There is hardly a person ignorant to the gifted genius of Kamal Haasan; sure enough, ‘Ulaga Nayagan’ needs no introduction. In a career of 54 years, with all the enviable awards to his credit and still going strong, what is it that makes Kamal Haasan a person beyond a famous actor, elevating him to the heights of being accepted as the ‘epitome of cinema’? There’s lots, but here is a few that offers insight into the greater person that he is.
Probably the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind, when spoken about Kamal’s versatility, is his romantic charm. The actor seems to have defied age in being referred as the most convincing romantic hero of all times. Being the accomplished actor that he is, Kamal gets into the shoes of every character that he plays and practically starts living his role; and romance is one genre you could bet on, with him. Exemplar of this attribute of his includes ‘Punnagai Mannan’ and ‘Kadhal Parisu’. After all, he is the best kisser Kollywood has ever witnessed!
When you have made people happy, it is easy to get them your way. On the other hand, Kamal has been lightening our moods with his classic performance, for years, with no hint of influence. As was enjoyed in movies like ‘Michael Madhana Kamarajan’, ‘Thenali’, ‘Sadhi Leelavathi’ and ‘Pancha Thanthiram’, Kamal has made his mark as an ace comedian with his knack of being natural in his roles to make the joke convincingly realistic. Most often, the actor joins hands with Crazy Mohan on such projects, and when they unite, you’d always want the movie to never end!
In an era when people blindly bid on romance, comedy and action, it is Kamal Haasan who has pioneered the concept of yet another genre which goes far beyond being miscellaneous, to be called distinct. On this regard, Kamal has broken the ice many times, to play unconventional roles, like seen as a dwarf twin in ‘Apoorva Sagotharargal’ and bamboozling dressed as an elderly woman in ‘Avvai Shanmugi’. But no matter which role he takes up, he goes beyond studying the behaviour of the character, to imbibe the innate virtues and grace of his prospective guise. Further, the credit for Kollywood’s path breaking movie goes to Kamal, as he created a sensation with his ‘Pesum Padam’.
When reality meets fiction, they are always in disagreement. But righteous anger knows no bounds, and who better to essay the role of a responsible cop, than Kamal. Carrying the responsibility of fighting the evil, conveying the responsibility of a duty-bound servant to the public and government, Kollywood is yet to witness an action cop more convincing, menacing, stylish and smart as Kamal Haasan. Setting various examples all along his career, Kamal has been the beloved cop through ‘Kaaki Sattai’, ‘Kuruthi Punal’, ‘Vikram’, ‘Vettaiyadu Vilayadu’ and more.
When he can be the role he plays at such convincing levels of perfection, he sure would know the knack of bringing out the best out of people. With this confidence on himself and from his fans alike, Kamal Hassan set out to don the director’s hat in the last decade, delivering movies which are one of a kind. This way, Kamal has also given the strictly orthodox Kollywoodians, a hint of how Hollywood feels, as best seen in ‘Vishwaroopam’. On the other hand, ‘Hey Ram’ and ‘Virumandi’ are unparalleled, for the way they were crafted to perfection.
Kamal the dancer needs no formal introduction. Everyone knows how great and accomplished a dancer he is, as seen in every foot tapping sequence where he features. His western dance in ‘Punnagai Mannan’, classical dance in ‘Salangai Oli’ and Kathak in ‘Vishwaroopam’ are show stealing performances. But many do not know this of Kamal, where as a choreographer, he has made legends of cinema shake their leg in poetic motion. Kamal was the mastermind behind the foot tapping moves of the legendary actors; he has choreographed for MGR in ‘Naan En Piranthen’, Sivaji Ganesan in ‘Savaale Samaali’ and Jayalalithaa in ‘Anbu Thangai’.
If one man could harbour all the talent it took to entertain and captivate his audience, then it has to be Kamal Haasan. Apart from all the other distinct talents that he holds, Kamal is a singer who you’d never wanna stop listening to.
Accomplished across all the genres that entertains audience, Kamal’s forte came to forth and grabbed limelight for classical hint in ‘Sundari Neeyum’ which he in duet with S Janaki, western genre in ‘Pottu Vaitha Kadhal Thittam’, local Chennai slang in ‘Alwarpettai Aaluda’ from ‘Vasool Raja MBBS’, melody in ‘Neela Vaanam’ from ‘Manmadhan Ambu’, and the multiple emotion roller coaster ‘Peek Into Assasin’s Life: Neruppu Vaayinil’ from ‘Pudhupettai’. The actor also shares a great rapport with Isagnani Ilayaraja and the late legendary poet Vaali, aside from the fact that he is a great poet himself.
Apart from the conventional genres of entertainment, Kamal Haasan is known to gently drive home the feeling of responsibility, through his movies that carry a strong message, making the whole plan look inadvertent. Films like ‘Indian’, ‘Maha Nadhi’ and ‘Anbe Sivam’ were trend setters in Kollywood, which created a revolution in the very thought process of many people. Further, Kamal Haasan is the first actor in the world, who has transformed his fan club into an organization dedicated social service.
Words fall short to describe the man with such greatness. But as he turns 59, we take this opportune moment to thank Kamal Haasan for his incomparable contribution to Indian cinema, through his five-decade old strong career. Here’s heartily wishing the Ulaga Nayagan a very happy birthday!