Keep pushing the envelope: Kamal Haasan

Jan 04, 2013, 08:42 IST | Jigar Shah

The veteran actor on the secrets of his good looks, his upcoming film 'Vishwaroopam' and why the country needs to wake up

When it comes to his films, Kamal Haasan is a chameleon in disguise. After doing around 250 films both in Hindi and regional languages, the veteran actor is back with a bang with his next rendition at the box office.

Kamal Haasan

You had a huge row over the DTH issue for your film.
The matter is now solved. We are going ahead with the DTH release. Things began to go wrong when a cinema chain ditched us and went back on their word. Right now it is not about money but about bringing a revolution.

You are looking younger than ever.
Compliments like these help me look the way I look. In fact, it is thanks to my father. He would play tennis with his granddaughters; he would be all over the place. I need to thank him for my health.

How is it that your actresses are always so much younger than you?
(Laughs) You wouldn’t believe that in one of my earlier films when I was 19, I had an actress opposite me who was in her late thirties and she had already done over 100 films. And with this film she got a new lease of life. In fact, I had acted with her as her kid in one of her many films. So getting adjusted opposite older actresses comes naturally.

What is your secret to playing more than one character in your films?
My current film is a completely different film. It is very similar to what Dilip Kumar saab did as Ram and Shyam in Ram Aur Shyam. As an actor, you are always greedy. You keep pushing the envelope for your audience.

How did your latest film take shape?
Most ideas are already in and around us but in a different form till we realise them. The basic idea of this film goes back to The Mahabharat. However, it doesn’t mean that the film is Hindu-centric.

Would you consider this your toughest film ever?
I always take inspiration from K Balachander (Haasan’s guru). He has always taught me to push the envelope. When I began my career, there wasn’t a bifurcation like a good film or a bad film. There were only four categories a good commercial film, a bad commercial film, a good art film and a bad art film. I have gone through that phase when I wasn’t allowed to make a film. Even the posters of my film were torn up. But this is the first time a cinema chain has thrown its weight around. My film is now releasing with 700 prints in the South (400 in Tamil Nadu alone), 200 overseas and with around 900 prints in North India.

What about the LA premiere?
It is happening on January 10 at Grove Theatre. The entire theatre has been fitted with an Auro- 3D music system. I’m just the third person to do it after Steven Spielberg.

What’s next?
Firstly, I have to release my film and then I work on the sequel of this film. It was after the first schedule that I realised the film had a scope for a second part and I then began writing. In fact I have already shot 10 per cent of the film.

You have two daughters. As a father what do you gave to say about the recent Delhi rape?
Yes, I’m concerned. In this country, we celebrate satis. Women have such a low position in our society. It is high time we wake up. However, we cannot become a mob who lynches the rapists. We need stronger and quicker justice, as justice delayed is justice denied.

How have you trained your daughters to stand up and fight?
I have been scared for my kids. And that was the reason why I made a film called Mahanadi, which dealt with flesh trade among kids. I have trained my kids to be aware and conscious that such a thing can even happen to them. I taught them this when they were very young. They needed to learn about the atrocities of the world.

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