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Two more Mumbai interviews

Kamal seems to have a done a whole set of interviews in Mumbai, as part of promotion for Dasavatharam. None of the interviews mention Dashaavtar though. Here are two more of them, one each for Hindustan Times and Times of India. The North Indian press seems to be obsessed with his personal life more than anything else, but Kamal is unfazed. Here are some highlights from the enjoyable interviews. As usual, Kamal proves to be a “quote factory”!

Both the times when you separated from your wives, there was another woman involved. Sarika led to your split with Vani and Simran caused a rift between Sarika and you.
Unless it’s a gay marriage, there’s always another woman involved.

All I can say is that marriage is a folly that is slowly becoming redundant. I have four vaccination marks. In our time, they were a necessary ordeal. It’s different today. I’m hopeful that one day like the vaccinations, the institution of marriage too will go away.

A broken marriage isn’t an offence or crime. Today I am happy, yes, but my idea of being settled is only inside the coffin. Till then everything is mobile.

Planning a comeback to Hindi films?
Oh definitely. There’s plenty of money. But I’m a sucker for applause. I want to reach out to a bigger market.

So where do you think you went wrong?
I didn’t try hard enough. To succeed here, I needed to live in Mumbai, make films consistently, not have a release every four-five years. Still, the audience was kind, they didn’t forget me.

But I make occasional appearances here when I want to reach out to larger audience. It’s a different story in Tamil Nadu. There a film sells on my name alone.

Ten roles, isn’t he increasingly becoming self-indulgent in his films? “Who isn’t,” asked Kamal defensively. “Aren’t great actors like Yusuf saab and Amitabh self-indulgent? Who else should I love more than me? Brad Pitt?”

My politics is private like sex. I don’t want to spoil the fun by talking about it.

There have been several conjectures about my 10 get-ups complete with graphics. I could use them for some other movie.

I liked Om Shanti Om and might have liked it even more had I been less informed about cinema and wasn’t looking into unnecessary details like focus and colour. I’m like a cook who cannot savour a good dish without checking on the salt and sugar.

We believe in two different kinds of cinema. It’s unfair to pit one against the other. Would you ask Marlon Brando what he thought about John Wayne’s films? Or compare (Arnold) Schwarzenegger’s biceps to Woody Allen’s brains? Come on! Mr Rajnikant has made some good films. I’ve done some commercially successful films too.

…Unless Rajnikanth and I agree to work for free and later take the trade collection, I don’t see it happening. But, yes, it will be interesting to work together.

It’s being said that your next film will be with Walt Disney studio.
We’re in talks.

Apparently, Mallika Sherawat threw a lot of tantrums.
I wouldn’t know. I was the writer and star of the film. ( Smiles ) Everyone treated me well.

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Dasavatharam: blitzkrieg begins?

With the release of this new still and the audio release pretty much confirmed for April 25, the Dasavatharam blitzkrieg seems to have begun. We have a new interview with KS Ravikumar in the Madras Plus section of Economic Times:

  • He attributes the delay to the need for compressing huge amount of material to around 3 hours, including about two and half hours with computer graphics.
  • He says that he has never before worked so hard on a movie.
  • He clarifies that politicians have not really ‘acted’ in the movie, but that clippings featuring them have been used.
  • He confirms that there are no duet songs between Asin and Kamal.

Various reports in MSN, Thatstamil, Galatta.com, Behindwoods and IndiaGlitz talk about the grand audio release function featuring a set resembling the Oscar awards ceremony. Surpassing all earlier estimates, it is also said that the number of prints that will get released may touch 1500!

The storm is arriving shortly at the coast.

[With inputs from Ananth]

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‘Pop’ Shalini on Dasavatharam

More from a different horse’s mouth — ‘Pop’ Shalini (aka Shalini Singh Balaje) opened up on Orkut and put up some comments regarding Dasavatharam. Here it is, verbatim:

Hey all,
After reading about how much interest you guys have on Dasa I thought I should let you guys know how I felt the music was since I have worked in it.I personally think that the songs are perfect commercial hits.My song is a commercial song which has Kamalji and Mallika SHerawat in it.I have seen the video too and I am totally excited!
It absolutely Rocks!!!
This man is talented!I couldnt believe it was him in that role.Im still in awe at the magnitude of perfection and pure cinema in Dasavatharam.
Dont think 10 times will be enough to watch this flick!

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Red-hot Kamal interview!

We have been waiting for long to hear stuff from the horse’s mouth and here it comes! Kamal answers several questions lingering in our minds presently, through an interview to Mumbai Mirror. Highlights:

Jackie Chan is coming down for the music release of the film?
The producer Oscar is an old friend of Jackie and it is because of him that Jackie is coming down.

