"Vishwaroop", the Hindi version of actor-director Kamal Haasan's
controversial film "Vishwaroopam", released across India Friday
with varying response but it remained banned in Tamil Nadu.
The 149-minute movie released in 1,000 screens without trouble,
including in Delhi, industry sources said.
Security was, however, particularly high at cinema halls in Uttar
Pradesh and Mumbai over fear of protests by Muslims.
The original Tamil-Telugu "Vishwaroopam" was banned in Tamil Nadu
last month for 15 days after 24 Muslim groups objected to certain
scenes of the film as derogatory to their community.
The controversy surrounding the movie, whose story revolves around
an Al Qaeda plot and an Indian couple in the US, seems to have
sparked increased interest among viewers in north India.
In Delhi, the spectator response was "okay" but the collections
could pick up over the weekend, said Anant Verma, director and
business head, DT Cinemas.
"Whoever has seen the movie has liked it, be it people from south
or north India," Verma told IANS.
"The publicity the movie got is working in its favour. We are
expecting a hike (in collections) over the weekend."
He said there had been no security issue at any of his halls in
Delhi, and "everything is under control".
"The occupancy for the first show was 55-60 percent but that is
how it is every Friday," he said.
Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan admitted that "Vishwaroop's"
start was poor but "it is expected to improve over the weekend".
He pointed out that if a film runs into controversy, people avoid
it on the first day.
In East Punjab, a film distribution area, the opening was below
average, said distributor Jaspal Dhingra of Nanaksar Enterprises.
"The film may be good but collections are very average. Generally
dubbed films from south India don't do well in Punjab. There are
very few people here who want to watch the movie," Dhingra told
"As far as security is concerned, there were no issues here," he
Written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan, the Rs.95 crore
thriller was set for release in Tamil and Telugu Jan 25. A day
earlier, the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban on the
Subsequently, Kamal Haasan, who also stars in the lead role,
agreed to make some cuts. Talks between his representatives and
Muslim outfits have taken place in Chennai.
There were no protests in the Rajasthan capital too, said
Small theatres in Mumbai were packed but multiplexes lacked enough
audience for "Vishwaroop".
"Theatres with 150 seats are almost full. But in big theatres with
1,000 seats have hardly any crowd," Manoj M. Desai, executive
director of G7 Multiplex, told IANS.
"I feel there is so much police protection around that the
audience feels 'Why take a risk?'" said Desai.
In Lucknow, the film was screened in five multiplexes and two
single-screen theatres, officials told IANS.
There were minor protests outside Shubham Hall in Lucknow and a
multiplex in Agra.
Atul Gupta, deputy manager of PVR Cinemas in Lucknow, told IANS
that the first show had only 70 spectators in a hall meant for
Kamal Haasan said Thursday that he had incurred a loss of Rs.30-60
crore because of the delays in the movie's release in Tamil Nadu.
The film has also been banned in Qatar, the UAE, Malaysia,
Singapore and Sri Lanka. But it has released in the US and Canada.