Friday, January 25, 2013

The will of Viswaroopam - an extract from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Scene II
The Forum.

Date: 25th January 2013


Outside Devi Paradise, 48, Anna Salai Road, Chennai - 600 002


Kamal Haasan(KH)
Movie Patrons(MP): on the streets.
Police Commisioner S. George: Standing opposite Kamal Haasan
Home Secretary R. Rajagopal: Standing opposite Kamal Haasan
Protestors to ban the movie: Absent

Movie Patrons
We will be satisfied; let us be satisfied.
Then follow me, and give me audience, friends.
George, go you into the other street,
And part the numbers.
Those that will hear me speak, let 'em stay here;
Those that will follow George, go with him;
And public reasons shall be rendered
Of Viswaroopam`s death.
First MP
I will hear Rajagopal speak.
Second MP
I will hear George; and compare their reasons,
When severally we hear them rendered.
Exit George, with some of the Movie Patrons. Rajagopal goes atop the water tank
Third MP
Secretary Rajagopal is ascended: silence!
Be patient till the last.
Indians, tamils, and movie patrons! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Kamal's Viswaroopam, to him I say, that Rajagopal's love to Viswaroopam
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Rajagopal rose against Viswaroopam, this is my answer:
--Not that I loved Viswaroopam less, but that I loved
Tamil Nadu more. Had you rather Viswaroopam were screening and
see law and order problems, than that Viswaroopam were banned and canned, to live
all terror-free men? As Kamal loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew his movie. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would live in
terror? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so un-Tamil that would not be a Tamil? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
All MP
None, Rajagopal, none.
Then none have I offended. I have done no more to
Viswaroopam than you shall do to Rajagopal. The question of
it's death is enrolled in the annals of Tamil movies; it's glory not
extenuated, wherein it was worthy, nor it's offences
enforced, for which it suffered death.
Enter KAMAL, with VISWAROOPAM's box and reels
Here comes the movie, mourned by Kamal Haasan: who,
though he had no hand in it's death, shall receive
the benefit of it's dying, a place in the
commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this
I depart,--that, as I slew my best movie for the
good of Tamil Nadu, I have the same pen for myself,
when it shall please my country to need the death of other sensitive movies.
Live, Rajagopal! live, live!
First MP
Bring him with triumph home unto his house.
Second MP
Give him a statue with his ancestors.
Third MP
Let him be Kamal.
Fourth MP
Kamal's better parts
Shall be crown'd in Rajagopal.
First MP
We'll bring him to his house
With shouts and clamours.
My fellow tamils,--
Second MP
Peace, silence! Rajagopal speaks.
First MP
Peace, ho!
Good tamils, let me depart alone,
And, for my sake, stay here with Kamal:
Do grace to Viswaroopam's poster, and grace his speech
Tending to Viswaroopam's glories; which Kamal Haasan,
By our permission, is allow'd to make.
I do entreat you, not a man depart,
Save I alone, till Kamal have spoke.
First MP
Stay, ho! and let us hear Kamal Haasan.
Third MP
Let him go up into the public chair;
We'll hear him. Ayya Kamal, go up.
For Rajagopal's sake, I am beholding to you.
Goes on top of the eater tank.
Fourth MP
What does he say of Rajagopal?
Third MP
He says, for Rajagopal' sake,
He finds himself beholding to us all.
Fourth MP
'Twere best he speak no harm of Rajagopal here.
First MP
This movie needed to be banned.
Third MP
Nay, that's certain:
We are blest that Tamil Nadu is rid of the movie.
Second MP
Peace! let us hear what Kamal can say.
You gentle Tamils,--
Peace, ho! let us hear him.
Movie Patrons, Tamils, Indias, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Viswaroopam, not to praise him.
The evil that movies do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Viswaroopam. Home Secretary Rajagopal
Hath told you Viswaroopam was an ambitious movie:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Viswaroopam answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Rajagopal and the rest--
For Rajagopal is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Viswaroopam's funeral.
It was my best movie, faithful and true to the word:
But Rajagopal says it was ambitious;
And Rajagopal is an honourable man.
It hath brought many facts of terrorism to light
Which may make all of us more aware:
Did this in Viswaroopam seem ambitious?
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Rajagopal says it was ambitious;
And Rajagopal is an honourable man.
You all did see three weeks back
I tried bringing the movie to your home to increase awareness of terror,
Which the cine theater association did fret and fume: Is this their ambition?
Yet Rajagopal says it was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Rajagopal spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love my movies, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for this one?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Viswaroopam,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
First MP
Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.
Second MP
If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Viswaroopam has had great wrong.
Third MP
Is it really good?
I fear there will a worse movie will come in Viswaroopam's place.
Fourth MP
Mark'd ye his words? He was prevented from bringing it to our homes;
Therefore 'tis certain he is not playing games.
First MP
If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
Second MP
Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.
Third MP
There's not a better movie maker in Chennai than Kamal.
