Archive for September, 2008

Kamal’s drama days

Though all of us know that Kamal was into drama (plays) before re-entering movies as a teenager, not much is known of his life at that time. We get occasional anecdotes from Kamal himself. But here’s some insight from a colleague of those days. This comes to us through his son-in-law, who blogs under the name of Ravisha on Therinjukko.

This happened around 1968 when Kamal was about 14 years old. He was crazy about acting in plays. Being from a well-to-do family of lawyers, he would commute by car with his one of his brothers. Chandrahaasan, the younger one, used to tell Kamal’s co-actors to advise him to concentrate on studies, which he had discontinued. But if anyone did attempt to, Kamal would ignore them. Once when our narrator, who himself had a steady job and was acting part-time, tried to convince Kamal, he declared, “You folks are making fun of me now. But one day, I will become the all-India famous Kamal Haasan and you will realise then”. Such was his confidence and determination at that age and time!

If you know Tamil, enjoy the whole post. Thanks, Ravisha!

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Subhash K Jha’s criticism & praise of Kamal

Subhash K Jha is a veteran reporter, who recently became infamous following (homo)sexual harrassment charges by Sonu Nigam. He has had a love-hate relationship with Kamal and is currently said to be out of favour.

After the Dasavathaaram audio release function, he wrote an article generally criticising actors’ vanity and specifically Kamal. Here are some quotes:

Like all Scorpios, Kamal is an extremely passionate man with an exacerbated appetite for life’s most forbidden fruits . When he loves he loves with a hurricane’s ferocity. When he acts he doesn’t care about cost or health. The targets in his mind aren’t numbers. They are far more cumbersome goals to be realised at any cost.

Kamal is one of the funniest and most fun persons I’ve ever met. He’s self-educated and therefore well-informed. He can talk unselfconsciously and extensively on any subject. But when it comes to cinema he can hold forth for hours.

On screen he has become a bit of a limelight-moth. The signs of a creative megalomania have been creeping up on Kamal for a long time.

Why 10 roles? Isn’t it a little self-defeating to give the audience an over-dose of genius?

Let’s not bother defending Kamal. It’s not necessary. To close the argument, here goes another description of Kamal by the same person, talking of his receptivity to criticism.

I don’t flatter Kamal Haasan. He loves praise, oh yes! But he isn’t averse to criticism. When I told him his last Hindi film Mumbai Express was the pits (and that too barely hours after the release!) he didn’t stop talking to me, although he was going through a traumatic time at that time with his lady love in hospital. Nor did he turn nasty and call me a traitor. He certainly didn’t accuse me of changing loyalties.

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Marmayogi rolling, Venkatesh in?

The shooting for Marmayogi is said to be starting on September 25, though the official launch will only be in October. We are aware that Kamal, being an atheist, does not go for the traditional ‘pooja’.

The shooting is said to begin at Shivanasamudram Falls in Karnataka. Behindwoods claimed that Iguazu falls in Brazil is also one of the planned locations! Some photo sessions involving Trisha and Shriya are said to have been wrapped up already in AVM Studios, Chennai. Other info coming in is that Gautami is fully into costume-designing for the movie and that a new spray make-up technique will be employed.

Read reports from Sify.com, ChennaiOnline, Behindwoods, IndiaGlitz, Thatstamil, CineSouth (English | Tamil), KollywoodToday.com, Webdunia, TamilCinema.com, Adhikaalai.com, Maalisudar and Express Buzz.

Trisha and Shriya are in training on Tamil diction, according to Behindwoods, IndiaGlitz, Thatstamil, KollywoodToday.com, Galatta.com and TamilCinema.com.

Meanwhile, the latest buzz is that Telugu actor Venkatesh has been signed up for Marmayogi. That’s a typical business ploy from Kamal! Venkatesh is considered on par with Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and Nagarjuna in Telugu movies. Check out details from Midday, Thatstamil, IndiaGlitz, Galatta.com, CineSouth and TeluguCinema.com.

Still Padmpapriya too hasn’t gone out of the picture entirely. That is, if you believe reports like these — Thatstamil, Dinathanthi.

As the unofficial news and rumours pile up, we await the official announcements.

[With inputs from Ananth]

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Dasavathaaram’s dream run

Dasavathaaram has had a dream run, with collections estimated to have crossed 300 crores of Rupees. Above is a recap, thanks to the efforts of Karthick of the Kamal Haasan Orkut community. The 100th day poster deserves a separate viewing though. Here goes, with thanks due to Balaji.

Click for larger image

Sify.com carried a report on the occasion, including a interesting tidbit. Kokila too released on the same day as Dasavathaaram in 1980 and had a 100-day run in Chennai. Check out the article for its poster.

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Kamal at FICCI-FRAMES 2002

Kamal has been regularly invited to FICCI-FRAMES, India’s leading convention on the entertainment business (dominated by movie industry, of course). Our recent memory of FICCI-FRAMES is of last year, when Kamal was honoured with the “Living Legend” award.

Here’s some stuff from 2002. Check out the synopsis of Kamal’s speech, where he calls for corporatisation, tax reforms, etc. Also, there is a photograph of him in Panchatantram get-up.

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Kamal at Sibiraj’s wedding reception

Here are a few photographs of Kamal at the star-studded wedding reception of Sibiraj and Revathy.

Sibiraj is, of course, the son of Sathyaraj who has had a long association with Kamal, starting with his first movie, Sattam En Kaiyil to Khakhi Chattai, Vikram, Kadamai Kanniyam Kattuppaadu and so on. Personally too, they share a close bond especially due to their atheistic beliefs. Also, Sibiraj is said to be a die-hard Kamal fan.

