The Vishwaroopam dispute
Kamal Haasan’s latest film, a bi-lingual project that will release as Vishwaroopam in Tamil and Vishwaroop in Hindi, is set to become the first Indian film to run on television before its theatrical release. It will hit theatres on 11 January. It will be available on TV through direct-to-home (DTH) platforms a day ahead, on 10 January. A one-time watch fee of Rs 1,000 will be charged for the Tamil version and Rs 500 for the Hindi version.
According to Haasan, who has directed, co-produced and acted in the film, this has been done so as not to lose out on those audiences that will not go to theatres but watch pirated copies in their homes. However, theatre owners and distributors in Tamil Nadu have objected to it. The Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association and Tamil Nadu Film Distributors’ Association, which represent around 700 theatre owners and distributors, have threatened to not screen the film if it is first released on TV.
Haasan has so far remained adamant, resulting in an impasse. According to some reports, there have been a series of closed-door meetings between the association and Haasan. At the time of going to print, with no solution in sight, there is talk that the film’s theatre release date will be postponed to 25 January.
Vishwaroopam is a spy-thriller. According to rumours, it will be a combination of a psychological-thriller like Hannibal and an action flick like Mission Impossible. Made at an estimated cost of Rs 95 crore, it is supposed to be one of the most expensive Indian films ever made. The actor-director expects the film to rake in at least Rs 350 crore.