The classy and versatile actor turns 61 today
Experimental. Thought provoking. Sensible. Brave. These are just a few adjectives to describe the man who has contributed so much to Indian cinema in last four and a half decades.
From Kalathur Kannamma to Thoongaavanam, the journey of Kamal Haasan has been epic as he evolved from being a budding actor into an encyclopaedia of filmmaking. But the journey has not been a bed of roses as he had to fight against a lot of obstacles and controversies. Today, as Kamal Haasan turns 61, I tell you why our country doesn’t deserve an actor like Kamal Haasan.
Content NOT star is the king
In a country, where there are superstars and mega stars and power stars, film content and acting has taken a back seat. For years, we have been worshipping our stars like Gods, overlooking their every crappy films. We would celebrate our favourite actors’ birthday with fervour on social media and ahead of their every release we would pour milk on their giant cut outs. In a nation that is stardom crazy, Kamal Haasan is one of those rare actors who are against the concept star worship. Even though he has avid fan following, Kamal has managed to keep his fans and well wishers grounded, asking everyone to seek for excellence in cinema and not accept substandard stuff in the name of star worship. For him, content of a film is, was and always will be the king. Imagine this. Kamal Haasan been in the industry for over 4 decades. Ajith has been in Tamil film industry for 2 decades. And when I ask audience to choose between Vedalam and Thoongaavanam this Diwali, more often than not fans will choose Ajith’s film over Kamal’s, thanks to Thala’s crazy fan following. Kamal is a senior actor and could have taken the commercial path of building an empire of fans, but he chose to give importance to his films and not too his films. The sad truth is a Vijay or Ajith movie will become super hit irrespective of the quality of the film, whereas even a good film from Kamal might get royally ignored in the blinding light of superstars and their films. Kamal and his ideology of actors before stars, sadly has no space in Indian circus of stardom. If we can’t even distinguish between a good and a bad film, we certainly don’t deserve an actor like Kamal Haasan.
Intolerance - No Creative Freedom
Filmmaking is a creative field and Kamal Haasan is as creative as one can be. While I have no doubts in his artistic capabilities, the creative freedom required for an artist to grow is clearly missing in our country. With intolerance towards anything new and different, Kamal Haasan has to be most controversial actor in the industry, with almost all his films attracting some kinda unwanted controversy. Be it Virumandi, Vishwaroopam or Uttama Villain, his films tend to offend someone or the other, as we just find excuse to target celebs and hog the limelight. In a country with so many religions, caste and regional diversity, it is impossible to keep everyone happy and at the same time do justice to your artistic potential. With fringe groups calling for ban on films every other day, intolerance in our country has been affecting an amazing artist like Kamal Haasan. During the time of ban on Vishwaroopam, Kamal was so hurt that he even announced that he will leave this country forever. Had he been in France or US, Kamal could have achieved so much as an artist. While we are tackling with intolerance for ages, we certainly don’t deserve someone brilliant and creative as Kamal Haasan.
He calls a spade a spade
Kamal Haasan is not known for mincing his words. He is brave and bold enough to speak his mind, and is not buckled down by the pressure of being politically correct. Unfortunately his statements and comments have always face a severe backlash, as we as a community get easily offended when we hear some opinion which is different from the popular culture. From his take on religion to live in relationships to intolerance to Jallikattu, every remark by him has been severely criticised. While, we talk about freedom for hours and hours, celebrating Republic Day and Independence Day, there is no sign of freedom of speech in this country. If anyone has to say something bold and brave and different, then controversy needs to be created. I don’t think we deserve someone as open minded and tolerant as Kamal Haasan in a country where freedom of speech is dead.
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