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Virumaandi cleared by Censors

Kamal Hassan's film 'Virumaandi' has cleared the final hurdle - the Censors. A beaming Kamal, talking to newspersons in Chennai January 2, 2004, declared that the Censors had cleared the film, with an 'A' certificate.

The shooting of the film was earlier dogged by controversy following the objections of some political parties like the 'Puthiya Tamizhagam', particularly to the title, 'Sandiyar'. After a meeting with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa he dropped 'Sandiyar'. The film has been renamed 'Virumaandi'.

Kamal made light of the controversies, the agitations and the cloud of doubts which hovered over the making of the film, saying, "All that is behind us. Why should we continue to harp on it? I am happy with the title Virumaandi."

On whether the Puthiya Tamizham will accept the film, he said everyone, including the PT, will accept the film. There was nothing derogatory about anyone or any caste in the film. "I am sure they will also like it," he added. Replying to another question, he said, "The controversy or the threatened agitation by some people had only caused me hurt, not anger."

On the censorship of the film, he said, "I will say they have been generous though they have made some cuts and given the film an 'A' certificate. The freedom available to writers like Jayakanthan and Rajnarain are not available to film-makers. However, I don't want to enter into a debate on this. I have no complaints against the Censors, given the fact that films have to be censored in India according to certain traditions and guidelines. In that sense, they have valid reasons to make the cuts. Although it must be understood that use of certain abusive words at times is required to bring out the nativity and an accurate reflection of certain situations. In this age, when children are exposed to sex and violence through satellite television, it was not a big issue. However, I accept the decision of the Censors with all humility," added Kamal.

The film is slated for release on Pongal Day, January 14. The date for the release of the film in Andhra Pradesh was being finalised. Dubbing work is still on, he pointed out.

Kamal is not just playing the lead role of Virumaandi but has also undertaken the responsibility of script, direction, production. He also has a role as a lyricist along with Ilayaraja and Kavignar Muthulingam, and choreographer with Raghuram.

The major highlights of the film are the realistic portrayal and dialogue delivery of the cast, reflecting the nativity of the land and its dialects, the brilliant music by Ilayaraja ("the maestro would probably not have worked so much for any other film") and the jallikattu scenes. "The bulls bought by us have turned so affectionate that we don't feel like selling them. They are now at Sivaji Ganesan's house," said Kamal.

On the inspiration for the story of the film, Kamal said he was inspired from time to time by the glimpses of several villages around Madurai right from his early days . "In fact, when I re-visited some villages after several years, I have found they have changed. Can't recognise them now. In fact, they are studies in contrast - you have farmers, people travelling on bicyles and yet talking on cellphones (using ear-pieces), at the same time using modern farming methods as also adhering to traditions. All these are also shown in the film."

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It was nice, okay for our citi..... - Divya, America, 1/22/2004
can someone tell me the exact..... - pads, chennai, 1/17/2004
i am still waiting for my pong..... - manikandan, chennai, 1/3/2004
Kamal is also planning a premiere in the US, partly to project his film there and more importantly to leverage plans for overseas distribution. His own production unit, Raajkamal Films International, is also looking at the possibility of handling the overseas distribution of this film, and may be other films too. "We would like to undertake distribution. We are working on the possibility but nothing has been finalised yet."

Yet, for all the hype over the film and the excitement and sense of anticipation in his unit, Kamal, in characteristic style, is working on three new films. "I am already working on them but I don't want to talk about them till the release of Virumaandi." On the year that has gone by and his struggles year-round, Kamal said, "People should say Virumaandi was made in the year 2003."

R Rangaraj

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Published on 3rd Jan, 2004

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