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Jan 232013
 




Vishwaroopam Review – A Daring Attempt

If the majority of terrorists and suicide bombers currently are Muslims, is it wrong to depict the terrorists as Muslims  in movies and literature?

In the latest disturbing incident in Incredible India, some Muslims in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu have applied pressure on the state government to ban film star Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam on the eve of its release. Muslim organizations complained that the movie showed their religion in a poor light.

The Tamil Nadu government panicked and quickly banned Vishwaroopam on the grounds that release of the movie would create a “law and order” issue,  which is government-speak for violence. The ban is valid for two-weeks. Update: Kamal Haasan is moving the court to remove the ban.

I think it’s wrong to ban Vishwaroopam even for a single day. What do you guys think?

Is it Wrong to Depict Terrorists as Muslims in Movies and Books?

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Wrong to Ban Kamal Haasan's VishwaroopamEven Kamal Haasan deserve a fair chance
Photo courtesy: Hindu

Pandering to Minorities

Should India treat Muslims and other minorities like Sikhs, Christians, Parsis etc with kid gloves out of fear of offending them or triggering violence?

Although Hindus comprise 83.45% of India’s population, minorities like Muslims, Christians and Sikhs increasingly call the shots in the country.

India’s Hindus are a fractious lot, divided by language, caste and region providing an easy opportunity for members of other religions to keep them at bay.

Even Mediocre Artistes Deserve a Chance

South Indian film star and movie-maker Kamal Haasan is hard to endure on the screen.

Most of his movies are cringe-worthy and the fellow’s career is sliding.

But even mediocre film artistes like Kamal Haasan deserve their Friday releases.

Just in case you didn’t know, Kamal Haasan (a Hindu by birth) is an atheist.

Related Posts:
Vishwaroopam Review – A Daring Attempt

  27 Responses to “Banning Vishwaroopam is So Wrong”

  1. Hmmm Trouble seems to follow Kamalhaasan right from the day he started Viswaroopam.

    I agree there’s nothing wrong in expressing one’s views through film, art, writings etc especially when your country claims to be democratic with all the rights.. Good that he got the ban lifted

    However I doubt the quality of the film he’s made after seeing his supergreedy effort ( by appearing in even shitty tamil channels like Raj Tv and Polymer and even some Studid FM’s) to promote the film. As far as I remember, he never promoted a film of his this aggressively and was never appeared this much nervous for any of his films which is quite understandable, since a lot of money might have been poured in, but what finally matters is how engaging the film is and whether it strikes a chord with the audience..

    I hope at least the film turn outs to be a passable one given the hardships he’s to go through it…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Good that he got the ban lifted

    But the ban is not lifted!

    In any case, the publicity he’s got is worth hundreds of crores! ;)

    • How is promoting your product that costed you Rupees 95 Cr a supergreedy effort? Do you decide how much promotion is sufficient?

      Tomorrow you will say Apple should not putting out so many ads and they are super greedy.

      To engage in a legitimate business and expect to make money (however enormous) is the whole motive of doing business.

      For you all we know all this free publicity is useless because the movie will most like get pirated and released in TN before it hits the theaters.

      What has happened in Tamil Nadu is “State Sponsored Terrorism”.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Kamal explained in one of the interviews during the DTH brouhaha that Vishwaoopam is his property and he has every right to monetize it in every possible way. And Kamal Haasan is right.

      This piracy thing is going to hit him in any case. But the damage might be higher this time because of its early release in other geographies.

      It’s strange that there’s little to no buzz of Vishwaroop in the North Indian film sites like IndiaFM (Bollywood Hungama). After all, there’s a Hindi version of Vishwaroopam too coming out. For several hours after the ban was announced yesterday, there was no coverage at all on IndiaFM! Bizarre.

    • that’s because this his is most expensive film that’s why he is promoting this film on all platforms

  2. Offtopic :

    Funny review of Alex pandian

    http://behindwoods.com/tamil-movies-cinema-fans-column/alex-pandian—a-world-class-trend-setter-alex-pandian-karthi.html

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    When I saw ads for Alex Pandian proclaiming “Successfully Running” I wondered what it meant because I’d seen damning reviews.

    Then I realized that it actually meant that the audience is successfully running away from the movie! ;)

  3. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/Kamal-Haasan-moves-HC-to-get-two-week-ban-lifted-on-Vishwaroopam/articleshow/18162061.cms

    Seems like the cat and mouse game is continuing

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Kamal Haasan is right. It is Cultural Terrorism.

