Kamal Haasan’s silent film Pushpak completes 25 years!

Actors Amala and Tinnu Anand who were a part of the Kamal Haasan-starrer remember the film

As silent film Pushpak completes 25 years, Tinnu Anand and Akkineni Amala, who were in the cast, recall their enriching shooting experiences and the powerful impact the film made on audiences. Also starring Kamal Haasan, Pratap Pothan, Farida Jalal, PL Narayana, KS Ramesh and Loknath, director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao’s Pushpak released September 10, 1987.

Actor-director Tinnu Anand said, “The film ran for 35 weeks in Bangalore, and left a deep impression.” Not only that, the hospitality Tinnu received from Bangaloreans was simply overwhelming. “My few visits to Bangalore after the release of the film quite amazed me. People would not even let me pay my bill in a hotel or restaurant. They would recognise me from the film and volunteer to pay the bill,” he reminisced. Tinnu played the role of an assassin, who uses a dagger of frozen ice to kill the character played by Kamal Haasan. “I remember every night we used to fill the dagger mould with water and deep freeze it before going to sleep. By morning, though it would’ve frozen, it would eventually break when it was taken out. Finally, our director made a frozen dagger for the shoot with acrylic that looked almost real.”

The success of Pushpak doesn’t lie solely on one individual. It was neither the director nor Kamal Haasan, but a team effort, said the actor. “We worked as a team and there was no schedule per se that was followed. Kamal had all the time for the film, and so did all of us. The director would sit in one corner and supervise us, as we would prepare for the scene. We were given all the freedom to experiment and improvise with the output.”

In this age of remakes, what surprises Tinnu Anand is that no one is thinking about a remake of Pushpak. “I’m surprised that nobody even bothered to remake this classic. I would love to act in the remake of Pushpak. However, I would expect to be given the same freedom that director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao gave us on the sets of the film,” said Anand.

It goes without saying that Pushpak was special for every actor who was part of the project. Amala, who played a magician’s daughter in love with Haasan’s character, feels the film changed the course of her career forever. “It was a film that changed the trajectory of my career in films and got me recognition as talent. The filming was like going to acting school or film school for me,” said Amala.

“I learnt so much about cinema and acting from Singeetham Srinivasa Raoji, Kamalji and all the talented technicians at the time. It was a great learning experience for me, a fun project to work on and an amazing response and recognition. These are films that actors remember and the audience never forgets”, she added.

Pushpak had a great effect on people and the actor realised it when she walked into an office a few years ago. “I remember an unknown gentleman came across the room to greet me, and I noticed his prosthetic arm. He told me how he had had an accident during his college days and his arm was amputated. To cheer him up, his friends brought the DVD of Pushpak and played it every day till he got over the shock of losing his arm,” she said.

Pushpak is 25 years old, yet its impact endures.