Fourth MP
Now mark him, he begins again to speak.
But yesterday the word of Viswaroopam might
Have stood against the world; now lies it there.
And none so poor to do it reverence.
O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Rajagopal wrong, and George wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men:
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here's a paper with the seal of all the producers of Viswaroopam;
I found it in the closet, 'tis the movie's will:
Let but the patrons hear this testament--
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read--
And they would go and kiss dead Viswaroopam's wounds
And rub their fingers over it's sacred reels,
Yea, beg a cut of it for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.
Fourth MP
We'll hear the will: read it, Kamal Haasan.
The will, the will! we will hear Viswaroopam's will.
Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it;
It is not meet you know how the producers of Viswaroopam loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, bearing the will of Viswaroopam,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
'Tis good you know not that you are its heirs;
For, if you should, O, what would come of it!
Fourth MP
Read the will; we'll hear it, Kamal;
You shall read us the will, Viswaroopam's will.
Will you be patient? will you stay awhile?
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it:
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Viswaroopam; I do fear it.
Fourth MP
They were traitors: honourable men!
The will! the testament!
Second MP
They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will.
You will compel me, then, to read the will?
Then make a ring about the corpse of Viswaroopam,
And let me show you the movie that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
Several MP
Come down.
Second MP
Third MP
You shall have leave.
Kamal comes down
Fourth MP
A ring; stand round.
First MP
Stand from the reel, stand from the box.
Second MP
Room for Kamal, artist of the millenium Kamal.
Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off.
Several MP
Stand back; room; bear back.
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this reel: I remember
The first reel of Viswaroopam put in this box;
'Twas the 7th of January, Margazhi maasam, in the Telephoto Films processing studio,
That day I announced screening the movie on DTH:
Look, in this place did the Theaters' Association object to DTH:
See what a mess subjecting to weird sensitive demands has made:
Through the ban our government and courts stabb'd;
And as they pluck'd their cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Viswaroopam follow'd it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Rajagopal so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Rajagopal , as you know, was Viswaroopam's angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly the movie producers loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the I saw Rajagopal implement the ban,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd me: then burst my mighty heart;
And, in his innocent whites covering his body,
Even at the base of Devi Paradise,
Which all the while was supposed to run the move, Viswaroopam fell.
O, what a fall was there, my movie patrons!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Viswaroopam canned and killed? Look you here,
Here is the movie, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.
First MP
O piteous spectacle!
Second MP
O Viswaroopam!
Third MP
O woeful day!
Fourth MP
O traitors, villains!
First MP
O most bloody sight!
Second MP
We will be revenged.
Revenge! About! Seek! Boycott! Pirate! Copy! Rip!
Let not any other movie live!
Stay, movie patrons.
First MP
Peace there! hear Kamal.
Second MP
We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Rajagopal is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my movie; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of it:
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Viswaroopam's reels, poor poor dumb reels,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Rajagopal,
And Rajagopal Kamal, there were a Kamal
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every reel of Viswaroopam that should move
The stones of Tamil Nadu to awareness and fearlessness.
We'll be fearless.
First MP
We'll demolish petty thought.
Third MP
Away, then! come, seek the conspirators.
Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.
Peace, ho! Hear Kamal. Most versatile Kamal!
Why, friends, you go to do you know not what:
Wherein hath Viswaroopam thus deserved your loves?
Alas, you know not: I must tell you then:
You have forgot the will I told you of.
Most true. The will! Let's stay and hear the will.
Here is the will, and under the seal of the producers.
To every Tamil it gives,
To every several man, one free ticket for Viswaroopam II.
Second MP
Most noble Viswaroopam! We'll revenge it's ban.
Third MP
O Viswaroopam!
Hear me with patience.
Peace, ho!
Moreover, it hath left you all it's songs,
It's fight scenes and newly-cast actors,
On this side Cauvery; it hath left them you,
And to your heirs for ever, pirated DVDs,
To see, become aware and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Viswaroopam! when comes such another?
First MP
Never, never. Come, away, away!
We'll burn his reels in the holy place,
And with the box, can all the other movies.
Take up the box.
Second MP
Go fetch fire.
Third MP
Pluck down movie seats.
Fourth MP
Pluck down ticket booths, hoardings, movie posters, any thing.
Exit Movie Patrons with the box and reels.
Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!

Written with due apologies to William Shakespeare.

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