Thursday, April 06, 2006

What should Kamal do?

Kamal is Kamal Haasan, sometimes wrongly spelt as 'Kamal Hassan'. For those of you who don't know, he is a highly rated actor from India. Besides producing, writing and directing many movies, he also dabbles in singing, choreography and lyrics among other things. For more details, check out details on Wikipedia and IMDb.

I'm an ardent fan and have been following him for the most part of my life. This article might reflect that bias, but also attempts to provide some genuine suggestions to a beloved star. The only additional qualification I have is that I'm a movie-buff, but surely not a bigger one than Kamal himself.

For the past few years, frankly, Kamal has been struggling. Towards the end of the previous millenium, he launched his dream project, Marudhanayagam with much fanfare. After canning thirty minutes of the final product, he was stuck for finances and the movie was shelved. After years of proxy direction, he finally came out with Hey Ram. Save for a bit of indulgence, it was a perfect movie with a superb message. Alas, it went above the heads of most and flopped miserably. Faced with heavy financial losses, it was time to go back to the world of commercial movies. He has had moderate success from then on, except for the debacle of Aalavandhaan / Abhay.

But "running around trees" even at the age of 51 is both funny and sad. He seems to be in a constant state of 'Catch-22' between the movies he wants to make and the movies he's having to be in.

In my opinion, Kamal's days as a leading man are pretty much over. As merciless as Indian movies might be towards old actors, it is time to break the shackles once more and act only in roles that suit his age. Kamal has a recent example in Amitaabh Bachchan, the biggest star of them all, who learnt it the hard way. Supporting roles aren't bad at all, if they're going to stay in public memory forever.

Acting was, after all, something he got into by accident, as he himself has said many times. He can remain with his first love of making movies till the end of his life. His ever-increasing knowledge of movies is matched by very few and that's something that can be put to use always. Yes, if you want to make movies your own way, you need to produce it too most of the time and that requires loads of money. The "Amitaabh way" might be more than enough though. Also, movies with relatively low budget (few crores of rupees) aren't a bad option, maybe once in a while.

Kamal tasted success as a child star, struggled as a teenager doing choreography, got picked up by Balachander and rose to superstar status, moved onto meaningful movies starting with Nayagan and then hit the not-so-good times starting with Marudhanayagam. To use cricket terminology, it's time for Kamal to begin his sixth innings. (Or is it the seventh or the eighth?)

Picture courtesy: The Telegraph


Blogger Satish Nair said...

Not sure what u mean by Kamal's days as a lead is over..Amitabh's roles in Black or Khakee or any of his other recent hits have been lead roles...
Probably what you meant was that he should do roles that suit his age,which could well be lead roles as well...
And I guess thats exactly what he is doing with VV and Dasavatharam.Kamal himself ackowledged that he doesnt wannna be running around trees or saying I love you to heroines half his age...
I believe that the best is yet to come for the Universal and Evergreen Hero!

07 April, 2006 08:23  
Blogger randramble said...

Let me rephrase that...let's say "traditional leading man".

IMHO, Amitaabh did play support to Rani's role in 'Black', though ultimately he ended up overshadowing her. Similarly, in 'Khaakee', it was an ensemble cast with Amitaabh's role being that of the good guy's.

As can be seen from my post, my wish too is that Kamal's best should come in the future and that's why I believe he shouldn't be wasting precious time.

07 April, 2006 09:40  
Blogger Satish Nair said...

Again a stumbling block is that Tamil Fans are not receptive to seeing their superstars play support roles in their later years.
Sivaji was a classic example with only Mudhal Mariyadhai and Devar Magan tasting critical and commercial success.
Do you see Kamal being accepted doing the same roles that the BigB is tasting success with?

07 April, 2006 10:08  
Blogger randramble said...

Your Sivaji example is perfect. I can't really predict whether people will accept Kamal in older roles or not, but I believe that's what he should do as far as acting is concerned.

07 April, 2006 10:11  
Blogger Nav said...

I believe Kamal Haasan has been doing a pretty fantastic job of choosing his roles off-late. Well coming to think of, I dont believe he has made a bad role choice right from the 90's.

And he has always been one of the few actors in Indian cinema (given his popularity) to slip comfortably into a supporting role, even if he is slotted as the lead actor!

Like Anbe sivam? or Panchathatiram? Thenali? All these show he is superb at others sharing the spotlight too. Truly a great actor.

Although, I must admit, I haven't watched Vasool Raja MBBS or the tamil version of Mumbai Express. From the promos, he seemed pretty jaded in both.

Cant wait for VV.


15 April, 2006 11:14  
Blogger randramble said...

I'm not saying that, in general, he's making bad choices for roles. Of late, he looks old and hence it's time to change course.

I agree with the supporting role part, though most people might disagree. The movies you mentioned were good, for sure.

"Mumbai Express" too was good, in my opinion. He experimented with a character that shows less of emotions. "Vasool Raja" was unwanted for sure.

16 April, 2006 07:25  

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