Happy Birthday, Kamal Haasan: Superstar@65

November 06, 2019 21:01
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    Kamal Haasan is undoubtedly one of Indian cinema's most versatile actors and is the only movie star, seven of whose films have been nominated for the Oscars. Mr Haasan, who has starred in nearly 200 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi is also a multi-talented personality apart from being a successful screenwriter and filmmaker. As he turns 65 today, here's a look at his life and career in pictures.

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    Kamal Haasan was born in 1954 in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu. His father, a lawyer by profession, was a freedom fighter. He has two brothers and a sister.

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    Kamal Haasan received his primary education in Paramakudi. He pursued higher education in Chennai where he was drawn towards films and the fine arts.

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    As a child, Kamal Haasan was discovered by producer-director Avichi Meiyappa Chettiar and his son M Saravanan entirely by chance. They cast him in their upcoming production Kalathur Kannamma (1959) and, at the tender age of four, Kamal Haasan won the President's Gold Medal for his role in the film. He made his debut in the Malayalam film industry with Kannum Karalum(1962).

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    His first adult role was in the film Maanavan (1970), where he appeared in a dance sequence. He continued to play a supporting role in films such as Annai Velankani and Naan Avan Illai.

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    Kamal Haasan won his first regional award for his role in the Malayalam film Kanyakumari (1974). He won his first Tamil Filmfare award for his role in K Balachander's Apoorva Raaganga, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.

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    Kamal Haasan starred in many of director K Balachander's films through the late '70s. These included Oru Oodhappu Kan Simittugiradhu (1976), Moondru Mudichu (1976), Avargal (1977). 16 Vayathinile, in which he played a village bumpkin, won him a third Best Actor award.

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    Kamal Haasan earned his fourth Filmfare award for Sigappu Rojakkal in 1978. He played the role of a psychopathic killer in the film which was a stark contrast from the roles he had played earlier. In the late '70s, he appeared in other films such as Ninaithale Inikkum (1979) and the horror film, Neeya (1979).

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    Kamal Haasan's pairing with actress Sridevi was very successful at the time. The duo's first project together was the less-known film Kuttavum Sikshayum (1977). The pair continued to work together in films like Thaayillamal Naan Illai (1979), Guru, Neela Malargal, Kalyanaraman and Varumayin Niram Sigappu, all in 1980. Mr Haasan's 100th film appearance was in 1981 titled Raja Paarvai, which also marked his debut in film production. Despite this film's relatively poor reception at the cinemas, his portrayal of a blind violinist earned him another Filmfare Award.

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    Kamal Haasan made his Bollywood debut in 1981 with Ek Duuje Ke Liye - the remake of his Telugu-language film Maro Charithra (1978). He continued to act in Bollywood remakes of his Tamil films through the eighties including Yeh To Kamaal Ho Gaya (1982) and Zara Si Zindagi (1983). But one of his most memorable roles was in the 1985 film Saagar, for which he won the Filmfare Best Actor award.

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    He won a National Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a schoolteacher caring for an amnesia patient in Balu Mahendra's Moondram Pirai (1982), later reprising his role in the Hindi version, Sadma (1983). In both movies, his heroine was Sridevi.

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    Swathi Muthyam was his first and only Telugu movie till date which was submitted to the Oscars in 1986. Kamal Haasan played the role of an autistic person attempting to change society.

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    This was followed by Punnagai Mannan (1986), in which he played a double role and Vetri Vizha (1989), in which he played the role of a man suffering from amnesia. In 1987, Mr Haasan appeared in Mani Ratnam's Nayagan, a film in which he played the role of an underworld don in Mumbai. His portrayal evoked mass sympathy for the struggle of South Indians living in Mumbai. He received a National Award for his performance in the film, which was India's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1987.

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    In 1990, Michael Madhana's Kama Rajan saw Kamal Haasan go one step further, acting in four different roles as quadruplets. The film started an ongoing collaboration for comedy films between Guna (1991) and in Thevar Magan (1992), where he played the son of actor Sivaji Ganesan.

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    In 1996, Haasan starred in the police story, Kuruthipunal. His success in Kuruthipunal was followed by his third National Film Award for Best Actor in Indian. Playing dual roles of a freedom fighter and his corrupt son, the film also won Haasan regional awards and plaudits for his portrayal.

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    He appeared as a woman in Avvai Shanmugh (1996) inspired by the Hollywood production, . He soon made his debut as director with a remake of Avvai Shanmughi in Hindi titled Chachi 420 (1997).

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    Following a two-year break, Kamal Haasan directed his second film, Hey Ram, a period drama told in flashback with a semi-fictional plot centered around India's partition and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He also took on roles as writer, lyricist and choreographer as well as produced the film under his home banner.

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    His next film was Aalavandhan (2001), where he portrayed two distinct roles, for one of which he had his head tonsured and gained as many as 10-kg. Despite much publicity prior to release, the film failed commercially.

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    Kamal Haasan's next film was his controversial Tamil-Hindi bilingual spy-thriller Vishwaroopam (2013), released in Hindi as Vishwaroop. The movie released after facing a lot of setbacks but reportedly minted over Rs 100 crore at the box-office. It also won two National Film Awards.

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    In 1978, at the age of 24, Kamal Haasan met and married danseuse Vani Ganapathy. Vani designed the costumes for her husband's films.

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    In 1990, Kamal Haasan received the Padma Shri from the Government of India. In April 2014, the actor was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan award.

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    Last year, the sequel to Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam - Vishwaroopam II - opened in theatres to mixed reviews in August. In the same year, Kamal also officially launched his political party - Makkal Needhi Maiam. Kamal Haasan's Indian 2 is slated to release in 2021. His lined-up films also include Thalaivan Irukkiran.

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    We wish Kamal Haasan a very happy and joyous year ahead!

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