Archive for 2008

Fantastic interview, circa 1995

It’s quite some time since we looked back at an old interview of Kamal. This one from Screen was done around 1995, when Kurudhippunal was out. The interview covers a wide range of topics, from direction to Hindi movies and from Sarika (his then-wife) to penning an autobiography. As usual, it is full of straight-talking.

As a rule, all interviews are meant for effect. That’s the way it should be. Celebrities should preserve a side to them that is not for public.Over the years, I have mastered the golden blend where I don’t lie, but don’t tell the complete truth either.

I cannot be accused of showing off in Nayakan and definitely not in Mahanadi. Maybe this has to do with the phase an actor goes through. I had a lot at stake during EDKL and I didn’t want to go unnoticed. I think the effort showed. Once the actor is assured of the applause, he settles down. So critics who say that Kamal Haasan is narcissistic are those who’re not updated on Kamal Haasan. I take my critics seriously. And if I’ve to take my cues from them, they had better be constructive and intelligent.

I gave up Hindi films too easily. I compared it to South cinema and became disillusioned.

I do a retake only when I can convince the director that what I have in the offing is better than the original. Mind you, I’m not always right.

I wanted to be the master. I wanted to dictate, not be dictated. I wanted to pursue films as a dream, not as a nine-to-five job.

I’m never self-conscious about anybody. My problem with Sarika working behind the scenes was of a different kind. Sarika and I are too independent in our thinking and therefore often tend to disagree. She’s an excellent worker, she’s highly dedicated and disciplined and once on the sets does not indulge in playing Kamal Haasan’s wife.

I’d have preferred it if there was more output. Somehow, a lot of time gets lost in floundering…The ideal situation would be to have at least four releases a year.

…Mahanadi is my all-time favourite, so is Kurudhipunal, but the credit for Kurudhipunal should go more to the producer, than the actor. Amongst my old films, I think I’m competent in Sagar Sangamam…I’d say that Nayakan and Thevar Magan are complete films.

…I should have directed a film 10 years ago. According to my friends I’m overdue by almost 20 years.

…To write an autobiography I’ll have to lie and the kind of truths I know will hurt too many people. Exposing so many people is vanity. I might do it some time later, but not now. I’m not ready for it as yet.

Though I pretend to be organised, I am not. Like most successful men, I have all the trappings of punctuality but it is restricted to checking the wristwatch for an appointment.

For certain films, it’s a waste of time to go into an indeph character study. These are roles that don’t demand energy.

The film is inspired from Govind Nihalani’s Drohkaal. The initial agreement was that we’d dub the film in Hindi after it was released down South. The director however had second thoughts. He said that the distributors were asking for refund from territories where Drohkaal hadn’t fared well.

I’m not the happy kind. I’ll never settle down for happiness.

Read Part I and Part II of the whole interview.

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Dasavathaaram breaks records in Srilanka!

As in many other places, Dasavathaaram has broken records in Srilanka too. After setting a record of 50 days in 10 theatres, it marches onto its 75th day.

It is important to note that the film business is different in the small island nation that is also torn apart by the Tamil Eelam conflict. This also has a direct effect as seen in the above newspaper ad (thanx to Mayooran and Karthick of Kamal Haasan Orkut community). The shows in Jaffna are scheduled before 6 p.m., the time at which curfew begins.

One would also remember that Kamal’s Guru had a record-breaking run in Srilanka in the early 80s.

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Marmayogi clarifies

Finally, we had to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Though Pyramid Saimira had issued clarifications earlier, it just wasn’t enough. Yesterday, they brought Kamal to make an official declaration on Marmayogi. Check out videos of Kamal’s statement in English and Tamil.

The movie will be a joint production with Raajkamal Films International, putting to rest speculation in the media involving Warner Brothers, Soundarya Rajnikanth’s Ocher Studios and so on. They aren’t yet ready to make any annoucements on the cast and crew. So, all rumours involving Kajol (Thatstamil | IndiaGlitz | Dinakaran), Padmapriya (Webdunia | Galatta.com | Behindwoods | TamilCinema.com) and even Nayantara can hibernate for now. Remember, even Sathyaraj and Vaiyapuri weren’t spared!

