Monday, October 18, 2010

Kamal Hassan: Self Obssessed?

Women have very strong opinions. Especially, the erudite.

Here is this lady at office, fanatically devoted to Rajinikanth, who commented that Kamal is narcissistic (not the exact words). She accused him of occupying every frame in the movies that he acts. In particular, she referred to Dasavatharam. It is very difficult to refute this statement.

But after spending a little time over this accusation of hers, I realized that Indian film industry is all about the male actor. Make no mistake, I mean the lead male actor. So what's wrong in Kamal hogging the screen, I thought? Then I began to think more and I realized that contrary to the popular opinion held by anti-Kamal group, the legend is probably the only actor of that stature to share the screen with various actors. Unlike movies of Rajini or any other actor for that matter, Kamal's movies provide ample space for his co-actors, in fact, quite often they steal the thunder.

  • Sathi Leelavathi: The movie about extra-marital affair was a super duper hit. If you remember, the lead in the movie is not even another male actor but it is Kalpana, not a typical heroine material, if I may say so. But what was path breaking was that Kamal paired with Kovai Sarala, a comedian! I remember it caused a bit of an uproar that Kamal. Can any other actor even think about it?
  • Magalir Mattum: Like the previous movie, Magalir Mattum was also his home production. The movie is about sexual harassment in office set up. Three women (Revathy, Urvashi and Rohini) gang-up against their conniving boss (played by Nasser). Kamal does make an appearance in the movie but only for a brief period and that too towards the end. It was certainly the female trio and Nasser who carry the movie through.
  • Kurudi Punnal: A remake of Govind Nihlani's Drohkaal, the movie was known for Arjun and Nasser's performance. In fact, Gowthami is still remembered for a particular scene where she persuades a naxal to not harass Arjun's daughter by 'offering herself'. Was numbed. Kamal, if you think about it, took a rather weaker role for himself. A character that compromises.
  • Tenali: This movie is remembered as much for Kamal's Sri Lankan Tamil as for Jairam who plays the role of a hassled doctor.
  • Anbey Sivam: This is certainly a Kamal movie but honestly I think there was enough meat from Nasser and Madhavan. 
  • Virumandi has Pasupathi and Abhirami dazzle. Madhavan is the lead in Kamal's home production - Nala Damayanthi. And this is not a recent phenomenon. Ages ago, Sathyaraj was the protagonist in Kadamai Kanniyam Kattupadu, a Rajkamal productions.
And those listed above is not the comprehensive list of movies where Kamal shared the screen equally with other actors, big or small. Further, women always have a great opportunity to perform in his movies. If you would remember Revathy in Devar Magan.

I believe that Kamal has a penchant for talent. He has always promoted those who have potential. I think he is a strong believer in casting for the role.

During schoold days, my friend Manoj made a comment that hurt me quite a bit. He said that women who act in Kamal's movies have a shorter life span on the screen, meaning they flop after that. For a long time, I believed it. But now I realize that there is a strong reason for it. Most heroes have female leads who are rather young and novice in the field of acting. They are chosen for the glamour quotient. On the other hand, Kamal's heroines are high up in their learning curve. High on acting prowess and less on baby doll quotient. Manoj, what do you have to say now? :)


Ramya said...

really nice, recent one that comes to mind is unnaipol oruvan with a big role for Mohanlal, even manmadhu ambu (in production) seems very similar to sathileelavathi

Anonymous said...

Well written! If only people learn not to take up hasty generalizations when talking about a movie genius like Kamalhaasan.... sigh!!

vEnKy said...

Nice write up. Kamal is such a genius it makes others almost invisible on screen when he acts. I am a great fan of Kamal, in fact my whole family.

The Restless Quill said...

Plus he's ridiculously sexy. And hugely versatile. His talent is truly phenomenal. I dont understand what your colleague said about Kamal hogging space in his movies -- how is Rajni any different?
Gowthami's performance in KP -- mind-numbing you said? I thought she was pretty good!

Hari said...

Idiots always crib on the following lines about Kamal sir

1. He doesn't give space to other actors

My response: Bitch please!!

2. He is narcissistic. In Dasavatharam, he should have also played tea shop owner, security guy, street dog and all other possible roles

My response: Setha moodurela!! The movie was clearly advertised as Kamal playing 10 roles. Just coz you didn't find anything else to criticize, you take such immature routes.