  4. There was no law and order problem even when Karunanidhi was dragged and arrested at midnight.

    What non-sense is this?

    Govt is supposed to provide adequate security rather than backing-off out of fear!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Beyond Disgusting.

    I demand Puratchi Thalaivi’s (revolutionary leader) dismissal for caving in to religious terrorism.

    • Correction: Here is an allegation. She used frivilous religious elements for her own selfish purposes and organized a state sponsored terror attack on entertainment with the sole purpose of making money off someone else’s investment.

      • Here is another example of indian politicians using religious elements to get into political lime light
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXFFR8NXG1E
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJRYGwVy0xA

        The man in the video is an MLA of AP, there were riots over his arrests lead by an organization called Majlis-e Ittihad al-Muslimin.

        Election fever is hitting the politicans, government wants no trouble at this stage so no doubt they called for an immediate ban on Kamal’s film.

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        The irony is that only in Incredible India do all minorities have the right to protest and right to practice their religions in an unfettered manner (at least, for the most part).

      • And the only reason SHE banned this film is because Kamal recently praised P.Chidambaram at a function….if SHE can ban this film then why SHE didn’t banned Thuppakki (which also got protest from Muslims)…

    • Here is a little background:

      Few months ago, when the innocence of Muslims movie was released, it sparked protests by Muslims in chennai who gathered in front of US embassy and started attacking police booth and people there.

      It continued for few days, and the people who protested had not even watched that movie once.

      http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2012/09/15/anti-islam-film-protests-in-chennai/

      It resulted in the transfer of the then police commissioner tripathy for failing on intelligence and prevention of the protests.

      The same happened during the release of movie thuppaki although such big protests did not happen for it.

      State govt feared expecting similar protests and banned it upfront. Last year state govt banned another movie Dam 999 (which depicts a dam collapse) stating this induces unnecessary fears and confusions among the people of Kerala and tamilnadu. (since the director related the movie to mullai dam issue between the states).

      I also think state govt gave a nod for this ban, since kamal was seen lately participating in quite a few functions with karunanidhi along side rajinikanth. (Although it was only rajini who voiced few remarks which will surely be bitter for jaya).

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a strong political (AIADMK) hand in this.

      Perhaps, Kamal declined the request for a hefty donation for the “Party” and is paying the price.

      P.S.: I am coming back to Incredible India…my old, creaking bones can’t stand the cold any longer. The last few days, the outside temperature has between -3ºc to -9ºc. :(

      • Returning for good?

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        No, just wishful thinking, sweetie! But finding it very hard to withstand the cold these days.

        Must be equally bad or worse in your place. Imagine running SI from India! ;)

        • The last 2 weeks have been very cold.

          A couple of days ago it was -5F or so. The good news is no snow storm so far!

          If Ajith fans find out that you are in India then they will personally “Ban” you. SI will be literally running from India. ;-)

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          We had some snow on Monday night and a little bit yesterday. But nothing compared to prior years.

          One of my friends who used to live in your city (near Midway airport) couldn’t take it any more and moved to FL recently.

          My tryst with Ajith fans will have to wait for my next life. ;)

  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V6DUekScY8

    Also, I disagree with your assertion that kamal is a “mediocre” actor. I’m ready
    for a long positive argument to prove my point. However, we need to spend time
    to objectively analyse his repertoire. Our analyses should include
    1) Watching *most* of the his movies. Atleast, those which are recommended to be
    great by others. (Ofcourse, this is not so good criteria but atleast a tolerable one, since
    “great ness” is also defined by script of the movie along with a scope to act. If the script
    is crap, acting will not make sense most of the time.
    2) To remove prejudices against him. For example: his indulgence of low caliber in his movies, or
    a very few (I mean very few) instances of plagiarism
    3) The way he balanced “star dom” and acting (experimentation). Naseerudin shah might be a great actor
    to many but he is not a great crowd puller.
    4) And most importantly, what you consider acting. For example, I’ve never considered Irfan Khan
    to be a great actor (in the leagues of Mohan lal or Om Puri) because other than his eyes, he does not
    use his body at all (The way mohan lal does). People like Irfan Khan because of his very clear accent
    and a “different” feel he gives to the character.

