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Archive for March, 2009

Kamal at SRM University

Last month, Kamal took the time to inaugurate Milan, the cultural festival of SRM University in Chennai. He spoke to a packed audience of students, with candour and friendly advice. Watch it on Sivaji TV.

Some fans managed to get in and click away. Apart from the above photo from Surajram, we have others from Ashwin.

More photos can be seen at Behindwoods, KollywoodToday.com and ChennaiOnline. Reports are available from The Hindu, The Times of India, Dinamani, Behindwoods, IndiaGlitz and ChennaiVision.com.

[With inputs from Ananth]

[Picture courtesy: Surajram, BehindWoods]

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Mumbai Xpress: Worth Watching!

Kamal Haasan, as we know, is versatility on his own credit — whatever the role or genre, he excels to our great delight. Comedy is a hallmark of Kamal and he proves that apart from drama and action, he can be a superb comedian. Mumbai Xpress is a great example of his innovative talent. Although the film has relatively sunk into obscurity, since it box-office-bombed back in 2005, it is nevertheless a hilarious movie. If you feel that the storyline is a bit incoherent, it is still worthwhile viewing, since our star is in the leading role.

Mumbai Xpress starts off with a master plan conceived by three amateur criminals, who plan to kidnap a wealthy man’s son for ransom. However, one of the thieves falls seriously ill, and it is left to the rest to scout for a replacement. That replacement comes in the form of a deaf stuntman named Avinasi aka “Mumbai Xpress”, played by Kamal Haasan. The master plan that was ingenious in its nature turns horribly wrong when two of the criminals get injured, and a third person (an insurance agent), is roped into the crime by a unfortunate accident. When the thieves capture the wrong boy, it is left to Avinasi to rescue him from his accomplices and restore him to his mother, played by Manisha Koirala. What happens next is what forms the rest of the story, with many twists and turns occurring here and there, that makes the story all the more complicated and comical.

A few examples of where the plan goes terribly wrong are very original and brilliant — when one of the criminals tries to explain to Avinasi the master plan, it seems like he has listened to the entire discourse, only for all to find out later on that he forgot to put on his hearing aid, and also when the gang-leader endeavours to show Avinasi the car gear mechanism, he accidently switches to ‘drive’ immediately and the vehicle speeds up and hits an insurance agent! Mix-ups and goof-ups like these make the film an absolute entertainer, and it’s a pity that the film didn’t do well at the box-Office, when such films like Rajnikanth’s Chandramukhi and Vikram’s Anniyan were garnering the limelight. Mumbai Xpress definitely goes on the shelf as one of the great comedies that Kamal has ever done, and one should seriously view the film on its own merits.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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FICCI FRAMES 2009

In February, Kamal participated in the annual FICCI FRAMES convention that he’s a regular at. This year, he had a keynote session titled “Focus South”. A video recording of it is available on Rajshri.com.

He gave out some very candid views and also took interviews on the sidelines. This is where Kamal confirmed that he’s remaking A Wednesday. Read reports from The Hindu, OneIndia and DNA.

One of the interviews Kamal did was with UTVI, part of the UTV group which is also behind A Wednesday. Kamal seems unprepared and disinterested. The interviewer tries to generalize Indian movies based on Bollywood and he keeps referring to Tamil and South Indian movies. Watch it here!

[With inputs from Ananth]

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Kamal Haasan & Jackie Chan: the similarities

Editor’s Note:
Please welcome an enthusiastic new author, Sidhartha Shankar!

Kamal Haasan and Jackie Chan are legends in their own right. Kamal is known for his great versatility as an actor, whether it be playing a village buffoon in 16 Vayathinile, a slum-based don in Nayagan, a cop in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, or a psychopath in Aalavandhaan, Kamal has proved he has what it takes to essay different types of roles convincingly and effectively.

Jackie Chan on the other hand, is world-renowned for his daredevil stunts, which he has made it his norm, and he has taken pains in entertaining the public by risking life and limb on the big screen. Up until now, Jackie has broken possibly ever part of his body, having performed some of the most jaw-dropping stunts ever, whether it be sliding through electric wires or tumbling head down from a five-storey clock tower.

Kamal Hassan & Jackie Chan are men who strive hard to please their audiences through hard work, and their efforts are rewarded in the end, because these are two men that are honest in what they do and accomplish.

For a long time, I have been a huge fan of both these legends and I have dreamt of a possible meeting between the two. Little did I realize that it will actually materialize one day, when both these men would finally meet at the audio launch of Haasan’s most ambitious project to date, Dasavathaaram in April 2008. Jackie Chan liked the film and felt that Indian cinema would overtake Hong Kong and China in the “eyes of the international audience”! Jackie praised the star of the film, stating that “the star just like me, he can sing, he can dance, he can do stunts, he can fight”!

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, presiding over the event, made startling comparisons between the two men, stating the facts that they were both born in the same year 1954, that they were also born on the 7th of the month — Jackie was born on the seventh of April, and Kamal was born in November — and that both men never shied away from taking any risk to make their films successful.

Kamal Haasan confessed at the audio launch that he had during his career, tried emulating Jackie Chan’s stunts, which resulted in “32 fractures” to his body; something which is apparent in Kamal’s films, where we see him doing some daredevil stunts of his own. For example, in his film, Kalaignan, he runs over vehicles and jumps up to a double-decker bus, something that is very similar to what Jackie did in Police Story. Also if you notice in Indran Chandran, where Kamal is trying to evade his purseurs, you see him jumping over walls and sliding underneath objects and demonstrating his fighting skills, something that Jackie would do. And in Meendum Kokila, when Kamal is being thrashed around by a powerful thug, he remembers the Bruce Lee movies, and hurls his “kung fu” kick at the villain. Ironically, Jackie Chan has always been held in comparison with the late Bruce Lee, and actually served as a stuntman in two of Lee’s films. Indeed there is a striking similarity between Kamal and Jackie.

At the same function, Jackie expressed a yearning to work with Kamal, something that the latter reciprocated, urging Chan to keep his promise of working on a possible film project together. I hope one day these two men work together, for it will be absolutely sensational seeing those two men share the big screen together and deliver action as they always do.

[Picture courtesy: BehindWoods]

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