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Retrospective of Kamal Haasan films
By Jyothi Venkatesh

In order to celebrate 50 years of Kamal Haasan’s contribution to Indian Cinema, Directorate of Film Festivals recently organized the three day Retrospective of Kamal Haasan Films during July 2-4, 2010 at Sirifort Auditorium II. The three-day long gala opened with Hey Ram. Blockbuster films enacted by Kamal Haasan, like Anbe Sivam, Virumaandi, Thevar Magan, Sagara Sangamam, Dasavatharam and Nayagan were screened during the three day festival attended by eminent personalities and celebrities.

Ambika Soni, the Union minister (I&B), inaugurated the Retrospective of Kamal Haasan’s films at Siri Fort. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said Retrospective of films provided an opportunity to view the work of an artist over a span of time. It represents the spectrum of work, showcasing the sensitivity of the artist towards different characters, ideas, issues and images. A retrospective of films was a visual feast for the movie buffs, as it provided an opportunity to view classics and also reflect their impact on society and human life.

“Kamal Haasan as an artist over a period of time, balanced Cinema with realism. His portrayal of different characters, created a pan India phenomenon, breaking the barriers of age groups, language and commercial interest. Some of the character portrayals have left a deep imprint across all generations. His multilingual cinematic versatility ensured a fan following reiterating his mass appeal and acceptance of his cinema as a unique artistic expression,” opined Soni.

Acknowledging the contribution of Kamal Haasan to Cinema, she added that each of the films being screened during the festival had a strong social message.  “India’s, brand identity as a nation of entertaining cinema was not due to Bollywood alone. It was the creative genius of cinema in all languages that also contributed immensely to the multicultural identity of the Indian film movement. The Cine Artists also contributed in positioning India’s imprint as a nation with rich cinematic history, worldwide by being Goodwill Ambassadors for the country,” said Soni. 

Stating that the retrospective showcased Haasan’s sensitive side, Soni said the actor fell under a special category, as his cinema broke barriers of language and region. The decision to show a retrospective of his films was not an off-the-cuff decision. Some of his characters had left a deep impact on us. “This is an acknowledgement of your contribution for the past 50 years. He made his debut in Kalathur Kannamma on August 12, 1959. He has been honored with several awards. In fact, he may be the most awarded person in the country.”

Having completed 50 years in Indian cinema, veteran actor Kamal Haasan has written, acted in and produced numerous movies but directed only three - Chachi 420,Hey Ram and Virumandi. The multi-faceted star now reveals he is craving to wield the megaphone again.   Speaking at the event, Kamal said: “I will direct more films... I have done Chachi 420, Hey Ram  and Virumandi and there will be more. Lots of young actors want me to direct and guide them and help them in their career.”  “There are so many actors, people and talents, who haven’t got their moment of glory and if possible I’d like to help all of them (by directing or helping otherwise),” he added. Answering to a question if he would be directing his daughters, Shruti and Akshara, Kamal replied with his natural smile: “That depends on them.”

“I am not going to dwell on what has been done, but rather focus on what is to be done. Fortunately I came into the film world early… My parents told me to choose any profession. My father believed in me; he was my guru. The word guru sounds strange and even anachronistic these days. But without his backing, I would not have been where I am today.”  Referring to himself, the actor said a differently-abled child was loved more than other children. “I am a high school drop-out, but the rest of my family is well-educated. My mother and brothers showered me with so much love.”

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