    If we don’t have time to do some research, then of course all our opinions are subjective just like Francis Ford
    Coppola is crappy director because he directed “Jack” or Woody Allen is crappy because he directed
    “melinda and melinda”. Subjective opinions without an iota of research will not be noticed anyway.

    Also, Hi. I think after a long time. I got time to comment on this nice blog (nice not because of logic, but because
    of writing :-) ) after a period of lull from me.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Hello Sweetie!

    1. In my not-so-humble opinion, the main reason some Indians tend to think highly of Kamal Haasan is because they view him solely through the Indian kaleidoscope.

    By Indian standards, I suppose it’s safe to concede that Kamal is better than the Simbhus, Vombhus, Kombhus, Ajiths and the Abhisheks but when you place Kamal Haasan alongside global talent, his repertoire is pitiful.

    I watched Kamal Haasan in his first film Kalathoor Kannamma two days back. Admittedly, he was not bad in the film although the movie itself is terrible.

    But the point is after 43 years in the film business, Kamal’s record is most unimpressive. Worse, his last film Manmadhan Ambu is outright theft, a horrible lift of Romance on the High Seas. And Kamal Haasan takes credit for the story. How much worse can it get?

    Tell me, which “great” actor steals after 40+ years in the business and more than 200 films to his (dis)credit.

    I may not have seen all of Kamal’s movies but I’ve seen dozens, enough to give me a good feel of the star.

    2. If, as you say, Naseerudin Shah is not a crowd-puller, should we blame him as you tacitly seem to do so or the masses who worship at the altar of beasts like Salman Khan.

    3. People don’t go to a movie just to see “acting” but for the all-round entertainment experience that include a nice story, pleasing songs, good photography etc.

    By repeatedly selecting horrid films for the sake of a few silver coins, the Judas-like Kamal Haasan, a la Brutus, stabbed those closest to him, the audience.

    To absolve Kamal Haasan because the script was lousy or the director is terrible makes no sense because the shoddy script was not thrust on Kamal…au contraire, he avidly embraced it.

    4. Thanks for the YouTube video link above. I had not seen it before.

    5. The best one can say about Kamal Haasan is that he’s not as loud, as crude, as grotesque as the other so-called “giant” of Tamil cinema Nadigar Thilagam (darling of actors) Sivaji Ganesan.

    6. Given all of the above points, it’s not surprising that Kamal Haasan’s sway has never extended far beyond the borders of Tamil Nadu (and to a limited extent in Andhra Pradesh). After all, Indians have an inglorious tradition of embracing the “son of the soil,” good, bad or ugly.

    • Yes, you are right in one point.

      There are very few movies of Kamal which could be seen through a global kaleidoscope.

      By a few, I mean at least ~25 out of his 200 movies.

      25 out pf 200 is very less but then no “global” actor would have done 200 movies in their 50-60 years of career.

      One can argue that quality matters but not quantity.

      But in India (and that too considering 1.5 states 1= TN and 0.5 = AP, where kamal movies are screened) there is no way he could be profitable by doing European styled/Iranian styled movies where the mass of the population are in poverty and just want “plain” entertainment.

      It’s sad but quality of the art finally depends on Poverty. If poverty is so less, we see art of communistic nature.

      If there is no poverty we see so called “high art” (for example” carnatic concerts, Operas, symphonies, Modern art, science fiction and all).

      But India lies between the extremes. So, it’s rare that the problems of poverty are depicted in humane way void of dramatization and cliches or it’s rare that creators would dwell into high art.

      All the masses want i believe is a rest from their mundane life. To whistle at their heroes bashing the villains which they couldn’t do in their pathetic real life or laugh at some crass jokes which for others (like me) are stupidly offensive in a way. So, applying “global” standards in this complex situation is quite risky I would say.

      Anyway, I’ve digressed from the main topic ;-)

      I have another point to say regarding the “content” and technique of the movies itself. Acting is an art where I think there is always a consistency provided the correct environment. An actor who is good will always be good.
      An actor who is bad will always be bad till he improves and does hard work to understand emotions.

      Example: salman khan, AB junior will always be bad till they do atleast “one good” movie.

      The point i’m trying to make is Kamal has portrayed characters brilliantly in several movies. The same actor might look like an amateur in other movies. The reason for that is not because of Kamal alone but because of
      the environment of the film itself (lack of proper script, non supporting actors, bad direction etc). How do you explain Kamal’s acting in the following movies if he is a mediocre ?

