Gosh! What do I say about this man?! I was brought up in a Christian environment where movies were considered a sin. The first movie I saw in theaters was in my 12th grade, and I sought penance—such was my belief system. So, I was not well aware of this man, Kamal Haasan.
The Awakening at PSG Tech:
UG at PSG Tech, Coimbatore, kinda opened me up to his movies. I saw "Vettaiyadu Vilayadu" with friends and was impressed. This experience led me to explore his movies further. I was pointed towards "Hey Ram" and watched it in the common TV room. The sound and the small screen didn't really create any impact at that time.
A Deeper Appreciation:
Later, when I was in Hyderabad, I was going through a streak of IMDB’s top 250 movies. Watching most of them, I started looking at movies as a tool for storytelling rather than just entertainment. Now, I guess I was equipped enough to appreciate "Hey Ram," and man, I was blown away.
Kamal Haasan is a Storytelling Genius:
Here’s a question for you: if you’re making a movie about historical non-fiction where everyone knows what happened, how do you make it interesting? Kamal Haasan’s "Hey Ram" revolves around his character, Saket Ram, who is chosen to kill Gandhi. You wonder if this is yet another fact-twisted fiction, but no! That’s his brilliance. The same goes for "Dasavatharam," where the Tsunami facts weren’t twisted but neatly weaved into the larger tapestry that spans centuries.
A Test of Resilience:
Picture this: you just won a national award for a movie in which you portray an old patriot who turns into a vigilante to weed out corruption in India. Riding on this, you pull in all the strings to bring FDI into Tamil movies (unheard of) and start your most ambitious project, "Maruthanayagam," about the life of a forgotten independence warrior. But then, India conducts the nuclear test in Pokhran, there are economic sanctions imposed, and you can’t receive the investment. The project gets shelved. This juncture separates the great from the good, I believe.
The Great Storyteller:
This didn’t stop Kamal Haasan. The great storyteller put all his life savings into making "Hey Ram!" - a masterpiece!
His passion for his craft—writing scripts, screenplays, poems, singing, acting, dancing, producing, directing—and his courageous pursuit of excellence is a dose of inspiration for anyone, specially for tamils!
Kamal Haasan’s relentless drive, even in the face of adversity, reminds us all of the power of conviction and the importance of following one's passion, no matter the obstacles.
My Fav KamalHaasan Quotes!
Honesty is a luxury not many can afford it!
I am prone to lean towards science, ethics, and philosophy rather than myth, religion, and rituals.
One must have anger, as rightful wrath is what makes you create your own ethical standards.
The disgraces I suffer should be attributed to me, but the praises that I get go to my family and teachers. It is they who decided what I would become.
Acceptance is the only thing you should teach. Be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Dalit, you must inculcate acceptance, not tolerance.
Tell me, when do you become a respectable person in society? When you start respecting yourself. That is when you take care of yourself, that is when you comb your hair, groom yourself, and cleanse your body. You do all this because you respect yourself
We got to go one step further than even ‘Make in India.’ Let’s make India itself – India 2.0, the updated version.
I am also my own worst and most honest critic. I can say things that nobody will ever dare say. Even the best of friends will stop at a point, whereas I can go beyond
When mediocrity is set as a standard, rubbish becomes acceptable, acceptable becomes extraordinary and extraordinary becomes genius.
Connecting to a Bigger Picture:
Anyway, if you’re wondering what’s the reason for Kamal Haasan’s presence in this gratitude series that leads up to a book about building a better economy, it’s the courage his life has taught us. Lasy year when I was about to give up on everything i’ve been up to I bought his screenplay book of HeyRam, read it page by page while watching each scene. This activity and gobbling up his interviews brought me right back up.
I’ve had dreams of meeting him and presenting the book and the ideas that emanate from it for RKFI (An international film institute that is decentralised paving the way for an equitable movie industry) and MakkalNeedhiMaiam (Universal Basic Income implemented for each constituency in Tamilnadu as a Reality Show). More on these later!
In gratitude, I reflect on how Kamal Haasan's artistry has shaped not just cinema, but also the perspectives of individuals like myself. His journey is a masterclass in creativity and resilience. Here’s to a great man! Thank you and HappyBirthday Mr. Kamal Haasan (69).
PS: Like how you chose to remove the halo - “mahatma”, I choose to remove the halo (Ulaganayagan) around your head and keep you real and emulatable! I hope you recommend #TheInternetOfValue in your book recos on BiggBoss oneday.
Thank you & Love you!