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By Behindwoods Visitor Balaji Sridharan isn't responsible for the views expressed by the visitor in this column.

When we talk about Abraham Lincoln, the following things automatically come to our mind:  For the people, by the people, of the people. Like wise, when I hear the word Kamal Hassan, the following words strike me: For the cinema, by the cinema, of the cinema. He needs no introduction. He is one of the icons of Indian Cinema. He can speak English/Tamil on par with a veteran English/Tamil professor. He is a genius not only in cinema but as a person in real life. I am not exaggerating but just telling facts straight from my heart. 

But, in spite of being such a genius person, Kamal Hassan has always been criticized by certain people. Also he has been treated as a second fiddle in Tamil cinema by the media, by rating Rajnikanth over Kamal Hassan. Well, I am not in for a Kamal Hassan verses Rajnikanth debate. Both are legends in there own ways. 

Now, coming back to criticism on Kamal, it’s always okay if it is a constructive one. But in the name of criticism, I feel that there are lots of MYTHS about Kamal Hassan and I would like to quote some of the myths and disprove them here. 

Kamal Hassan is a good film maker, but he doesn’t understand the pulse of audience and his movies aren’t common man’s cup of tea.

 This is what a certain section of people say about Kamal. Well, if Kamal Hassan doesn’t understand the pulse of our audience, then he would not have been in cinema industry now. He exactly knows how to make a film that would work out in Tamil cinema. Some of his films like Guna, Anbe Sivam, Hey Ram, Kurudhi Punal, Alavandhan etc , which got good reviews from critics , didn’t work out at box office because Kamal Hassan not only tried to entertain the audience with a different script, but also tried to educate them with a different style of presentation. Some of his films like Nayagan were received by the audience during its release itself, where as a film like Anbe Sivam was received by the majority, some time later after the release. That is the only difference but at the end, all his great works are accepted by audience. To him, Cinema is not just a medium of entertainment, but also a medium that can educate the audience and make them think about the aspects covered in the film. After doing a film like Hey Ram, Kamal did a Tenali that was lapped up by everyone, which includes the common man as well. He has more than one million fans outside the internet world and his films do have all the typical First day First show celebrations during its release, just like how other Mass heroes like Rajni, Vijay and Ajith have. He is a great star in box office and because of his box office power; he is bold enough to make a movie like Vishwaroopam with a budget of more than 100 crores.

Some Kamal films are too complicated and cannot be understood by many

This is another general criticism on Kamal Hassan. I have received such remarks from people who claim that there all time favorite films are Inception, Memento etc. I really can’t understand how someone can understand a film like Inception very much, but not a movie like Alavandhan or Hey Ram. Is Hey Ram more complicated than Inception? Well, at least to me, it is not. This myth actually shows the hypocrisy of the people who say that Kamal films are so complicated. One need not necessarily understand all the small segments of a Kamal film, but can always understand the overall story/concept of the film and I feel that should be good enough for someone to say that they have understood the film.

Kamal films have sexual content and cannot be guaranteed as a family entertainer

Again, this is a very hypothetical MYTH about a Kamal film. Yes, some Kamal films had intimate scenes and lip to lip kisses. But such films have been certified by CBFC as A. So the certification clearly states that children below 18 are not allowed to watch such films in theater. But even after that if one complaint that Kamal films have intimate scenes, well, I don’t know what to say. Also, in Indian cinema, in the name of family entertainers/commercial cinema, we see many masala films with heroines exposing too much in songs. But such films will have a mother/sister sentiment and thus they are treated as family entertainers with U or U/A certificate. So is it okay if our 18 years below people see such songs in theaters with the lead lady exposing too much? In fact, some time a very glamorous song in U or U/A masala film/family entertainer gives more perverted thoughts to our teenage people than a bed room scene. Well, I agree, some Kamal films have intimate scenes, but they are certified accordingly by the censor board. I also find some people who like films like Dirty picture, Fashion etc stating that the lead lady in those films acted really well, but complaining that a Kamal film has sexual content. Again when it comes to Hollywood, the same group of people, who accuse Kamal for having intimate scene, appreciates a movie like Titanic. This is what I call it as Hypocrisy. Also all Kamal films don’t have intimate scenes. So generalizing Kamal films as films with sexual content is an absolute myth.

Kamal Hassan doesn’t have a great command at box office like Rajnikanth

This myth has been mainly created by some of the fans of Rajnikanth to just prove a point that Rajni is a Baasha @ box office in Tamil Cinema by a mile when compared to other heroes. As I said earlier, I really don’t want to go for a Rajni verses Kamal debate but I would just like to point out some of the facts about Kamal films @ box office. In 1980’s Kamal is the only actor to give 5 blockbusters in a year, out of which three where Tamil films (Vazhve Mayam, Moondram Pirai, Sagalakala Vallavan). Kamal also has a great screen presence just like his friend Rajnikanth. He has saved films like Sagalakala Vallavan just by his screen presence and made them blockbusters @ box office. Now if you think that these things happened some 20 years before but now he is not that great, you are wrong. During the release of Dasavatharam, there were many articles stating that the collections were on par with Rajni’s Sivaji. Some articles stated that the collections exceeded Sivaji. A film like Sivaji had a Superstar Rajnikanth, Isai puyal AR Rahman and a director like Shankar. But Dasavatharam had a normal commercial director like KS Ravikumar and a very ordinary music director like Himesh Reshmia/Devi Sri Prasad. But still Kamal Hassan was not only able to generate the box office collections on par with Sivaji but also succeeded in donning 10 getups and making a new story line working out wonders in Tamil Cinema. It also had concepts like Chaos theory which again means that he has also given some thing for the audience to educate, apart from the film being a roller coaster entertainer. Now with Vishwaroopam in Auro 3D technology, Kamal Hassan can make it on par with or even better than Enthiran, which would be really great for Tamil Cinema.

These are some of the general MYTHS prevailing about Kamal Hassan. As I have mentioned, these are just MYTHS and not real. Apart from these there are many Myths about Kamal’s personal and off the field career. But I feel that it’s not worth enough to talk about those things as they are created by people who are not able to digest the success and reach of Kamal and thus try to defame him in whatever way they want. Such myths are not given too much of importance even by the general public. But the myths mentioned above are commonly pointed out by many. So I thought I can enlighten those people and prove those myths wrong. Hope I have conveyed what I wanted to.


Thanks and regards,


Balaji Sridharan

Tags :KAMAL HASSAN,VISHWAROOPAM,Vazhve Mayam,Moondram Pirai,Sagalakala Vallavan

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