      1) mahanadi (my fav movie of his) (this has all the qualities to become a european type of classic but not
      one watched it in theatre)
      2) swatimutham
      3) saagara sangamam
      4) Moondram Pirai
      5) Thevar magan
      6) 16 vayathinele
      7) Hey ram
      8 ) Indian (Tamil movie. qualities of mass masala Hollywood movie)
      9) marocharitra
      10) Anbe sivam
      11) Aalavandhan ( comic yet scary psycho role marred by horrible unengaing script)
      12) Pushpak (silent movie in 1989 with not even a single dialogue. Not so good background music, but still the actors pulled it off greatly)
      13) Apoorva sagotharalgal ( an unusual masala revenge movie in which kamlal is a dwarf)
      14) Kuruthipoonal ( Kamal’s role as a policeman)
      15) Guna (where kamal is in love with goddess parvathi)

      Atleast you should watch 1), 12) 14), 5) 14). What the heck, watch all 15 :-)

      I dare say that atleast 10 movies from the above list (I might have missed a lot from his 200) could be looked upon from a “global” view. Not his movies like Thenali, manmadhan ambu and all other bullshit.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      1. You write: All the masses want i believe is a rest from their mundane life. To whistle at their heroes bashing the villains which they couldn’t do in their pathetic real life or laugh at some crass jokes

      Within the overall context of your comment, the above line suggests that the poor need a distraction from their dreary lives. Ergo, the junk we see in Indian cinema.

      In the U.S., almost every Telugu film and a lot of Tamil films attract a sizable audience, mostly from the highly educated, upper middle class.

      My point is that escapism from the drudgery of the poor’s miserable lives might be a factor in success of the crappy Indian cinema but it’s not the only one.

      Our people, be they rich, poor or in the grey man’s land of the Middle class (at least the majority) enjoy such junk.

      The only difference between movies made in the 60s, 70s and 80s and current films is in the finesse and polish, i.e. the stylistics but not in the content, acting or originality.

      As a people, Indians are philistines.

      I’d go as far as to hypothesize that it’s not the Indian poor’s demand for escapist entertainment that explains trashy Indian movies but more likely the middle class’ hopeless ignorance of what constitutes high art. Given the rising ticket prices and a 300-million strong middle class, it’s this group that enthusiastically embraces our junk cinema.

      2. I’ve seen and reviewed some of the films in your list and watched some in bits and pieces (thanks to YouTube).

      Yes, I will see the rest as well.

      Sweetie, from your list, I’ll watch (and maybe review) Kuruthipoonal today. I will not read the Wiki profile for Kuruthipoonal to maintain the element of complete surprise.

      • Righto about the middle class people in the USA watching junk.

        I think that that can be explained by the fact that they grew in lower middle class families in their childhood and habituated to a particular kind of cinema and not making enough effort to come out of their comfort zone.

        I have hopes that their offsprings would not tolerate that kind of junk.

      • So, Viswaroopam and Kurithi Poonal review today only ? ;-)

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Tonight, it’s gonna be only Vishwaroopam only.

        Kurithi Poonal will have to wait for a few days.

  6. Was thinking you would be happy, but you r right..he deserves proper release.

    By the way, how did the mullas think that the film is degrading Islam? Did they see the on pirated dvd? If so, kamal can sue them back nice n proper..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Was thinking you would be happy, but you r right..he deserves proper release.

    Sweetie, much as I, like most humans, have strong likes and prejudices, I do my utmost to be fair on the big issues.

    Even where my views come across as strong, I’ve tried to support them with facts and context.

    Today, some Muslims complain that Vishwaroopam portrays them in a poor light. What if tomorrow they start complaining that Anushka Shetty’s dresses are so revealing and show her navel in most pictures! Where are we to go? I don’t know about you but when I wake up, the first thing I look at is Anushka’s adorable belly-button and I don’t want some crazy Mullahs to deprive me of that blessed privilege. ;)

    The rape of Vishwaroopam is wrong.

  7. I really feel sorry for an artist like Kamal.

    He is born in the wrong place where people are not matured enough to demarcate the difference between entertainment and real life.

    He is a man who lives and breathes Cinema.

