Happy Birthday Kamal Haasan. Vishwaroopam @62

November 07, 2016 10:20
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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 62 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 (1974).

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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 Raagangal, 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).

    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.

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    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. The film was dubbed in Hindi (as Velu Nayakan) and Telugu (as Nayakudu) and was also included in the TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies list.

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    In 1987, he appeared in his only silent film - the black comedy, Pushpak. In 1989, he played a triple role in Apoorva Sagodharargal. One of the roles was that of a dwarf. He then attempted dual roles in the Telugu film Indrudu Chandrudu and its Tamil remake.

    Kamal Haasan won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Telugu) in 1989.

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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 Mr Haasan and Crazy Mohan, an actor and dialogue writer. Mr Haasan won successive best actor awards for his portrayal of the protagonist in 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 Shanmughi (1996) inspired by the Hollywood production, Mrs Doubtfire. 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.

    The film also featured actors Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji, and was India's submission for the Academy Awards in 2000.

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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.
    Kamal Haasan opted to repay distributors who had suffered losses due to the film.

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    Following a series of successful comedies in 2002 - Thenali, Panchathantiram and Pammal K Sambandam and a couple of guest appearances, Mr Haasan directed his third feature film in Virumandi (2004), a film about the death penalty.

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    In 2008, Kamal Haasan appeared in K S Ravikumar's Dasavathaaram, one of the most expensive Indian films ever made, portraying 10 distinct roles. Dasavathaaram became the second highest grossing film ever in the history of Tamil cinema and won Mr Haasan critical praise. He was also the story and screenwriter for the project.

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    In 2009, Kamal Haasan produced and starred in Unnaipol Oruvan, a remake of the Bollywood film A Wednesday. The movie was a box office success and received positive reviews from the audience and critics alike. This was followed by KS Ravikumar's romantic comedy Manmadan Ambu in 2010. The movie, which featured Kamal Haasan, R Madhavan and Trisha Krishnan in the lead roles, did average business at the box office.

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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 (Best Production Design and Best Choreography) at the 60th National Film Awards. The sequel is set for 2015 release and Kamal Haasan will reprise his role of Major Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri.

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    Kamal Haasan is considered a veritable one-man industry. He has written several of his films including Kamarajan, Thevar Magan, Mahanadhi, Hey Ram, Aalavandhan, Anbe Sivam and Vishwaroopam. He has also directed films such as Chachi 420, Hey Ram, Virumaandi and Vishwaroopam and produced several others. He has sung in over 50 films in his career and has danced and choreographed as well.

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    Kamal Haasan's Uttama Villain and Papanasam are the two of his successful ventures of 2015. Uttama Villain is a Tamil comedy movie in which he plays superstar Manoranjan. Papanasam sees him portraying the character of a hardworking cable operator and a complete family man.

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    Kamal Haasan's crime-thriller Thoongaa Vanam, is a movie for which shooting was completed within 60 days. The film was extremely critically acclaimed.

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    Kamal Haasan will next be seen in the quirky Sabaash Naidu, which he is currently shooting for. Vishwaroopam 2 is the bilingual sequel of the 2013 film and is currently in post-production.

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

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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.

    Kamal Haasan and Vani Ganapathy divorced after 10 years and actress Sarika was blamed for the break up. Subsequently, Kamal Haasan and Sarika married in 1988. The duo has two children - Shruti (born 1986) and Akshara (born 1991). Sarika and Kamal Haasan divorced in 2002.

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    Shruti is a singer and actress and have starred in films like Ramaiya Vastaviya, Luck, Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji and most recently, Rocky Handsome. Akshara made her Bollywood debut in R Balki's Shamitabh co-starring Amitabh Bachchan and Tamil superstar Dhanush.

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    Recently, Mr Haasan made headlines when actress and partner Gouthami Tadimalla, who co-starred with him in several films between the late 1980s and the early 1990s, and recently Papanasam wrote on her blog that the two had split ways.

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

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