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VISWAROOPAM & Intolerance!

VISWAROOPAM is a Trilingual movie by Kamal Haasan’s brother and Kamal Haasan himself is said to be cast in the lead. But the Thamizh version of the movie VISWAROOPAM has been prohibited from being screened by orders passed by each Disrtict Collector under section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting the theatre owners from screening the movie VISWAROOPAM in any of the cinema halls in Tamizhnadu!


But why? Simple, there are groups advocating any IDEA at any given point of time. To collect people and bring them to the streets and organize a protest is not very difficult in Tamizhnadu. So there were a few Muslim organizations which have alleged that the Movie “portrays Muslims in a poor light” therefore they objected to the movie being screened in Tamizhnadu. There have been other Muslim organizations which claim themselves as moderates and have protested against the prohibitory orders against the screening of VISWAROOPAM. So here we have two groups from the same community which have protested, one for suppressing a ‘perceptional portrayal’ the other is for ‘freedom of creative expression’!

DEMOCRACY merely provides for a mechanism to elect Legislators for passing Legislations and also to form a Government, so that the cabinet becomes responsible to the Assembly or the Parliament, as the case may be. This makes a Prime Minister or a Chief Minister the Chief executive of the state machinery. But the state machinery is much bigger and gives continuity to the Administration more than the elected legislature or the cabinet. The POLICY could be changed by the legislature, or the CABINET could oversee if the implementation is carried out by the state machinery – which is within the powers of the executive. But unfortunately the Executive’s postings are decided by a Minister of the Cabinet. This ensures that the Cabinet gets its will enforced through the hapless executive!

In the instant case, since each District Collector in Tamizh Nadu, has issued separate PROHIBITORY ORDERS to the individual CINEMA OWNERS, even the movie maker is said NOT TO HAVE ANY LOCUS STANDI TO CHALLENGE THE PROHIBITORY ORDER,  AS THE ORDER IS TO THE CINEMA HALL OWNER AND NOT THE MOVIE MAKER!

What a super fallacy!

There have been enough cases where an ordinary shareholder of a Company could implead himself on issues relating to the company. Likewise,  in the interpretation of Article 21, ‘Life’ has been given an extensive meaning by the Supreme Court of India, therefore a movie maker HAS INALIENABLE RIGHTS WHEN A CINEMA OWNER IS SPECIFICALLY RESTRAINED from screening his movie. What more LOCUS STANDI is required?

Here the reasons cited by the executive is that COMMUNAL HARMONY is likely to be disturbed!

That is merely a PREDICTION of the executive, which is threatened by the LEGISLATOR not to use force against a miscreant, even if the miscreant uses unlawful means. The executive is told of consequences which he would have to face, if the electorate is troubled- as the electorate’s whim is of more consequence for a legislator than ORDER through enforcement of LAW!

This being the case,  PRESCRIPTIONS by all and sundry that the VICTIM should be modest and not excite the criminality of the OFFENDER is freely given by legislators and Godmen! In Nirbhaya’s case people had the gall to tell that women should be modestly clad, not go out in the dark late etc. etc. instead of realizing their own duties.

In the matter of VISWAROOPAM, the Film Board of Certification has certified the worthiness of the movie to be screened, so from where does the Tamizhnadu government get its right to thwart its screening by issuing prohibitory orders?

Simple, the List II of the 7th Schedule lists cinemas and gambling houses under the State list and therefore the State govt is emboldened to restrain the cinema owners and are in no way restricting the movie maker. Surely PERVERSE.

Next, if an artiste cannot express his or her views and feelings, where is the freedom of speech and expression? It is the FEAR OF THE CRIMINAL ELEMENTS which makes the government suppress these legitimate creative expressions.

Let us resolve that we become refined enough to tolerate whatever others may express creatively and if we want to retaliate, let us retaliate through creative means and not make FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION a casualty.

The Government instead of predicting criminal consequences should equip itself to deal with such FEAR PURVEYING  elements with an iron hand.


PONGAL release of the Tamil movie  NANBAN, meaning ‘friend’ in Tamil, is the official  Tamil re-make of THREE IDIOTS in Hindi and the basic story lifted from the book ‘FIVE POINT SOMEONE‘, by Chetan Bhaghat.

I watched the movie this evening in Prarthana open air theatre on the East Coast Road at Chennai. To put it succinctly, the movie was FLAT & has nothing Tamil about it. It was like watching the DISCOVERY TV Channel in Tamil, the content had nothing reflecting Tamil culture with dialogues in chaste translated Tamil. It was FLAT. I think the initial hype is likely to wear out real fast and i am sure, the movie is not likely to do well in small towns and villages of Tamil Nadu. The movie is an ‘engineer’ based version of the Tamil movie VASOOL RAJA (which was a remake of MUNNA BHAI M B B S). in which the lead actors were students of a Medical college.

VASOOL RAJA at least had Tamil flavour, with Kamal Haasan and Sneha rendering their respective roles with much elan, even though it was also a remake of the Hindi movie MUNNA BHAI M B B S. The quintessence of MUNNA BHAI was recaptured in true Tamil sense, especially with Kamal Haasan playing a sterling role of  the MEDICAL student, who is not doing Medicine on merit, but just to spite the  Dean/ Principal of the Medical College and also bring in his home-grown beliefs into Allopathy.

NANBAN is the same story happening in an Engineering college. The three actors seem to have striven hard to match up to their Hindi counterparts, but fall FLAT. Shankar’s touch is lacking in this movie, i wonder why he couldn’t absorb the essence of the Hindi movie and transmute it into a Tamil movie of some calibre. He appears to have lost himself in having got into the details with a view towards being faithful to the original, in the process Tamil flavour is wanting.

I hope Shankar sheds doing such movies and truly brings out the linguistic punch and the cultural flavours of Tamil. Good luck to him for his next movie.

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