    He is an actor par excellence (read Indian excellence) and it is despairing to see the bruises that is being inflicted on him repeatedly by religious and caste groups.

    I don’t know how he is going to wriggle himself out of this situation,where a State Government instead of providing protection to the film is siding with the fanatical groups who are bent on politicizing the issue for their selfish gains.

    Surprisingly,the Indian cine industry plagued by the risk averse superstars and cash rich bollywood underworld mafia producers is silent and not supporting him.

    It only goes to show that be an conservative and risk averse actor rather than try and attempt to a good film producer by investing one’s own money.

    “Be a Roman while you are in Rome”.

    Sorry Kamal, you are born in the wrong place. India is not for you.
    3 minutes ago · Like

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The Ban on Vishwaroopam is a disgusting chapter in Indian cinema and Indian politics.

    It’s a mighty shame that none of the other “big” stars have come out in support of Kamal.

    That’s because most of them are pussies and worried about their self-interest.

    N.B.: Looks like the above comment is from your FB account…I see the 3 minutes ago “Like.” ;)

    • On the support from other stars, kamal when he decided to release the movie thru DTH, faced lot of pressure from the local theatre owners and distributors. He did not receive any supporting voice from fellow actors.

      Few days later, central govt brought laws to levy service tax on few new segments including the actors. The association of actors protested against it (wtf?) asking for an exemption. Kamal did not participate in that for reasons unknown or reasons obvious.

      And when Kamal’s movie faces a ban, you can be sure that 50% of them do not care about it and the rest are happy.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      When you do not protest injustice to others, there’ll be no one to protest injustice to you.

      Remember, this famous statement – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came

  8. Happy to comment here after a long Sabbath….time has come…if you could review and tell if the ban is worth….in SI terms, there are more horrific movies which made to the stage…but this movie is something which would decide kamal’s fate in his cinema history..wth love, {Paul}

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Hello Sweetie,

    SI will have the review of Vishwaroopam early morning (U.S. Eastern Time) of Friday, Jan 25.

  9. Inciting people is bad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wkdbCuoIk4 there are no excuses for that.

    The innocence of Muslims was a dick movie, and I hope the guy is held behind bars, even if it is for different charges.

    But, not having seen the movie, I hope kamal hasan (who is a great actor, no matter what some people like SI think of him) has taken the high route by showing that not all muslims are terrorists. Then, there is no reason to ban it. Banning it would be a pussy move.

  10. SI: your commenting systems sucks donkey balls. Can you please get disqus.com or something? I just lost a comment!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, it went into the spam folder because you used the F word.

    I’ve restored the comment (see above).

  11. Come on bro don’t u know that Kamal is one of the best Indian actor at the moment…

    How can u call him as mediocre,if kamal’s acting is mediocre for u then what will u call acting of rajini,vijay,ajith etc…

    As for as this movie is concerned TN govt did wrong thing by not allowing the movie to release and small Muslim groups can’t decide which movie shud people see….this is what one Muslim leader said in a tv show last night that vishwaroopam can’t be classified as entertaining film because it doesn’t have item song,kuthu song,comedy,OTT fights etc….it looks like most people don’t know what is entertaining film and they can’t view a film as film…so sad……pls publish this comment

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Come on bro don’t u know that Kamal is one of the best Indian actor at the moment…

    No, I do not accept Kamal Haasan is the best actor in India.

    Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpai are better.

    • that’s ur opinion….

    • “Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpai are better.”

      Naseerudin Shah I accept is a good actor.

      Others I would not rate them higher than Kamal Haasan.

      No body in the list given above has done so much of varied characters as Kamal Haasan as done.

      Period.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      One of the problems for Kamal Haasan is the dearth of quality scripts in South India….far worse than that of Bollywood.

      That’s one reason Kamal has never been able to develop a pan-Indian appeal.

      When your script is shoddy (as 99% of Tamil scripts are), the acting is often buried or swept away along with the rest of the trash.

  12. Poor guy Kamal…anytime he made a serious movie (ex. Kurumandi, Oolayittan etc.) no one bothered to watch it.

    Now when he has created a half good thriller by selling even his underwears, he gets hit in the box!!!

    As a revenge, Kamal should unleash at least 5 Mumbai Express type monstrosities on the Tamils and their revolutionary amma for creating this mess.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    But the Tamil amma says Kamal brought it all upon himself.