Seldom would you come across a film personality like Kamal Haasan! Just like Mr. Bachchan, one can rightfully say that a talent like Kamal Haasan also comes once in a light year. He is not only an actor but a cinema visionary who has forayed into singing, direction, lyrics, screenwriter, producer, TV presenter, and choreographer. In all his ventures he has been a successful name. This year he turns 64 and Indian cinema has been blooming with his presence for the last 60 years. On his birthday, let’s rewind and see seven of his best performances although it would be very difficult to mark only seven.
There would be many movies where his acting would cross this level and many other movies where his acting would be below this level – but nothing can match the charm of Somu. The last scene where he struggles to remind Reshmi of his existence in her life through that monkey dance still gives goosebumps. No other actor perhaps could have done this role better than Kamal Haasan. How a disease like retrograde amnesia can build a platonic relationship and how memory regains can kill that relationship – this movie is all about that. When Reshmi had retrograde amnesia and was unable to recognize her parents it was Somu who took care of her. He brought her from the dirty world of a brothel to his home and shared every bit of his life with her and raised her like a child. And sadly when Reshmi got her memory back she was unable to recognize Somu.
Not only Kamal Haasan but this movie is also one of the career-best of Mani Ratnam. This movie entered the list of “All-Time 100 Best Films” in 2005 conducted by TIME magazine. CNN-IBN included it in “100 greatest Indian films of all time” while NDTV marked it in the list of “India’s 20 greatest films”. Of course, Mr. Haasan won his 2nd National Film Award for this movie. It deals with the story of Varadarajan Mudaliar – a don of Bombay Underworld. This movie also throws light on the condition of South Indians living in Bombay. It is one of those movies of Kamal Haasan that is artistic in its approach and display but commercial in treatment.
This is a personal favorite movie and only a hungry actor like Kamal Hasaan could have done it. It is a movie made in 1987 but in silent mode – that was the beauty of this movie. When there are no dialogues – you tend to think more and focus more on the artistic excellence of the actors and shots. This is what this movie achieved and it has a cult fan following. How amazingly Haasan captured the essence of a common unemployed man who roams all through the day to get a job. This black comedy is worth a watch if you want to see the caliber of this actor.
This movie shows an ex-freedom fighter who turns into a vigilante who wants to root out corruption while his son is at the opposite end who is simplifying corrupt practices leading to some unfortunate events. This is one of the best patriotic movies where you see Kamal Haasan shine in every frame.
Chachi 420 (1997):
The filmography of this man is so extravagant that it is hard to mention only a few movies. This light-hearted movie saw an unrecognizable Kamal Haasan in the avatar of Chachi. Back in 1997 – that kind of prosthetics was a milestone. The antics of Chachi won the hearts of kids the most and the adults loved the vulnerability of Jaiprakash. It is a classic movie where the audience got one of the best acting stints and direction from Kamal Haasan.
Hey Ram (2000):
This is one of my most favorite movies that was written, directed, and produced by Kamal Haasan. It shows the partition time in India and Mahatma Gandhi’s death. This movie was made very sensitively and made us all feel the pain and loss during the partition. The protagonist of the movie goes from a journey of hating religion to loving it. Now that template is presented in the current scenario which is coated with religious extremism. The brutality of Babri Masjid destruction was also mentioned and you will end up feeling good, bad, and weird all.
One of the finest performances of Kamal Haasan – Dasavathaaram saw 10 different versions of this stellar actor. The story of the movie involves the lives of various individuals from the 12th century to the 21st century. The protagonist is a research scientist who develops a bio-weapon and protects it so that it doesn’t get into the hands of terrorists. As this movie captures a vast timeline – many socio-political features also crop up making it an awesome view.
Some Other Facts To Know About Kamal Haasan:
- Till now Kamal Haasan has been nominated 94 times at various awards out of which he won 81 times.
- Seven of Kamal Haasan’s movies have been sent by India as an official entry to the Oscars – it is the highest score by any actor.
- Kamal Haasan is the winner of 17 Filmfare Awards South – the highest by any actor.
- He is the winner of 3 National Film Awards which is the second-highest after 4 wins of Amitabh Bachchan.
- You will be amazed to know that even the Income Tax Department of India has also awarded him an honorary award for being a shining example of good citizenship by paying taxes his taxes regularly.