Archive for July, 2007

MGR, Nagesh on Kamal

On hearing Nagesh glorify Kamal recently, thoughts went back to MGR. Kamal and he are believed to shared a great rapport spanning several years. It started from Anandha Jothi in the early 60s and lasted till Kamal’s peak with Nayagan in 1987, shortly after which MGR passed away. In a piece (in Tamil) by ‘AVM’ Saravanan (who himself has a long association with Kamal), he recollects MGR’s thoughts about Kamal in the early 80s.

MGR had inquired about Kamal’s ‘market’. He praised Kamal saying that he was the greatest actor in India after Sivaji Ganesan. He lamented that Kamal had not yet achieved a place commensurate with his talent and wished that he reach greater heights. Kamal, of course, shares a passion with MGR — that of maintaining one’s body. In fact, the latter is an inspiration. Read more.

Back to Nagesh in The Hindu:

Who does he rate as the best actor? He raises his finger solemnly and exclaims, “There’s only one artiste in the whole Universe (!). It’s Kamal Hassan. Without him there’s no cinema. Have you watched ‘Anbe Sivam’?” Nagesh will next be seen in ‘Dasavatharam’ with Kamal. The admiration is mutual. Kamal never misses a chance to use Nagesh in his projects.

Completing the line-up for this post is Kovai Sarala. Though she can’t be compared with the above two stalwarts, she memorably paired with Kamal in Sathi Leelavathi. She had this to say:

Acting alongside Kamal Haasan in “Sathileelavathi” was an unforgettable experience. I was jittery on the sets before Kamal put me at ease. He is gifted artist with a wonderful sense of timing.

Today, they are remaking and recycling material of yesteryear. Look at films like “Nan Avanillai” and “Billa”. I wonder for a moment who would play the lead role if “Thillana Mohanambal” were to be remade. I cannot think of anyone else but Kamal Haasan in the role of Sivaji Ganesan.

Kamal as George Bush!

After all the murmurs and rumours, here comes the confirmation! Kamal does play George W Bush in Dasavatharam, as blogged by a French lady (via Ragu Damodar) who featured in one of the scenes.

The blog post is in French; so, you could use a bad translation by Google. [Does someone know a better translation tool?] She has praised Kamal; but we can’t really figure out what exactly she’s saying.

She even has a long-shot photo of Kamal as Bush. We can see the green screen behind, which will be used for computer graphics.

Bommalaattam audio release

Bharathiraja is back with Bommalaattam, after yet another hiatus. Kamal and others participated in the audio release function. Here are some photos.


Seen in the above photo are Panchu Arunachalam, Bharathiraja, K Balachander, Illaiyaraaja, Kamal and Arjun (L to R).

Kamal and Bharathiraja go back a long way, of course. Bharathiraja provided the opportunity for Kamal to experiment in 16 Vayadhinile and Sigappu Rojakkal.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

Star night, Green Week

News has been floating around about the South Indian Artistes Association aka Nadigar Sangam organising a star night at Singapore to commemorate 75 years of Tamil movies. Seem to have been done at short notice, it’s doubtful whether Kamal and Rajni will make it. The last time when such a function was organised in Singapore and Malaysia, the duo created a huge impact. There is even talk of another event in San Francisco. Now, that would be most welcome for yours truly!

Meanwhile, Kamal inaugurated Green Week celebrations at Olympia Technology Park in Chennai. The idea is to promote environment friendliness. The Hindu has a report while Sify.com has photos.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

Dasavatharam get-ups revealed?

Dinathanthi, the Tamil newspaper, claims to have got an exclusive preview of Kamal’s 10 get-ups in Dasavatharam. [Thanx to Hemanth Kumar!] Though they haven’t published photos, they have come up with sketches (that look like cartoons). Here are some highlights, which include description of some roles:

  • Only 9 roles have been revealed. The tenth one is held in suspense.
  • The roles include: (i) 4-foot, 90-year old granny with a hunch-back, (ii) a dark, low-caste man, (iii) a white man in his 70s who is also the villain, (iv) a very tall and hefty man with a bald head, (v) a Chinese / Japanese man with hanging moustache, (vi) a middle-aged man, (vii) US President George W Bush.
  • The basic story is Kamal and Asin going in search of something and encountering the various characters on the way.
  • Tsunami is featured in the climax

There is no mention of the Vaishnavite role, which was included in the official press release. By now, I think there have been around 20 characters that have cropped up in the speculation. Maybe, it’s just better to keep our fingers crossed and wait for them to emerge on screen.

What’s in a name?

Many are confused about Kamal’s name — the way it’s supposed to be written especially. I mentioned this in passing in the very first post on this blog, but realised that the name is tangled beyond redemption. Anyway, let me do my bit in clearing it up.

Till around the early eighties, his name was featured in movies as ‘Kamalahaasan’ (or ‘Kamalhasan’, if you will — Tamil: கமலஹாசன்). That is his original name. I’m not so sure about the unusual ‘Haasan’ suffix being attributed to his father’s fondness for an friend though. The name actually means something like the man who laughs whole-heartedly just as a lotus blooms wide, in Sanskrit.

When he ventured into Bollywood, In all probability, it got distorted as ‘Kamalahassan’ or ‘Kamal Hassan’. In fact, due to this, there are many who believe he’s a Muslim!

For whatever reason, he seemed to have felt the need for a surname, much like many South Indians have discovered in recent times. So, he split up his name into two — ‘Kamal Haasan’. His daughters use the surname; even his ex-wife Sarika used to.

So, that’s about it. No big mystery. Just something people didn’t pause to take note of and understand.

[Thanx to Wikipedia for filling in a few gaps.]

Dasavatharam: gimme more!

Behindwoods reports on Dasavatharam, as the shooting draws to a close. The piece talks about the amazing tsunami set, helicopter-based scenes remaining, multiple characters played by Kamal in the same scene and so on. The shooting is said to be spanning 280 days — a mammoth figure atleast for a Tamil movie! IndiaGlitz has some similar details.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

Dasavatharam: White House, Rajni & more

Media now seems to be focussing on the next biggie in Tamil movie land, Dasavatharam. A set of the White House being erected at Chennai and Rajni visiting the sets yet again has been widely reported — browse Behindwoods, nowrunning.com and IndiaGlitz. David Hopper too is said to have paid a visit. Kamal continues with his elaborate make-up in a movie supposedly utilising seven specialists from abroad.

Dasavatharam release rights

The Hindu’s Business Line reports that industry biggies UTV and Adlabs are competing for Dasavatharam rights, as part of their foray into the South. News of talks with UTV has been murmured for some time now. UTV is said to have offered 80-85 crores for worldwide rights, including the Tamil and Hindi versions for India and overseas plus Hindi satellite and audio. Oscar Ravichandran would still be involved in the distribution though the rights will be with UTV.

As part of these talks, Kamal’s next project too is being discussed. It might be in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi and is to be produced by UTV.

Movie seminar

When we talk about movies in Tamil Nadu, Kamal has to be mentioned in the same breath. No wonder he participated in the inaugural session of “Winds of Change”, a seminar organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. Balu Mahendra, Madhavan, Prashanth and David Hopper (United States Consul General) were also in attendance.

Kamal spoke on some of his pet themes — piracy, quality of movies, professionalism, etc. Check out the video from IBNLive.

IndiaGlitz and KollywoodToday.com have a wide array of photographs. The latter especially carries many close-ups of Kamal. Also, there are some more photos on Behindwoods.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]