Cineswami writes about the Vishwaroopam controversy and also reviews the Times Literary Carnival in Mumbai
Whether it is a ploy for free publicity before the January 11 release of Vishwaroopam or just a simple desire to make more money, Kamal Haasan sure knows how to stay in the news. His decision to make the film available on DTH eight hours before the film’s release has put theatre owners in a tizzy. It’ll be for a single viewing only and punters will have to pay Rs 1,000 for the privilege. The star’s contention is that less that 3 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s television audience has access to DTH and hence theatrical business will not be affected. He said in an impassioned statement that DTH is the future and theatre owners are traditionally resistant to change. He went on to say that a single DTH screening would not impact theatre-going in any way using the analogy that having a picture of God at home does not affect visits to the temple and having a good cook at home does not reduce visits to restaurants.
The Tamil Film Producers Association held an emergency meeting to discuss DTH-gate. Haasan said: “We are talking about catering to a niche segment. The majority is still going to enjoy the movie in cinema halls. We have recorded the sound in world-class technology (Auro 3D sound). That was done to get people to cinema halls. Running scared of DTH is like the majority of 99 per cent getting scared of the 1 per cent.”
There have also been reports that Vishwaroopam could have some anti-Islamic sentiments. The actor strongly refuted this, saying, “Muslims who suspect they have been depicted in a wrong manner, will have a change of heart after watching the film and as repentance they have to send their brother [meaning Haasan himself] tons of biriyani for Eid next year, which I will share with the poor.”
While Haasan salivates thinking about his haul of biriyani, some minor Bollywood players have been running around Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio at a ‘literary carnival’ organised by the city’s local rag. Wannabe actor Ranvir Shorey was seen striking a pose. Alas, no one paid him the slightest attention. His friend Vinay Pathak was asked for a few autographs at least. Nandita Das and Aamir Bashir were fulminating against communalism while Anusha Rizvi and Urmi Juvekar talked scripting. There were also ranked masses of tertiary people wanting to see and be seen, and they were, but only by each other. The only spark of interest arose from a non-Bollywood source as an Indian origin professor from the US, complete with a pseudo accent talked long and passionately about Mumbai toilets, prompting his interlocutor to respond with a flowery poem on the same subject.