It took a long time to conceive?
The basic thing was that all of us, especially the director and I, had to decide to concentrate on just this film and we were ready to face the lack of averages. We both could have done four films each in these two years instead of Dasavatharam, but I must say that it was quite rewarding. The producer is already assured of making twice the money he has spent in Tamil Nadu itself and that’s quite an achievement.

It is said to be the costliest film in Tamil Nadu.
Yes it is the costliest film in the Tamil film industry. It has already managed to break even. I just hope that now it lives up to the expectation of audiences. It is a costly film as its stars, music director and the director are being paid a lot. The best part is that the producer was smiling at the start of the film and he still is smiling when it’s complete - which is very rare.

You were not very confident of Himesh earlier.
It’s not that I looked down upon him but yes, I wouldn’t have agreed to him doing the music at an earlier point. But he gave us what we wanted and that too in a very short time. I have no complaints now, whatsoever.

You have signed Hema Malini for your next film. Tell us more about the film.
Yes, I have signed her for the film. All I can say right now is that it’s a period film set in the 7th century. It will be a bi-lingual in Hindi and Tamil and I am writing the entire script in Tamil and Atul Tiwari is writing it in Hindi. Rahman will score the music.

There is always this talk about a war between you and Rajnikant over who is supreme in the South industry.
(Laughs) We decided to wage this war when we were very young. We always meet and take each other’s opinion about each other’s work. We give advice to each other too - though we don’t necessarily follow it. I always tell him what I am going to do next. So does he. We work like a team.

But does it pressurise you when his film and your film are up for release together - as in the case of Sivaji and Dasavatharam this time?
I guess the media plays it up. I think I play cricket and he plays football. It is not even the same field. We may be in the same arena but we play two different games.

But Mani Ratnam had a project for you two.
It was not for both of us acting together, but for one producing and one acting. Rajnikant and I act together? If Rajnikant and I act together what will be left to make the film with?

Enjoy the whole inteview!

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Politicians in Dasavatharam

As unbelievable as it may sound, there have been widespread reporting by the media that Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha and Thol. Thirumavalavan (politicians of Tamil Nadu) are set to feature in Dasavatharam in various capacities. What happens in the Telugu and Hindi versions is anybody’s guess. Read reports from Times of India, CineSouth, IndiaGlitz, Maalai Malar and ThatsTamil.

More than such news, fans like us await the release of the movie itself, preceded by the audio launch and the trailer.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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Everyone’s favourite

That Kamal enjoys widespread admiration among peers in his industry is a known fact. Let’s take a peek into the range of people who have been floored by him.

Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi had this to say:

When I saw Kamal Haasan’s performance in Swatimuthyam (directed by K. Vishwanath), I was so moved that the next day I felt ridiculous to utter the same old routine dialogues for one of my commercial blockbusters…

Going up North, we encounter another big star, Govinda:

Kamal Hassan and Amitabh Bachchan are the kings.

Ashutosh Rana, who displayed his acting prowess in Sangharsh and Dushman, mentions Kamal in an interview:

I really have a high regard for Dilip Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Hassan.

Continuing with the North, even a new singer like Zubeen isn’t spared by the charm.

I love Kamal Haasan, Naseeruddin Shah and Marlon Brando. But Charlie Chaplin is my favourite.

His reach extends quite far.

New York actor Tirlok Malik, who played a suspected serial killer in a cameo with Haasan, said, It was such an honor to act with one of the greatest actors of India. Malik found, while observing Kamal Haasan acting in the movie over many days in New York, that Mr. Haasan makes acting seem so natural. Because any actor would be in awe of Mr. Haasan’s talent and body of work, Malik asked the star what makes a good actor. Mr. Haasan replied, modestly: Script, script, script.

Back to Tamil movies, director-turned-actor Cheran had to counter accusations of aping Kamal recently. Defending himself, he also heaped praise on Kamal’s achievements.

Shweta, who entralled us in Kutty as a child, declares herself a fan.

I am a complete Kamal Haasan fan. I adore all his movies. I really like Anbe Sivam, Virumaandi, basically all his movies.

Rising star Bharath joins the bandwagon.

He says, “It is no doubt a difficult thing to get ready with the make-up for the role. However, I keep myself enthusiastic thinking about Kamal Haasan, who takes several pains to don different make-ups”.

He also says that he had seen Kamal Haasan’s Enakul Oruvan more than several times to study the body language and mannerisms of a Nepali.

“No doubt, I am inspired by Kamal Haasan. He is my role model”, he adds.

Ravivarman, who worked with Kamal in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu and Dasavatharam had an interesting anecdote.