Marmayogi will be launched on September 14. As is the norm, it will be a trilingual and there is also a possibility of an English version.

News reports are available at Sify.com, Behindwoods, IndiaGlitz and KollywoodToday.com.

On a side note, we can notice Kamal’s growing hair both above and below the head.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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Fans’ association officials sacked

Last week, Kamal sacked key officials of the Narpani Iyakkam (fans’ association) including the chief, R Gunaseelan. While the reasons are not known, there have been complaints about him in the past. Kamal put out the below press release. Get more details at Thatstamil, Behindwoods, IndiaGlitz, Tamilcinema.com, Galatta.com and Cinesouth.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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Kamal: “I am Indian”

Kamal’s patriotism is known to all of us fans. It extends to the level of hoisting a flag at his home on Independence Day. Today, on the same occasion, here are some of his thoughts, courtesy The Times of India:

I am an Indian first and then a Tamilian. India is a beautiful country mapped by the olden day rajas and maharajas. There were regional differences then, but today, they are getting erased. We are Indian first, then come our geographical and cultural differences. But don’t we all respect the same tricolour?

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Secrets of Appu the dwarf!

Kamal has never openly talked about how the dwarf character of Appu in Apoorva Sagodharargal (Apoorva Sahodarulu / Appu Raja) was done. But now, Singeetham Sreenivasa Rao, the director, has revealed most of the ’secrets’, almost after 20 years.

Rao mentions special shoes, using a trench, masking technique and also artifical legs. He also throws light on the efforts put in by Kamal. Read the whole report from The Hindu.

Still, we await the short video on the making which Kamal had promised to release.

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Kamal Tea!

With the Dasavathaaram wave sweeping across the world, here comes an interesting piece of news from a corner of it. The small place is close to Kamal’s present office and past home though.

Mid East Cup Area is a tea shop in Eldams Road, Chennai that serves “Kamal Tea”! It is named so as a tribute to Kamal, who used to be a regular visitor in his pre-star days. He still manages to catch a cup once in a while, it is said. The tea itself is a kind of masala (spiced) tea with a secret ingredient.

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Dasavathaaram rocks Google!

We have been hearing of Dasavathaaram setting various records around the world. But here’s some solid proof of the interest it generated worldwide, thanks to a fellow Kamal fan and blogger (maruthanayagam.blogspot.com). On the day of release, June 13, it was the 100th most searched item on Google! Google, of course, is the world’s favourite search engine. This site provides statistics for USA (and possibly some other parts of the world too).

Even on Google’s India site, Dasavathaaram dominated the day. Of course, it’s sad to see search terms like “dasavatharam movie download”.

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Bharathiraja slams Dasavathaaram!

For the past 10 years or so, Bharathiraja has been frustrated by his failures — both his directorial ventures and his attempts to establish his son Manoj as a hero. I feel he has tried to gain publicity by getting involved in politics of the movie world and also giving vent to his frustrations. Also, I guess it has got to do with him ageing. But it was shocking to see that last week, Kamal became his target. Kamal had participated in functions along with Bharathiraja even as recent as June, where both of them displayed fondness and mutual respect for each other.

While his feedback on Dasavathaaram will be appreciated by Kamal, there was no need to launch a scathing attack in public, while also claiming that he had the guts to convey it to Kamal directly. When the movie in question, though a commercial entertainer, stands way above the regular trash dished out by the industry, why single it out? Because it’s fashionable to attack Kamal and Dasavathaaram? He has also criticised Kamal’s writing skills, while forgetting the great scripts that Kamal has come up with in the past.

While Bharathiraja will be forever remembered for providing some wonderful movies with Kamal, he just fell a few notches down in the eyes of Kamal fans, if not the general public.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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Social service @ Dasavathaaram’s 50th day

As part of ongoing social service activities through his fans’ association, Kamal distributed ceiling fans to orphanages and old age homes in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This function was also arranged to coincide with the upcoming 50th day of Dasavathaaram.

Check out the report and more photos at Behindwoods and IndiaGlitz.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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