The controversy over his film Vishwaroopam did not make actor Kamal Haasan angry, but he felt “sorrow” and like Socrates he would “sip the cup of poison” to speak his “freedom”.

Speaking recently on his film’s banning in parts of India, he said: “I am not angry, only (felt) sorrow, that in a great country, free country like India, an artist would be insulted so. Because, very rarely have artists been responsible for riots.”

“We (artists) are the people who can stick the world together… They can do so many wonders. We are doctors, actually. You suspect that man to be a rabble-rouser or rioter, that is an insult. I am a son of Socrates. If you give me a cup of poison, I will sip it and speak my freedom,” he said.

Showering praise on veteran Tamil director K Balachandar, Haasan said the former taught him bravery. The actor was speaking at a meeting where several prominent Telugu film personalities, including actor Nagarjuna, Dadasaheb Phalke award recipient D Ramanaidu, directors K Vishwanath and Dasari Narayana Rao, were present.

Haasan thanked the media for support during the controversy. “I did not know it will end this way. The only strength came from media.”

Vishwaroopam had faced opposition from some Muslim organisations, and was banned in Tamil Nadu for some time. It faced trouble in Andhra Pradesh too. –