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Islamic protest delays release of Indian film

Controversial spy thriller "Vishwaroopam" hits a nerve of Muslim groups in India as the producer goes ahead with the release of a Hindi language version of the movie

AP, Thursday 31 Jan 2013
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Kamal Hassan, one of the biggest movie stars in southern India, said Thursday he would go ahead with the release of a Hindi language version of his controversial spy thriller "Vishwaroopam" as he fights a court battle for the release of the Tamil language version in his home state of Tamil Nadu.

Several Muslim groups protested the film's release in Tamil Nadu, objecting to its portrayal of Islam. The state high court says it will rule next week on a ban imposed by the state government, which says the movie could trigger violence in the state.

Hassan has offered to edit out scenes considered offensive and some references to the Quran. He said he would wait for the court decision on Feb. 6 rather than approach India's highest court to overturn the ban.

His attorney, P.S. Raman, said the film had been approved for release by the federal board of film certification and the state government had no authority to ban its screening, The Hindu newspaper reported.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha said Thursday that if Hassan worked out a compromise with protesting Muslim groups the state government would consider lifting the ban imposed on the movie.

Hassan was the producer, director and had the lead role in the film, which was released abroad and in some Indian states on Jan. 25.

"I truly wonder how one movie could knock this mighty nation's unity. From Kashmir to Kerala, excluding Tamil Nadu, I would look for a secular state which could house an artiste like me. If I can't find one within India, which I will know in a couple of days, I will find hopefully another country which is secular and will take me," he told reporters on Wednesday.

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