Kamal Haasan

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Kamal Haasan (born November 7, 1954 in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu, India) is an Indian actor, film-maker who works in the Tamil film industry. Haasan has won several Indian film awards including four National Film Awards and 19 Filmfare Awards. With seven submissions, Kamal Haasan has starred in the highest number of films submitted by India for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Haasan's production company, Rajkamal International, has produced several of his films. Kamal Haasan received the Indian civilian awards of Padma Shri in 1990 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.


Kamal Haasan with his daughters Shruti Haasan and Akshara (2010).
  • I receive them only when he thinks I deserve it — I have to work for them!
    • About his letters from Balachander, in “His Master's voice 1 September 2010”
  • I had to read it out to my sister, who was witness to my early dark days, when my mother was afraid what would happen to me. But, I knew I couldn't read without choking up, so I asked Gautami to read it out for me.
    • About the letters from Balachander, in “His Master's voice 1 September 2010”
  • I use the word ‘guru' for him in the mythological sense — all other educationists ask for payment for knowledge imparted; this gentleman paid me and taught me. What a journey it has been, after I met him at the age of 17-and-a-half.
    • About Balachander, in “His Master's voice 1 September 2010”
  • I prepare even for a conversation with him — I never want to say too little or too much. And, I never disturb him except when I feel I've done something worthwhile. It's a rare relationship — unconditional and [professional]].
    • About his relationship with Balachander, in “His Master's voice 1 September 2010
  • To have won a place in his heart among all those he has mentored and created, itself is a distinction.
    • About his relationship with Balachander, in “His Master's voice 1 September 2010”
  • Subjugation is something which is an impedance on the ascent of man.
    • In an interview with Ms. Barkha Dutt #Townhall with Kamal Haasan, about atheism and rationalism.

Aamir's choice of films makes Kamal Haasan happy[edit]

Shruti Haasan in 2012.

Aamir's choice of films makes Kamal Haasan happy (2 January 2012)

  • I'm proud of her [Shruti] because she isn't doing a product of our home banner Rajkamal Films. The only thing Rajkamal did for her was to give her a chance to do the background score in ‘Unnaipol Oruvan’. It wouldn't matter to me if she failed as a movie actress. But right now it looks like a winning streak.
  • When we talk career, we get into an argument. In Hindi films, she is facing the same problems I did. If a K. Balachander hadn't come along to do 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye' with me in Hindi, I wonder what would've happened to me! I would have suffered much worse because Shruti is far more savvy than me.
Akshara Haasan - ...for the Tamil version of ‘Dasavatharam’, she was my coach for my American accent. She had just returned from the US and was the perfect medium to help her father's Madrasi accent to be transformed into a yankee accent.
  • ...for the [[Tamil language|Tamil version of ‘Dasavatharam’, she was my coach for my American accent. She had just returned from the US and was the perfect medium to help her father's Madrasi accent to be transformed into a yankee accent. She was a bully. She made me do many retakes in the dubbing. And after dubbing, she wanted me to correct some more of my accent. Everyone thought that was taking it a little too far.
  • I was always a reluctant actor! I continue to be that. I announce a project, the camera rolls and I'm happy. I'm fortunate to be doing leading parts even now. Except for my mentor K. Balachander, for whom I can do even a walk-on part. When he directed his 100th film, I just walked in to do a small role. I just clowned around on camera.
  • Balachander is my inspiration. He had a heart problem 40 years back. He has been making films for another 46 years. He can never grow old. My father used to be like that until he suffered a stroke. Then I suddenly realized he was an old man.That's also true of my brothers Chandra Haasan and to an extent Charu Haasan.I can never imagine them being old.
  • Direction is a lot of responsibility. But if you've been trained under Balachander as I have, it's a lot easier. You have everything down on paper before you start shooting. By now while directing I am experienced enough to know my moves.
  • He is a cool cat. I was surprised when he had a heart problem...People think my film with Mani, ‘Nayakan’, is my best work. To an extent it's true. But I'd like to think my best is yet to come.

Kamal Hassan: A universal legend[edit]

Someone once asked me what my working timetable was like and when was the last time I went on a holiday. I said about 20 years back. I don’t work anymore, because I get paid to do what I like most. So it’s like a paid holiday.

Dhanusha Gokulan in Kamal Hassan: A universal legend 24 November 2013

  • I have great respect for the unconditional teachers called books. Because from a book, you can either learn, or you can’t.
  • Someone once asked me what my working timetable was like and when was the last time I went on a holiday. I said about 20 years back. I don’t work anymore, because I get paid to do what I like most. So it’s like a paid holiday.
  • Actors can be refined and be better. I’m an improved version of whatever you’ve seen earlier. I do not say this with arrogance, but it is my duty to be better than my predecessor and it’s my duty to see that my successor is better than me.
  • For two and a half years, I rigorously trained seven to eight hours a day in two disciplines of dance but moved on to the most versatile medium called cinema which encompassed every form of art.
  • I am looking for excellence. Anyone can struggle but they cannot make a ‘perfect’ film.
  • It is an award for American excellence that excludes and sometimes gracefully includes some other countries. It is an institution or brand created by Hollywood to promote itself, an award decided by 15 people. How nice it would have been if Satyajit Ray, instead of all his awards, got a few more audiences?
    • On Oscar Awards that they are not the epitome of the cinematic world.
  • It is wrong to celebrate 100 years of cinema with just India. It is 100 years of cinema for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka. All these places saw Indian cinema as it was produced in Lahore, Mumbai, Chennai — it went all the way. It is 100 years of cinema of what used to be my India, my Pakistan, my Afghanistan and my Sri Lanka. That’s how an artist looks at it and it’ll soon be my world. It is the governments and political interests that create borders.
    • About celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.

