"That in the era where Kamal Hassan acted I too survived, is in itself a miracle" - Rajnikanth
We all know that Kamal Haasan is the Renaissance man or ‘Sakalakalaa Vallavan’ and is indeed a blessing to Tamil cinema. He has entertained the audience with spellbound performances predominantly as a protagonist and also as an antagonist. But there is more to Kamal than just acting. Here, we explore few other aspects of Ulaganayakan-A pioneer, who has been an inspiration to innumerable filmmakers.
Dancing is an art and just like any other art it can be mastered only by the passionate. Few are gifted with the grace and persona essential for this art and Kamal is one. Kamal’s performances in Salangai Oli and Viswaroopam manifest the same. His dedication is such that he learnt kathak from kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj for his role as a kathak dancer in Viswaroopam. An adept dancer, he has worked as a choreographer too in few films,way back in the seventies.
For an industry to flourish , the role of money is significant. Cinema is not indifferent to this axiom either. Every year there are umpteen number of scripts waiting to hit the screens, but are nipped in their nascent stages due to paucity of funding. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Kamal has served Tamil cinema in the role of a producer too. By investing his earnings from cinema in cinema, he has encouraged niche movies experimenting with new styles and genres.
The person at the helm of the proceedings is always the most informed and knowledgeable. To be a director, more than just knowledge about movie making, a seamless vision is essential. Kamal’s directorial ventures, though few, are testimonial to the fact that he is a genius. Whether it be Hey Ram , Virumandi or Viswaroopam experimentation, innovation and fresh ideas have always been at the core.
Kamal’s tryst with script writing proved to be successful too, with close to 25 films in this avatar. The Kamal-Crazy Mohan collaboration in Michael Madan Kama Rajan and Apoorva Sagotharagal was very successful. The depth in the dialogues are such that one is forced to observe the movie keenly in order to discern the disguised inner meanings. Taking a dig at hypocritic social customs and tongue in cheek atheist remarks have become his signature.
In this era of auto-tuning almost anybody and everybody is taking up to singing. But this gifted legend has a career spanning three decades, rendering songs in four languages . He has sung in closed to fifty films under generations of music composers. From‘Raja Kaiya Vechaa’ from Apoorva Sagodharargal to ‘Unna Vida’ from Virumandi he has sung songs in variegated moods. Though he sang only small portions of the song ’Unnai Kaanadha’ from Viswaroopam, he left an indelible mark even while singing alongside the prolific Shankar Mahadevan
‘Kaviperarasu’ Vairamuthu eulogized Kamal Hasan for his lyrics in ‘Neela Vaanam’ song from the movie Manmathan Anbu. Now, doesn’t that speak volumes about ‘Kamal the Lyricist’ . In the song ‘Anu Vidhaitha Bhoomiyile’ ,he impressively conveys the whole idea of the movie in a single line - ‘Nammil Yaar Irandhaalum Oru Thaai Azhuvaal’ . Interestingly, Kamal has penned down the lyrics for 5 songs in Uttama Villain.
Nayagan saw this talent of the multi-faceted Kamal on display. Director Mani Ratnam mentioned in one of his interviews, that Kamal helped with the makeup for not just himself but also for his co-actors. He meticulously paid attention to detail, especially in showcasing the aged look of Velu Nayakar. The clean shaven, grey hair with a bald patch look was different from the aged looks that he had sported previously.
More than 50 years in Indian cinema he is still vibrant and energetic, coming up with new ideas(or rather controversies ) every time. Carving a niche for himself and tenaciously sticking to it while being undeterred by success or failure, has made him what he is today.
“There are some things he can do that others can, but there are many things that Kamal can do that no other actor can” – Director Mani Ratnam
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