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Vishwaroopam gets the green light, finally

 | February 19, 2013

The approval is given with the condition that the distributor agrees with additional cuts to the movie, says the National Film Censorship Board.


PETALING JAYA: After a hiatus of three weeks, the National Film Censorship Board (LPF) today finally gave the green light to screen Vishwaroopam with immediate effect.

“Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) director- general has agreed with the Home Ministry on screening the movie after they were satisfied with the cuts done by LPF.

“The approval is given with the condition that the distributor agrees with additional cuts to the movie.

“The rescind on the suspension of the movie is effective from today,” LPF chairman Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap said in a statement today.

Vishwaroopam, a Kamal Haasan spy-thriller, was first screened on Jan 25.  However, it was suspended the following day due to opposition from Indian Muslim groups that claimed the movie was insensitive to the feelings of the Muslims.

The Home Ministry suspended the movie after receiving protest memorandums from Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) and Federation of Indian Muslim Organisations (Permim).

The suspension did no go down well with the Indian community. Even members of civil societies such as National Laureate A Samad Said questioned the rationale in suspending the movie.

Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen described Malaysia as a coward nation in her micro-blogging site.

MIC strategy director S Vell Paari even invited Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to watch the movie at a cinema belonging to the local distributor, Lotus Five Star.

MIC organised a meeting with a number of Indian Muslim NGOs that opposed the screening with Lotus Five Star where they agreed to mute 16 sensitive scenes.

In the meantime, Home Ministry formed a special panel made up of the LPF and Jakim that had two meetings to study the movie.

Distributor to decide screening date

In an immediate reaction, Vell Paari asked what was the Home Ministry trying to achieve since pirated copies of Vishwaroopam were sold openly.

“While the ban was imposed on Vishwaroopam by the Home Ministry, what did the ministry do to stop piracy?

“Where was the ministry’s eagerness to stop piracy that was seen when it stopped the screening of the movie?” he asked.

He said the sensitivities of the Muslims were not taken care of due to the proliferation of the uncensored copies of the movie.

He also questioned groups which were unhappy with his stand in support of Vishwaroopam.

“I am also very surprised with some representatives of Indian Muslim NGOs that objected to the initially approved version but were silent on the sale of unedited pirated copies of the movie.  It would at least help the local Malay film industry,” he said.

In a related development, Lotus Five Star programming manager P Gopal said that his company is awaiting for LPF’s report before deciding on the screening date.

“We have not received LPF’s report yet. We would decide once we receive it,” he said.


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