ANGRY Muslims staged a protest against an allegedly Islamophobic film outside Cineworld last Saturday ...The group were protesting the UK release of the controversial Indian film Vishwaroopam, which is currently showing in British cinemas. The film has already been banned in two Indian regions and in Muslim countries in South East Asia amid controversy about the way it depicts Muslims as terrorists.
Campaigner Mustapha Zamaan felt the film fuelled negative views against Muslim people and should not be shown in 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 . . . this film is hate speech that portrays Muslims negatively.”
Vishwaroopam was first shown at Cineworld Milton Keynes last Friday and is due to run until Thursday.
From the Hindu, one of India's best read and most venerable newspapers
The delay in overturning the unjustifiable ban on Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam is beginning to appear every bit as unjustifiable. It is difficult to fathom the rationale behind the Madras High Court deferring its decision on the film’s screening. Earlier, the court had ruled the film cannot be shown in Tamil Nadu until January 28, by which time the judge hearing the case would see it for himself. Now that the special screening has been held, what basis can there possibly be for deferring the decision once again and asking Kamal Haasan to “negotiate the matter and sort the issue out amicably”? Courts exist principally to dispense justice, not to hand out advice which, in this case, seems entirely gratuitous.
There should have been no place for such temporising given the clear judicial precedents in such cases. It was only two years ago that the Supreme Court set aside the two-month ban on the Hindi film Aarakshan on the ground that States cannot proscribe films that have been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification on the mere apprehension that screening them may cause a law and order problem.
The ban on Vishwaroopam must be quashed and the police directed to provide adequate protection to theatres and moviegoers. While it is the right of the fringe Muslim groups who are offended, seemingly or otherwise, to protest against the film, any demonstration should be staged only peacefully. Anyone who threatens or takes recourse to violence deserves to be dealt with strictly and punitively.