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Kamal finds ‘mute’ solution

Chennai, Feb. 2: The Tamil version of Vishwaroopam is set for release in its home state with actor-director Kamal Haasan and minority groups today agreeing on certain sound cuts.

The Tamil Nadu government had banned the movie on January 23 for 15 days on a petition from minority organisations.

“We have agreed to mute the sound at certain places. This edited version will be placed before the censors and released after their approval. I will announce the date of the film very soon,” Kamal told reporters this evening after six hours of talks presided over by Tamil Nadu home secretary R. Rajagopal.

According to a spokesperson for the Tamil Nadu Towheet Jamaat, one of the organisations that had demanded a total ban on the movie, Kamal agreed to seven sound cuts.

“He also agreed to remove the preface that the film was based on true incidents. Instead, the preface would now state that the film is a work of fiction and is not directed against any individual or community,” Rahamatullah said.

Following the agreement, the minority groups are expected to withdraw their ban demand and Kamal his petition against it in the high court.

Some see today’s agreement as a “victory” for Kamal since the minority groups had initially called for a total ban on grounds that the film’s intent was to denigrate Muslims.

They say that since only the sound would be muted in sections the groups objected to, the changes are unlikely to have much of an impact on the film’s narrative.

Others, however, disagree with this reading. Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted: “It is a sad day for democracy because what has happened with #Kamal Haasan will be set as a precedence for future.”

The controversy appears to have raised expectations about the movie. “The controversy has actually come as free publicity for the film, which should help ticket sales,” a theatre-owner said.