Vishwaroopam is a 2013 India crime action thriller by Kamal Hassan.
With Kamal Hassan, Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah.
Kamal Haasan's controversial film Vishwaroopam has been banned from local cinemas in Malaysia a day after its release following a directive from the Home Ministry, much to the disappointment ethnic Indians in Kuala Lumpur.
Film distribution company Lotus Fivestar AV's director R Ramalingam said the ministry told him to stop screening the movie on Friday. The film, which opened in Malaysia on Thursday, had played to full cinemas before being removed from the theatres.
Vishwaroopam has been passed by the Central Board of Film Censors but has been temporarily banned in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu for two weeks amid allegations by the Muslim community that they have been depicted negatively in the movie. Haasan
has taken the matter to the Madras High Court and a decision is pending.
The film is playing in the state of Kerala but cinema goers are having to brave muslim protests.
Sri Lanka has ordered a delay in the release in favour of a review by censors.
In the UK the film has been passed 12A for cinema release after 11s of category cuts. The BBFC commented:
Company chose to remove two moments of bloody violence in order to obtain a 12A rating. An uncut 15 rating was available.
VISHWAROOPAM is a thriller in the Hindi and Tamil languages about a woman unsuspectingly married to one of India's top secret agents. It is rated 12A for moderate violence.
There are a number of fast-paced fights and shoot-outs. Although there are some heavy blows and bullet impacts, little is shown in terms of injury detail, with the focus instead placed on the spectacular and generally unrealistic fight choreography. For
example, in one scene the hero uses a Japanese sword to defeat his attackers, cutting off one of their hands. There is no detail of this but the hand is briefly seen flying through the air.
VISHWAROOPAM also contains infrequent mild bad language and mild sex references. There is also some sight of hard drugs, but this occurs within a clear anti drug context.
Presumably the baddies are muslim terrorists and hence the complaints about negative depictions from the muslim community.
Update: Unbanned by the Madras High Court
30th January 2013. See article
In a major relief to film makers, the Madras High Court has lifted the ban imposed on the movie Vishwaroopam by the Tamil Nadu government after it courted controversy over its supposedly anti-Muslim content.
The judgement paves the way for the screening of the movie however there are indications that the state government may prefer an appeal.
The court reviewed and accepted the film censorship procedures resulting in the UA certificate (PG) issued after 1:08s of censor cuts. The state's case seemed to be that the decision was taken by an examining committee rather than the full board.
The Tamil Nadu government had banned the screening of the film in the face of opposition by some Muslim outfits, who claimed that the movie portrayed their community in a negative light. It seems that this claim is due to the spy thriller baddies being
fictional muslim terrorists.
Update: Meanwhile in Milton Keynes
30th January 2013. See article
Angry Muslims staged a protest against a supposedly Islamophobic film outside Milton Keynes' Cineworld cinema.
The group were protesting the UK release of the controversial Indian film Vishwaroopam , which is currently showing in British cinemas. Campaigner Mustapha Zamaan felt the film fuelled negative views against Muslim people and should be banned from
British cinemas. He said:
We know there's a number of American films against Muslims but it's a lot different in Indian culture, where they trust film actors like gods. This worship leads to films like this creating racial tension and that's why it's been banned in India. Ideally
we want it pulled here too, but we might be a bit late.
We respect freedom of expression... BUT ...this film is hate speech that portrays Muslims negatively.
Update: Unbanned in Malaysia
21st February 2013. See article
The Malaysian Authorities on 19 February 2013 lifted the ban imposed on the screening of the Tamil movie Vishwaroopam , directed and produced by Kamal Haasan for public screening.
Earlier on 24 January 2013 the authorities approved the screening of the movie in Malaysia but following the directives released by the Home Ministry that the content of the movie portrayed Islam in a negative light, the approval was withdrawn.
The movie received a go-ahead in Malaysia after the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the National Censorship Board studied the movie from all aspects including religious and security fronts and gave a green signal to its screening.