They appreciate his sensitivity to the feelings of those want to watch Vishwaroopam.
Penang Odeon theatre owner G Mariadas and Penang Kamal Haasan Fan Club president S Mahendran (photo) both said Najib in particular had shown sensitivity to the feelings of Tamil movie fans.
Najib foreshadowed the good news when he was in Penang last week. He told FMT he would consider lifting the Vishwaroopam ban, which was enforced by the Home Ministry on Jan 25, a day after its nationwide release.
“We will look seriously into resolving the problem,” he said when asked to comment on the ban and the opposition against it.
Vishwaroopam, which has international terrorism as its theme, stars Indian movie icon Kamal Haasan. He also wrote the screenplay and co-produced and directed the film. The co-stars include Pooja Kumar, Rahul Bose, Andrea Jeremiah and Shekhar Kapur.
Mahendran and Mariadas said they were sure the ban would have remained if Najib did not intervene.
“Najib has heeded the public’s call,” said Mahendran. “Tamil movie fans can now look forward to watching the movie at last.”
Although uncut pirated CDs of the movie have hit the market since before Chinese New Year, he believes that movie fans would still prefer to watch it on the big screen.
“I am sure the movie will be a hit in Penang,” he said.
The ban followed complaints by some Indian Muslim groups that the movie showed Islam and Muslims in a bad light.
The Malaysian ban followed similar bans in southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as in Sri Lanka and Singapore.
But in all those places, the ban was lifted after two weeks, during which censors snipped out the offending parts of the movie.
Since the ban, many local Indian groups, as well as individuals like MIC strategic director S Vell Paari and MIC CWC member KP Samy, have repeatedly urged the government to withdraw it. Some have held peaceful demonstrations to further their cause.
Finally, after three weeks, the National Film Censorship Board (LPF) gave the green light for public screening of the movie, effective today.
LPF chairman Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap said the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) was satisfied with the newly cut version and agreed with the Home Ministry that the movie was now fit for public screening.