Political Views[edit]

Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2018.

  • "Mediocrity is set as a standard...rubbish becomes acceptable. This has been the state of Tamil politics for nearly half a century"
    • On the state of politics in Tamil Nadu.
  • "I am anti everything that goes wrong for the people. As for extremism, Hindu extremism exists, read the Tamil papers.
  • "Many don't get the idea of centrism...we do not have to be left or right"
    • On his political stance.

About Kamal Haasan[edit]

K Balachander:Yes, I own Kamal. Yet, he does not belong to me — he belongs to the world of cinema. It is often argued that had he been born abroad, he would have won the Oscar many times over.
  • From babyhood to childhood, from adolescence to youth, from manhood to middle age, I have been part of this magician's life... Kamal has evolved into everything that I have dreamed he would be. Indeed, I should never be surprised by anything he achieves, yet I am constantly amazed.
  • A few Oscars maybe. But what value are a few Oscars in front of the adulation and warmth of a billion smiles and the awe and respect of a billion salutes? I have never ceased to be amazed by the limits and standards he sets (for) himself — standards that nobody else imagines even exists!
    • K Balachander, in “K Balachander praises Kamal Hassan! (2 September 2010)”
  • I did not teach him everything he knows. He just absorbed everything I knew. The rest he discovered himself by asking, probing, begging, watching, observing, reading, demanding, investigating, improvising, experimenting, experiencing, learning and not being afraid of stretching himself beyond his own limits. I only gave him the platform and the opportunity to discover himself. In the process, I was blessed enough to discover myself.
  • He has an amazing sense of using space. When he plays an old man his gait and the way he stands is enough to convey his age. He doesn't need make-up. I find him greater than Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro put together, I know Kamal can make you cry with a look in his eyes. I know his pauses. He has an amazing sense of timing that he knows the audience likes. He's a technician par excellence. That kind of knowledge and control every actor should strive to get.
    • Shahrukh Khan, in “A dream come true for him (25 August 2006)”
  • It's Kamal who inspired me to do one film at a time.
    • Aamir Khan in “A dream come true for him (25 August 2006)”
  • There are some things he can do that others can but there are many things Kamal can do that no other actor can.
    • Aamir Khan, in “A dream come true for him (25 August 2006)”
  • I'm always a Kamal Hassan fan...From day one I was very clear that I was not going to tap his immense talent. I've seen it all and he's done it all. I didn't want him to look different like he is in some of his films. I wanted to make a simple film, which will work for a change. I didn't want him to go overboard with anything. He's a good-looking guy in real life and that's the way I wanted him to look. We wanted somebody very sober and quiet so the histrionics were underplayed.
    • Gautam Menon, in “A dream come true for him (25 August 2006)” about the Kaakha Kaakha film with kamal hasan in the lead role.
  • Definitely from the actors I've worked with and the actors I've watched. I was amazed by the distinct way he handles a scene I've written. It was something I wouldn't have thought of. His way of looking at a scene would be different from what was on paper. He's an institution as far as acting is concerned. For example when I took a scene to him he did something that was not on paper, something you don't expect and can't write.
    • Gautam Menon, in “A dream come true for him (25 August 2006)” about the Kaakha Kaakha film with Kamal hasan in the lead role.
  • In every theater the collections are going up. Only Kamal can do this sort of a role and the film is a turning point for him. Saravanan also rightly advised Kamal not to sell the film - which cost Kamal Rs.80 lakhs to produce - outright, but only on a commission basis, as he felt it would be a "perennial gold-mine".
    • Ramesh Menon, on Kamal Hassnan’s success of the innovative Tamil film Apoorva Sahodarakal (Unique brothers) after a series of flops, in “Comeback king (31May 1989)”
  • Nobody associated with Sahodarakal is really willing to disclose what camera wizardry it was that finally transformed Kamalahasan into a fascinating midget. Some of the dwarf scenes were shot in a circus playing in Cochin by digging a pit with the actor standing knee-deep in it. The shoes were fixed to his knee and the pit was covered with a carpet.
  • I have not seen an actor who would play the most ludicrous roles without bothering about his star image.
  • What can we say about Kamal Haasan that has not already been said? This man was born to be an actor. Winning a national award for his first performance as a four year old, he has carved out a niche for himself in the [[w:Film industry|industry like no other actor could. Although his acting has been celebrated over the years, his style has not been given due credit. Kamal’s look not only changed as he grew as an actor but was strategically chalked out to suit each of his characters. From his haircut, to beard, mustache, his wardrobe, he was one of those pioneering actors in India to extremely to use prosthetics for different looks. One could say he was addicted to [[w:Experimenting|experimenting with his looks and characters. Go over his career and you will be amazed with exactly how much Kamal’s style has evolved over the past half century.
  • He is truly a master of all the arts. But everything has a reason and I decided to find out why. There is a bit of arts in every one and the goddess of the arts of the arts endows some people with extra gifts and leads them by the hand. People like me, Mammootty, Mohan Lal, Venkatesh and Amitabh Bachchan are amongst those whom the goddess has chosen to lead by the hand. But the goddess has picked up Kamal and cradled in her arms and clasped her to her bosom. I asked her “Is this fair” You are holding Kamal close to you. But all of us are also your children, we should be equal in your eyes.” The goddess replied, “Rajini, you wanted to be an actor and struggled to become one from your last life; but Kamal has desired to be an actor for ten lifetimes. Can I put him down?” I told her, no, goddess, let him stay where he is.” Kamal is truly the favorite child of the goddess of arts. I am proud that my name will also go down in history as somebody who has acted with him.
  • The range and versatility of Kamalahasan is unbelievable. He is one of our best actors.

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