Just as the world celebrated Tamil filmstar Kamal Haasan’s 50th year in cinema, he also enjoyed his 55th birthday quietly with his family.
Last year, Kamal Haasan cited the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils and stayed away from celebrations of his birthday and this year too, he decided to keep it a sedated affair, choosing to spend some quality time with his family, away from the hustle bustle of Chennai.
Known to many of his fans as the ‘kissing king’, Kamal Haasan has proven his acting prowess from his very first movie, Kalathur Kannamma. A hit in 1960, he played a dual role at the tender age of 5, which won him the National award. No mean feat for a small child, who then grew up to be one of India’s finest actors.
A fine orator, he has acted in films across most Indian languages and beholds a vast array of talents. Whether it be Indian Classical Dance, choreography, screenwriting, singing or writing lyrics, he has dabbled in the whole spectrum of film associated work. It is even cited that he dabbles in the art of magic, as a hobby. He is also a rare actor who has had 7 movies sent to the Oscars, to represent Indian film.
Many will remember him for his portrayal as Velu Nayagan in Mani Ratnam’s Nayagan, the Tamil version of the Godfather trilogy, which got into the TIME 100 list of best films in the world, of all time. His Dasavathaaram, a magnum opus of sorts, saw him playing 10 roles and he has done similar Eddie Murphyesque films, with Hollywood make-up artistes performing incredible transformations, the most memorable being Avvai Shanmukhi (Mrs Doubtfire) and Indian.
Films like Salangai Oli, Guna, Thevar Magan, Hey Ram, Thenali (where he plays a Sri Lankan character who had been deeply affected by the civil war), Anbe Sivam, Unnal Mudiyum Thambi and Punnagai Mannan amongst many more, leave lingering impressions in the minds of his fans and he is known for unconventional honesty. His personal life has constantly been under scrutiny, but he has always gained the respect of his peers and fans and stood tall with his candor and humour.
When it comes to his numerous remakes, he believes that there is indeed nothing new in this world, just one’s unique take on things. He shares: "There is nothing wrong in remaking a good idea. In fact Kamban’s Tamil Ramayanam itself was nothing but a very intelligent remake of the original Ramayana." His most recent film, ‘Unnaipol Oruvan’ which is a remake of the Hindi ‘A Wednesday’ had made waves not only for the story and acting, but for it’s short length. His gorgeous elder daughter, Shruti did the music for the UTV produced movie.
Known to the masses as Ulaga Nayagan aka Universal Hero, Kamal Haasan doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. He articulates: "It is just like a dream. I feel as if I have just begun my journey. I wonder what I have achieved. There are miles to go before I sleep." When it comes to comedy, musicals or serious roles, nothing is too difficult for Kamal Haasan, arguably one of the finest artistes in the world.
Words: Ashanti OMkar