Check out more photos at Sify.com, Behindwoods and IndiaGlitz. Read reports from CineSouth and Adhikaalai.com.

Meanwhile, there is an interesting rumour that Sathyaraj is set to do a spoof of Dasavathaaram.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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Trisha, Shriya in Marmayogi?

Yes, it’s not officially announced yet. But it’s pretty much confirmed that Trisha and Shriya will feature in Marmayogi.

There was a lot of buzz for Trisha some time ago (Sify: 1, 2 | Behindwoods | IndiaGlitz | News Today | KollywoodToday.com | Adhikaalai.com | TamilCinema.com) and last week came the real news. It is said that she has alloted bulk dates to the movie.

Shriya was in the rumours much earlier; she herself denied them. But now, she’s actually in. She is said to be playing a smaller role. We had rumours regarding Kamal calling her up on her birthday and such stuff (OneIndia | Thatstamil | Galatta.com | Behindwoods | AOL India).

In any case, the photo shoot and launch seem just around the corner. We’ll get more details then.

While I’m personally not excited about either heroine, we can definitely trust Kamal to get a decent performance out of them. Of course, Kamal going for market-friendly actors is nothing new.

Read more at OneIndia, Thatstamil (1 | 2), IndiaGlitz, Webdunia, Galatta.com, KollywoodToday.com, CineSouth and GreatAndhra.com.

[With inputs from Ananth]

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Virumaandi: a flashback

Virumaandi (Pothuraju in Telugu) is remembered as a movie that bridged art and commerce successfully. Of course, that’s apart from the ‘Sandiyar’ name controversy. Here, we look at a few blasts from the past related to it.

ChennaiOnline had a long article revealing several behind-the-scenes details including apects like the bull-fight (jallikkattu) scene, art direction, editing, stunts and editing. Have a patient read and get to know some of the information that you may not know.

Kamal is always at the forefront of the movie medium and also possesses great foresight. Here’s an article where he talks about DVDs and distribution.

Virumaandi famously won an award at the PiFan film festival in Korea. After that, he expressed his happiness to The Hindu. Kamal also talked about a retrospective at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier. Here are some excerpts:

“I see it as a kind of peer acceptance and that makes the award even more invaluable to me…”

“The whole thing came as a surprise to me. I had gone to the fest as an invitee. `Virumaandi’ was not an entry at the competition level and I had no inkling of the honour. There I was seated in the audience, waiting to put my hands together for the winner when my name was announced. I was confused because I was not on the stage with the other nominees … caught unawares, I did not even have a prepared text to thank the jury for the recognition,” laughs Kamal.

It (the citation) describes the film as one “that successfully manages to combine social and political drama, romance, humour, musical and spectacular action in one story of epic proportions…all the more impressive is the fact that it has been written, produced and directed by one man who also plays the lead role…”

“…When others tell me that I would have won international acclaim if I had been in the West, I turn around and tell them, this is my place and I should win world renown from here … with my kind of cinema.” And Kamal Hassan is doing just that.

The movie was also featured at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Take a look at the write-up!

Ah, nostalgia! Time to check out the movie once more?

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More Dasavathaaram-related stuff

Here is some stuff that came up during the release time of Dasavathaaram, which have been waiting for a long time to be posted.

Let’s start with 2 videos from IBN. The first one is a pre-release interview by Kamal while the other one is more interesting. It compares Rajni and Kamal, particularly with respect to the frenzy experienced for Sivaji and Dasavathaaram.

Reporting during the release time had reached such a frenzy that we even had photos of film boxes reaching USA, like the one below.

There was also a piece of news at that time that the DVD would be officially released in about 50 days’ time!

As part of the publicity, Aascar Ravichandran was interviewed and he declared Kamal to be the “mother of the movie”. Here are a couple of the many interviews of Kamal: Businessworld | News Today.

Kamal had stated that he took the help of Shruti, his daughter for the American accents.

Rediff.com published interviews with Suresh Krissna and Ramesh Arvind. The former traces his association from the days of Ek Duuje Ke Liye. Here are some snippets:

Once the whole shoot was over, Kamalji would come to the hotel where all the assistants and cameramen were living, and play cards and have fun. It was pure entertainment and tremendous camaraderie. He never gave the impression that he was a star and we never felt we were working with one. Kamalji loved that unit as he was always close to Balachander Sir.

Kamalji watched me to grow from being a fifth assistant to Balachander Sir to becoming associate director of Punnagai Mannan…When I was ready to branch out as director, he asked me if I was interested in directing a film he was producing as well as acting. What more can anyone ask for? So I said fine. The film was Sathya.

Kamalji loves singing. I remember we all used to sit together and sing songs from old films and even play Antakshari [in Tamil].

Ramesh talks about the varied dimensions of Kamal he has experienced.

He always insists on international quality in every aspect. He loves novelty in scripts and narration. You can see him avoiding all kinds of cliches. He detests stupidity and does not want anything in the film to look illogical.

Acting with him is a bonus because he constantly advises you on how you can enhance your performance in the film.

He is a great friend who respects your space, guides you the right way without mincing words.

Behindwoods carried a long article in praise of Kamal.

And finally, here’s some humour (in Tamil) related to Dasavathaaram.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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More weddings…

A few days ago, Kamal attended the wedding reception of Sarathkumar’s niece. Check out IndiaGlitz for photos and a video (with Kamal featured during first couple of minutes).

Kamal also participated in the betrothal (engagement) of Prabhu’s daughter. (Sorry, no photos yet!) Kamal’s connections to Sivaji Ganesan’s family are well-known.

[With inputs from Ananth]

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