VHP wants objectionable scene removed from Uttama Villain; Kamal Haasan and Ramesh Aravind responds

Controversies chase superstar Kamal Haasan or he inadvertently courts trouble whenever a major film of his is about to release.

Uttama Villain
Controversies chase superstar Kamal Haasan or he inadvertently courts trouble whenever a major film of his is about to release.
Like his previous Vishwaroopam that ran into trouble with minority community holding up its release for over a month, Kamal Haasan's latest offering - Uttama Villain - has caught the attention of Hindu organisations. They are demanding a ban, as they claim it hurts the sentiments of the majority community.

In the forefront of the ban-seeking is Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Tamil Nadu unit. It has lodged a formal complaint with the commissioner of police alleging that the portrayal of Lord Vishnu in a song had objectionable content that would outrage the sentiments of the Hindu community.

The song, Iraniyan Nadagam, belittles the conversation between Bhakta Prahalad and his father Hiranyakasipa and is sure to outrage Lord Vishnu followers, the organisation added.

VHP member KL Sathiyamoorthy formally lodged a complaint with the police commissioner on Monday in which he said these conversations were in bad taste and the film ought to be banned. He said the lyrics will upset followers of Lord Vishnu.

Arjun Sampath, a senior leader of Hindu Makkal Katchi, a Hindu organisation, too felt that there was strength in VHP's argument and added that a filmmaker of Kamal Haasan's stature should respect the sentiments and feelings of sections of society.

Kamal Haasan has clarified that he will make only those cuts demanded by the censor board in the film and he will not give in to fringe groups this time. Right wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has sought a ban on the release of Uttama Villain alleging that the song Iraniya Naadagam in the film hurts the sentiments of Hindus.

“I would do only those cuts that are requested by the censor board. They have been very kind and they have liked the film. Raavan cannot be kind in his dialogues with Ram. Nor Hiranya with Shri Narayanmoorthi. Some of the lines are written by the great Kamban. I regret the cuts I made in Vishwaroopam. My intention is not to hurt any religious sentiments,” said Kamal Haasan.

Film-maker and censor board member Ashoke Pandit also came in support for Kamal Haasan. “I object to VHP’s demand to ban Kamal Haasan’s film. These barrages of objection is stifling the brilliance of cinema. VHPs of the world need to know that Hindu religion is too magnanimous. One song, one movie can not harm the religion,” said Ashoke Pandit.

"As a director I can assure that nothing in the film will hurt anybody's sentiment. The film is about the feelings of a superstar; his journey and emotions. The said song sequence has nothing offensive in it against any community," Aravind told IANS.

Slated for release on May 1, Uttama Villain has been passed with a U-certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

"CBFC has given us a clean chit. None of its members found anything offensive with the film's content. Hence, I don't foresee any problems with the release," he said.

When asked if they plan to react proactively in this regard, Aravind said, "We haven't received any complaint from anybody. They (VHP) have approached the police commissioner. We don't see the need to react."

The film is about the life of an 8th century theatre artist and a modern-day superstar. It also features late actor-filmmaker K Balachander along with Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, K Vishwanath, Urvashi, Jayaram and MS Bhaskar in important roles.

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