13 Years of Kamalism
One fine morning in 1996,I was walking towards Sathyam theater, holding my dad's hand to book tickets for a movie called "Indian". I was a 7 year old kid then who knew zilch about movies. Fascinated by the "Telephone Manipol" song, I pestered my dad to book the tickets and so it happened. But unfortunately Mr. Deve Gowda had other plans. Just an hour before the show, we were stranded in the streets, thanks to Gowda because of whom the roads had to be blocked. As a result, we were late to the movie by half an hour. I wasn't disappointed much as I got what I wanted- the song. The old man who was on a killing spree through out the movie, looked cool to me. Little did I know who the old man was. Much to my shock, I discovered after getting back home that the old man was Kamal Hasan himself. I was hoping somebody would call bluff. That was the first time Mr. Kamal Hasan impressed me, and what en ever-lasting impression it has been...
After the stunning performance in Indian, I was getting desperate to watch his other movies and thanks to the idiot box, I got to see his old classics. The second movie of his' that I watched
was Moondraam Pirai(I vaguely remember). This time I was completely stunned. The climax left me weeping for about ten minutes. This movie is unforgettable for another reason that I came to know of the existence of another legend Ilayaraja. But that's for another blog post. Following the mesmerizing Moondraam Pirai, It was then the turn of Devar Magan, Guna, Mahanadhi and Nayagan to hit me for sixes. Nayagan made me a hardcore fan. And from then on, there was no looking back for I had decided if I had to be a fan of an actor, it had to be this guy.
Another thing about him that makes us all like him is his versatility. Little did I know about
his comedy classics until I saw Avvai Shanmugi. Then followed Sathi Lilavathi and Singara Velan. I still remember the way I was running around in my apartments singing the "Sonnabadi kelu, makkar pannadhe" song like a lunatic. Those were the times. Very recently, I caught up with Michael Madana KamaRajan- a rib tickling comedy with a script that has been weaved well. I for one, forgot that it was Kamal Hasan playing the 4 roles for I could only see Michael, Madan,
Kameswaran and Raju as 4 different persons and not Kamal Hassan as a whole. Such was his voice modulation and body language. He so easily pulls off different dialects that leaves you
speechless. Be it the Pakka Madras baashai in "Pammal uuuuwaaaaee Sammandham", the palakad baashai in MMKR, the Nellai slang in Dasavatharam, the Srilankan Tamil in Thenali, the US return slang in MMKR and Dasa.
Another fascinating thing about him is his vast knowledge on anything and everything under the
sun. For instance, take his interviews. He would speak as though he had taken those lines from
the book of some famous author. Don't fool yourselves if you think so for his views are always
candid and have some meaning in it. His proficiency in Tamil can give the likes of Vairamuthu and Kalaignar a run for their money. His english is not that bad either. His views on things are
thought provoking and inspiring most of the times. Such an eloquent public speaker he is, for he
hits people hard with his views. Where does all the knowledge come from? we may wonder. For
starters, he is a college drop out. Go figure.
There is not a thing in Cinema that he has not done. Actor Kamal, singer Kamal, director kamal,
lyricist Kamal, Choreographer Kamal, make-up man Kamal, Producer Kamal you name it, he's done it. Except for music maybe which is not possible for quite some years cos the man himself has said- "I will not compose music in the era of Ilayaraja" . Such is his respect for Raja.
There was a time when Kamal and KB created waves through out Mumbai with - "EK Thuke Ke Liye" which was a smashing hit that ran packed houses for 365 days in Mumbai. The movie literally rattled the likes of Amitabh Bachchan making him insecure, if sources are to be believed. But thankfully, he chose to stay in Chennai and give movies for our people.
Coming to the most improtant part now. In 2000, Kamal's first directorial venture happened - Hey!Ram. Sadly, I couldn't check it out thanks to the idiotic CBFC certificate. The people in the
sensor board are lunatics I say. Yes yes. I can hear many people seconding me. Amidst all the
political chaos that was created cos of the movie, it released. But it bombed miserably in the
"Box Office" which is THE bad word I hate most. Let's not get into that. I was glad that I could
watch his second directorial venture Virumaandi. A mad fan of the "Kombula poova suthi" song that I even know the drum beats in it pucca. Very recently, I got to watch two of his classics in
Hey!Ram and Pushpak(Pesum Padam) thanks to Aravindan, a good friend of mine for he was greatful enough to lend me the DVD. Trust me when I saY Hey!Ram,Pushpak and Anbe Sivam are the 3 best Indian movies ever made. Call me biased, whatever. But that, my friends is a FACHT.
A man who doesn't give a rats ass to what people think of him, a man who leads life his own way,
a man who strives hard to take Tamil Cinema to the next level, a man whose heart beats "cinema.. cinema...", a man who inspires a nation with his thought provoking speeches and views, a man who literally shows his middle finger to the critics time and again, a man who dares to make different attempts even after getting hit many a times, a man who has the guts to break
stereotypes in every single movie of his', a man who "LIKES AN IMAGE SO THAT HE CAN BREAK IT SIMPLY".
As Tony Montanna puts it in Scarface-
"What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way! "
Imagine Kamal mouthing off this dialogue to all those twits who criticize his personal life!!!
Long live Kamal. Long live Kamalism.
Udal Mannukku, Uyir Kamalukku.