No, none of his movies are releasing in the near future. Nor is his birthday round the corner. Just felt like writing it. A post on Kamal Haasan, from an objective fan.
Till I was in Class VI or so, it appeared to me as though Rajnikanth was the only real hero, while all others were merely trying to be one. I was a kid when his career best films like Annamalai, Baasha, Arunachalam, Padayappa, etc. were released.
Only Kamal Haassan’s full length comedy movies like Panchathantiram, Avvai Shanmukhi, Michael Madana Kama Rajan and the likes were understood and appreciated by the kid in me. Pretty sure it would have been the case with most of you who were born in the sane 90’s generation.
It is only as I grew older that I was able to appreciate Kamal Haassan’s works; rather masterpieces. The man who gave his heart and soul and money for Tamil Cinema. Though it will be an Apples vs Oranges comparison, I wouldn’t be wrong if I say that throughout most of his career, he’s been overshadowed by the Midas Man Rajnikanth, at least within the borders of Tamil Nadu.
Now this doesn’t mean that Rajni’s works were superior than Kamal’s. In fact, they weren’t. Kamal’s movies were a class apart. That turned out to be his problem. Most of his movies couldn’t (still can’t) reach to the vegetable seller or the blue collar worker, unlike Rajni’s simple rags-to-riches sagas or hero-triumphs-villain stories.
Appu (Aboorva Sagotharargal), Velu Naicker (Nayagan), Avvai Shanmukhi, Indian Thatha, Nalla Sivam (Anbe Sivam), Sakthi (Thevar Magan), Raja (Vasool Raja MBBS), etc. are immortalized characters in celluloid, thanks to the Ulaga Nayagan. It’s sometime hard to even imagine that diverse characters (Both physically and in character) such as these were played by a single man.
I still can’t believe how he pulled off a Panchathantiram (a laugh riot), immediately after Hey Ram (an intense film) which was in turn preceded by Thenali (a laugh riot). He got his first National Award at the age of 6, at an age when most of us would have found it tough to even spell “National Award”. That should explain it.
Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan may be his idol and guru, but according to me (and many others), he’s gone past his idol in many ways (No, I am not referring to Dasavathaaram where he played 10 roles in a movie to surpass Sivaji’s 9 in Navarathri).
He’s more than just an actor; a dance master, singer, director, producer, lyricist and what not. Vijaya T. Rajender comes a close second to Kamal when it comes to doing multiple things, in Tamil Cinema.
But unlike Vijaya T. Rajender, Kamal not only does multiple things, but is also very good at all of them. Had Kamal not entered into acting at all and pursued a career in playback singing, he would still have given the likes of the great SPB a run for their money. This is not the Kamal fanatic in me speaking/typing. It is an avid music lover’s humble observation. Songs like “Yaar Yaar Sivam” (Anbe Sivam) never fail to give Goosebumps even today, after 11 years. Not to forget he’s done playback singing for Thala Ajith and Dhanush.
Same holds true for Kamal, the dance master. Salangai Oli, and more recently “Unnai Kaanaadhu” (Vishwaroopam). Enough said.
I am not a die hard Kamal fan. At least, I cannot call myself one, because I haven’t seen most of his films that released before 1990. Nayagan, Moondram Pirai, Aboorva Raagangal, Salangai Oli, 16 Vayathinile, Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, Punnagai Mannan are some of the very few classics of his that I’ve seen.
As a fan, it pains to see that out-of-the-world masterpieces like Anbe Sivam and Hey Ram bombed at the Box Office. That’s how cruel life can be, if you are Kamal Haasan.
His Wikipedia profile says he has had two wives in the past and is currently living in with another woman. But he’s been faithful to one wife. All his life. Cinema. That’s all we fans need.
He preaches Atheism, but young budding actors won’t believe him, because for them, there’s at least one God. Him.
If someone writes a series of books on Kamal Haasan, spanning 10 volumes, it’ll still fail to appreciate/explain what this man has contributed to Tamil and World Cinema. Let alone a tiny blog post.
All I can ask him now is, “Aalwarpettai Aandava, when is Marudhanayagam coming?”