Mumbai, Jan 31: Backing actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan, whose magnum opus "Vishwaroopam" has been banned once again in Tamil Nadu, maverick Telugu filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli wonders what happened to freedom of speech in the country and how the government can stop a film's release.
Rajamouli, who has constantly made massy films, wonders at the naked targeting of Kamal Haasan's film by the Tamil Nadu government.
"What about the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Indian Constitution? Is that freedom being pushed down the drain when Kamalji's film is being targeted? And didn't the honourable Supreme Court rule that no government can stop any film's release for reasons of law and order? Are governments above the law," said Rajamouli.
Like many in the Indian film fraternity, Rajamouli believes Kamal Haasan is being targeted for personal reasons.
"At first I thought this was just vote-bank politics. Now it appears that it is more of a personal vendetta. I feel very sad that this should happen to someone of Kamal Haasan's stature. But more than sadness, I feel fear," said the director, known for movies like "Raja Ramanna", "Magadheera" and "Eega".
Rajamouli is keen to watch which part of the movie, which revolves around an Al Qaeda plot and an Indian couple in the US, hurts the sentiments of Muslim organisations which raised objections to certain scenes of the film.
"Initially I was outraged along with the rest of our film fraternity at the atrocity that the banning of the film suggests. Apparently, the film 'hurts the sentiments of Muslims'. Now I want to know which part of the film hurts the sentiments of the Muslims," he said.
Rather than "Vishwaroopam" hurting Muslim sentiments, Rajamouli sees the implicit message of the Tamil Nadu government's banning of the film as being insulting to Muslims.
"If the film is being banned for showing the Taliban in a dark light and if the Indian Muslims are expected by the government to be hurt by this depiction, then I am afraid, the Muslims of our country are being insulted by the government," he said.