Chennai: In the past week alone, lawyer Pattabhi Sundar Raman has gained 3,000 new Twitter followers.
The online fame came after he started tweeting updates on the Vishwaroopam case, where he represents the movie’s producers. Until then, Tamil Nadu’s former advocate general (the state’s top law officer) had just around 200 followers on the micro-blogging site.
Raman entered public consciousness last week, when, on Thursday, he tweeted: “Vishwaroopam verdict has been my biggest disappointment. Hope to get it cleared by next week.” That was after the Madras High Court failed to provide the producers relief on the Tamil Nadu government’s effective ban of the movie on the grounds that it hurt the sentiments of Muslim sentiments.
Vishwaroopam a spy thriller was to be released in cinema halls across Tamil Nadu the following day.
Raman hasn’t had much luck with bans, one way or the other.
“The last time the government tried banning or suspending release like Vishwaroopam was Da Vinci Code in Tamil Nadu as advocate general I lost the case defending government,” he said.
This time, the 52-year old lawyer and cricketer (most of his tweets are about cricket and movies) said he took up the case after Kamal Haasan telephoned him from Los Angeles on the night of 23 January. ““How could I say no to my friend Kamal Haasan whom I have known for thirty years?”. Raman has represented other people from the Tamil movie industry in court too and is the lawyer of ace director Mani Rathnam, who is married actor Sushasini, niece of Kamal Haasan.
After a couple of twists and turns, the Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed the release of the movie till 6 February when it is to hear the case again.
“As the release is getting delayed, I am facing huge loss and my house and all my earnings will go from my hands, I have pledged my assets,” Haasan, who has produced and also stars in the movie said on Wednesday, prompting some of his fans to send cheques to Rajkamal International Films which has produced the film at a cost of Rs 95 crore.
On Thursday, a day after he said he could consider leaving Tamil Nadu and even India, Haasan said that he was “still hurt”, but would wait before moving the Supreme Court against the state government’s ban on its screening.
A statement by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa held out some hope for Haasan. The chief minister said her government would facilitate a compromise between fringe Muslim groups protesting the movies release and the producers.