to quit India!!!

    Southern actor Siddharth says it is shocking to hear that Tamil superstar Kamal Hassan is planning to leave India because of “unfair persecution” on his film “Vishwaroopam”.

    Haasan says that if the ban on his controversial film “Vishwaroopam” is not lifted, he might have to look for a “secular state” and that can be out of the country.

    “‘Vishwaroopam’ screenings cancelled before starting and even stopped mid-show all over Tamil Nadu What a sad day. What a horrible week. Taliban Tamil Nadu,” Siddharth tweeted.

    “Heartbreaking to see the greatest Tamil actor of all time talking about leaving Tamil Nadu, about bankruptcy and about unfair persecution,” he added.

    The Madras High Court Tuesday ruled in favour of “Vishwaroopam” and lifted the ban by the state government. It, however, said the administrative step was to be taken by the government.

    The mega-budget film was due to release Jan 25, but the Tamil Nadu government banned the film following fears of law and order situation. The ban was further extended to Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

  3. DEVI says

    DEAR SIR KAMAL HASSAN,

    HI, H R U PLZ DONT WORRY FOR ANY THING U R THE CHILD OF WORLD. ALL COUNTRY MOTHER IS PRAYING FOR U TO SUCCESS IN UR LIFE SO DONT FEEL FOR ANY THING WE ALL UR BROTHER, SISTER, WERE WE SUPPORT U A LOT AN ENCOURAGE UR SUCCESSFUL MOVIE. I REQUEST POLITICS PLZ DONT MAKE CINEMA AS POLITICS, CINEMA IS DIFFERENT, POLITICS DIFFERENT. THEY KNOW BETTER ME THE POLITICAL LEADER BUT FOR SOME CIRCUMSTANCE THEY LOSE THEIR MIND AND BECAME CHILDISH. WERE LAYMAN HAVE TO REMIND THEM THAT THEY ARE NOT CHILD. PLZ I RESPECT ALL POLITICIAL LEADER, ALL CASTE PEOPLE, ALL RELIGION AS MY OWN SO PLZ POLITICS SHOULD NOT ENTER. PLZ IF THEY WANT TO GIVE ANY SUGGESTION PLZ GIVE IT PERSONALLY NOT SPOILING ALL THE WORK IN MOVIE, WHICH AFFECTS ACTOR WHOLE UNIT, FANS , COMMON PEOPLE PLZ. ITS AN HUMBLE REQUEST.

  4. DEVI says

    DEAR KAMAL HASSAN SIR,

    PLZ DONT WORRY BE BOLD U R SUCCESSFUL PERSON U CAN FACE ANY THING BUT I CAN PROMISE U THAT UR RESULT WIL BE MORE PRECIOUS SUCCESS ONLY DONT WORRY PLZ DONT NEVER THINK THAT U WIL QUITE INDIA PLZ SO EASILY U SAY THIS I CAN UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING EACH STEP BY STEP OF UR LIFE PROBLEM I KNOW VERY WEL BUT THIS IS NOT SOLUTION GOING OUT OF INDIA. PLZ WE ARE THERE LIKE UR MOTHER MANY MOTHER, SISTER , BROTHER, FRIENDS, DAUGHTERS ARE THERE FOR U TO FIGHT ALONG WITH U SO Y DO U WORRY. GOD WANT LIVE ALONE OR GIVE MORE DIFFICULTY FOR TRUE HARD WORKER LIKE KAMAL HASSAN, TAKE CARE UR OUTPUT FOR THIS MOVIE SURE 100% WIL BE MORE THEN UR EXPECTATION MORE MORE I PROMISE U.

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