Listening to Ravi hum the tune, composer Thaman suggested Ravi sing it himself. “The song and Vairamuthu’s lyrics for it fascinated me. So I went ahead. I made my mentor Kamal Haasan listen to it, without telling him that it was in my voice. But he guessed it, praised me and suggested a few corrections in my diction. I rehearsed thoroughly and went back and recorded the piece again,” he says.

Let’s end with Karan, once again, whose relationship with Kamal is well-known.

From that scene till the end, Kamal taught me how to go about acting. Any misgivings vanished with the way he greeted me warmly every morning, as he stepped out of the car, a Contessa in those days.

[With inputs from HAL]

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Kamal too appreciates Taare Zameen Par and Aamir

Aamir Khan has been widely appreciated for Taare Zameen Par, a movie which marked his directorial debut. Kamal too joined in, when he announced the national-level Best Debutant Director Award on behalf of the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation. He was accompanied at the press conference by long-time friends Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and Singeetham Sreenivasa Rao.

IndiaGlitz has several photos and a video. KollywoodToday.com too has photos. This news received wide coverage. Read reports from MSN, Sify, OneIndia, CineSouth and Chennai365.

Maruthi Rao, readers would recollect, featured in many Kamal movies including Hey Ram, Indrudu Chandrudu (Indran Chandran) and Swathi Muthyam (Sippikkul Muthu). This award is instituted in memory of his son, Srinivas, who died under tragic circumstances. This incident was used by Kamal in Anbe Sivam, with a reference to ‘tsunami’.

[Based on inputs from Ananth]

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Kokila, a not-so-familiar movie

Recently, Madan (cartoonist-cum-writer who is also a film critic) threw some light on Kokila, an old Kannada movie featuring Kamal and Shobha. Madan, as we know, is part of Kamal’s circle of friends. Back to the movie, it happens to be the directorial debut of Balu Mahendra, with whom Kamal later colloborated in many movies including the famous Moondram Pirai (Sadma). Madan categorises the movie as a must-watch. Let me add a couple of tidbits:

  • Years after Kokila, Kamal worked in a movie co-starring Sridevi and Deepa. Reminiscing his earlier work with Balu Mahendra, it was titled Meendum Kokila (Back to Kokila). Of course, the title suited the story too.
  • Kokila was also the debut of another star who made a name for himself in the Tamil movies of the 80s. He is Mohan — yes, the “man with the mike”! In Kannada moviedom, he is still referred to as “Kokila Mohan”!

Have any of you watched the movie? We would love to hear from you in the Comments section.

[Updated 20 Mar 2008: Meendum Kokila did not involve Balu Mahendra]

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Balakumaran on Kamal

Balakumaran is another literary personality with whom Kamal has colloborated. Though not as much as Sujatha, Balakumaran too has made significant contributions. The most notable among them is Nayakan. Then, there is Guna, where his spiritual / religious inclination would have come into play.

In Balakumaran Pesukirar, a blog dedicated to him, there was a piece recently on his impressions of his work in movies. He specifically talks about Rajnikanth, Kamal and Ajith. He starts off on Kamal with:

Kamal Haasan is a wonderful artiste. Any person who sees him at close quarters for 10 minutes will certainly be astonished.

He goes onto to narrate an experience during the making of Guna. He talks about how Kamal continued a story discussion of the previous day, right from the moment he arrived (stepping out of his car), to illustrate how engrossed Kamal is in his work.

It is about creativity every moment. It is about movies every moment. That’s how Mr. Kamal Haasan thinks. Working with him is a pleasurable thing to do.

He ends saying that Kamal has high expectations of people working with him. Kamal himself admitted that he gets angry at times when he is disappointed with co-workers.

I am not an angry person. I am just fast.

Speaking about Ajith, he describes an incident when he explained a scene and Ajith refused to do it that way, saying that it was reminiscent of Kamal.

Enjoy the full post (if you can read Tamil).

[Via Ananth]

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Ravikumar on Dasavatharam in Ananda Vikatan

The recent issue of Ananda Vikatan has an interview with KS Ravikumar on Dasavatharam. This also includes some new photos from the shooting spots. While you can see it online or in paper form, here are some highlights.

  • The Sikh character is named Avtar Singh. The pair is played by Jayapradha.
  • Mallika features in the first half of the movie.
  • Ravikumar had recommended Asin for the heroine’s role and Kamal was wary of her capabilities initially.
  • The late Sujatha and Crazy Mohan were involved in the story discussion.
  • He claims that the magnificence of Dasavatharam will be different from Sivaji (the movie starring Rajnikanth) and the style of Shankar the director.
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