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I come from an era when cinema was not driven by studios: Kamal Haasan


Tamil film icon Kamal Haasan, who started his acting career when he was just three years old, says he comes from an era when artists believed that cinema was one vision and not driven by studios.
Kamal has donned many hats — as an actor, a writer and producer — for several films, including his forthcoming one titled Vishwaroopam 2.
What makes him take up so many roles instead of sharing the responsibilities with others?
“I used to because when you want something done precisely as per your vision… I have learnt from all my masters, including my mentor with whom I was an understudy, Mr. Balachander. He wrote, he directed and if given a chance, he could have been a fantastic actor but he had no desire to do that.”
“Otherwise, I would have lost out on 36 films with him. He (Balachander) could have played all those characters,” Kamal, who worked with the filmmaker in films like Manmatha Leelai and Ek Duuje Ke Liye, said in an email interview.
The actor, also a politician, admires others as well.
“Even those whom I admired like (Charlie) Chaplin or (Alfred) Hitchcock or even Francois Truffaut, they all ended up acting, producing and did everything…including (acting) in other people’s films. Usually, directors shy away from it. But Truffaut acted in Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
“So for me, it (multi-tasking in films) is nothing new because my masters – be it Chaplin or Truffaut, all of them moved from one to another so easily. So, it seemed natural, and I come from an era when we believed that cinema was one vision and it was not driven by studios,” said the actor, now in his 60s.
Vishwaroopam 2 is a sequel to the 2013 movie Vishwaroopam.
Does he feel more pressure when he does sequels?
“No, but I thought of sequels long time back. So much before that people thought I was an eccentric and a dangerous person to deal with… in the sense… I wanted a sequel to Ek Duuje Ke Liye. He (Balachander) asked, ‘How do you make a film after Ek Duuje Ke Liye?” So I told my boss, my mentor, the story.
“He asked ‘How could you rise from the dead?’ and I replied ‘It’s been done before, the new testament is all about it and finally Sir, you killed those lovers, you have the right to resurrect them’.”
And, they did make a film.
“But he didn’t want to call it Ek Duuje Ke Liye 2. So, we called it Punnagai Mannan in Tamil,” said Kamal.
Vishwaroopam 2 will hit the screens on August 10. Its Hindi version will be presented by Rohit Shetty and the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment. It’s a bilingual shot in Tamil and Hindi, and also dubbed in Telugu.
MN+ has associated with Vishwaroopam 2 for season three of Pathbreakers, a specially curated property showcasing Hollywood movies that redefined cinema till date.