Chennai, Jan 26 (TruthDive): Vishwaroopam, the Tamil film produced by veteran actor Kamal Hassan is facing troubles in Malaysia. It is causing further polarization among majority Muslims ( mostly of Malay origin) and minority Hindus (of Indian Origin) in Malaysia. In Singapore and Sri Lanka also the screening of the film is suspended. In these countries, the Tamil population following both Hindu and Muslim religions coexist as in Tamil Nadu.
While facing ban for 15 days in the home state Tamil Nadu and following similar trends in Karnataka, Andhra and protests in Kerala too, it is going to be a tough time for Kamal Hassan who has invested Rs.95 crore in this project aiming at national and international business with a theme applicable to a common global problem.
The Muslim groups in Malaysia demand a ban on the film although the Malaysian censor board had already cleared the film and it was ready for screening. The local government succumbed to the pressure of Muslim groups and therefore the screening has hit a roadblock.
In a surprising twist, the Hindu activist group with majority Tamil Members in Malaysia Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) is in favour of lifting the ban on Vishwaroopam.
Hindraf chairman P Waytha Moorthy feels banning the film is a blow to the “ freedom of artistic expression”. He sees a discrimination in preventing a Tamil film to be screened while English and Hindi films with similar themes are allowed in Malaysia. He argues that the subject dealt in Vishwaroopam is “ an international reality.”
Hindraf is an umbrella organization of 30 Hindu NGOs formed with the purpose of preservation of Hindu religious community and heritage. Their rally in 2007 faced restriction by the Government of Malaysia which invoked sedition charges under internal security act against Hindraf members. Later the organization was declared illegal.
However, Hindraf had already created a “Hindu Spring” in Malaysian politics. The ruling UMNO of Malaysia was reduced to a simple majority from a two-third majority in the 12th general elections in Malaysia. This organization is a force to reckon with in Malaysian politics since in pockets of areas it has the support of Chinese minority too. Chinese constitute 23.7 percent of population of Malaysia while Indians account for 7.1 percent, majority of whom are Tamils.
Therefore their demand for lifting suspension of screening Vishwaroopam as against the ban demanded by Malaysian Muslims has the potential of further polarizing the religious communities in Malaysia.