Kamal Haasan addressed the media today in his own house, made a stirring case for free speech and expressed his sorrow at the treatment he is being accorded in India – his controversial Tamil movie Vishwaroopam has sparked Muslim protests leading to many states authorising a ban on its screening.
Stating his anguish at having to put his emotions on display in this manner, Kamal said, “I don’t know why I am being surrounded by a political conspiracy and by whom. I am not going to even hazard a guess – it is a fact, and my history proves it, I have been leaning neither towards right nor left. I have maintained my position. I have become an instrument in a political game. This has ruined me, drained me totally and threatens to destroy me.”
An emotional Haasan said that he has ‘hocked’ his house and that he and his brothers are losing crores on the venture due to the protests and the subsequent ban. Stating all these attacks are unjustified as the Censor Board had cleared the film – “what is the point of the Censor Board”.
“My home will be taken over by the moneylender if the loan is not returned by a particular date. I have a lot of fond memories over the years tied up with that place and I thought with Vishwaroopam I would add one more. But as things stand, I don’t see that happening. My brother Chandrahaasan who has a business interest in the film is equally affected,” says Kamal – movie reportedly cost over Rs 100 cr.
Getting increasingly upset during the press meet, he threatened self-exile, “If I cannot find a secular place in India, then I will find it in some other country.” He said that he would emulate iconic artist M F Husain (who died in exile as he faced attacks from right wing organisations in India especially the Bal Thackeray-led Shiv Sena) and flee to another country, get a new passport and refuse to come back to India.
“M F Husain did it, now Haasan will do it. I will seek a living in India or abroad,” he added.
“When I have nothing to lose, I might as well choose. I will look for a place to stay from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, but not Tamil Nadu… Tamil Nadu wants me out. if I can’t find it here, I will look for it abroad. Nothing will change the fact that I am a Tamil and an Indian, only my passport will change.”
Unwilling to say anything to get into further trouble as the case is sub judice, Kamal says, “Let me not blame anyone, I am too small a man. We all know who is responsible for this reprehensible state of affairs.”
On the violence that has happened and is held up as a threat for the future, he said, “I know my fans will keep the peace – a lot of my fans are Muslims. They have not found anything wrong with the film and have been supportive throughout. I have promised my Muslim brothers that I will not do anything wrong.”
“I fail to realise how a film based in Afghanistan can be derogatory or otherwise insulting for Muslims in India. India has been known as a secular state, but what is happening is not right for its people, for its future”.
While concluding the meet, he said, “I may not retain this house, but I am sure I will still have homes to feed me. Now, I shall wait for the new judgment.”