64 Years of Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan
A President’s Medal for his first on screen performance at the age of four, marked Dr Kamal Haasan’s arrival as a child prodigy and from then on, he has had a remarkable and distinguished career spanning over 64 years with over 232 films in six Indian languages.Dr Kamal Haasan is a pan-Indian actor in the true sense. Not just in Tamil, but he rules the roost in other languages as well. Long before he became the heartthrob of Tamil cinema, Dr Haasan earned his stardom in the Malayalam film industry where he went on to star in over 40 films. He was equally successful in the Hindi and Telugu cinemas as well. His ‘Maro Charitra’, ‘Sagara Sangamam’ and ‘Swati Mutyam’ in Telugu shot him to superstardom and he went on to become a prominent name in Bollywood after the success of films like ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’, Sadma and Saagar. He has acted in Kannada and Bengali films as well.
Accolades ranging from Padma Bhushan, four National Awards, 19 Filmfare Awards, Chevalier award from the French Government to other innumerable and varied honors stand testament to his achievements. Other honors include Tamil Nadu State Film awards, Nandi Screen awards and Vijay awards. Dr Kamal Haasan started his own production company Raaj Kamal Films International and his 100th film as Actor, ‘Raaja Paarvai’ was RKFIs maiden production. Since then, Dr Haasan has produced and directed several films that won both critical and commercial acclaim. He won a National Award for producing the film ‘Thevar Magan’, which was also India’s official entry to Oscars in 1992. His directorial venture ‘Hey Ram’, also produced under his banner, became India’s official entry to the Oscars in 2000. Dr Kamal Haasan is the only actor to have the highest number of Academy Award submissions in Indian cinema. Between 1985 and 1987, three of his films were submitted to the Oscars. The latest film by him Vikram, which was released in theatres on June 3, 2023, surpassed all expectations and became the highest- grossing film across nation. In addition, he has a thrilling roster of upcoming projects on the horizon which includes Indian2, KH233, KH234 and Project K.
Dr Kamal Haasan has carved a niche for himself and the Indian Film Industry which in-turn has given him a unique standing among his contemporaries. Notably, Dr. Kamal Haasan has been an innovator in Indian cinema, introducing various new technologies that have pushed the boundaries of the industry. From utilizing computers to record songs in “Vikram” to implementing screenplay writing software in “Thevar Magan,” and from introducing Dolby Stereo surround SR technology in “Kuruthipunal” to pioneering live sound recording and the Neuendo machine in “Virumaandi,” Haasan has consistently pushed the boundaries of technical excellence. Furthermore, he embraced the digital format in “Mumbai Express” and utilized the cutting-edge Auro 3D sound technology in “Vishwaroopam,” elevating the immersive experience for audiences. These advancements not only enhanced the technical aspects of filmmaking but also revolutionized storytelling in Indian cinema.
His transformative use of makeup and prosthetics has redefined realism, enabling him to portray characters with authenticity and depth. For instance, in the movie ‘Dasaavathaaram,’ he astounded audiences by portraying an impressive ten different roles, showcasing his versatility and acting prowess. Throughout his career, Dr. Kamal Haasan has consistently demonstrated dedication to pushing the boundaries of conventional norms and fearlessly delving into unconventional characters.
Extending his realm beyond commercial entertainment, he has always had an undercurrent of social concern, which echoed in the characters he portrayed on screen. From education to health, from poverty to rewilding he has managed to garnish his commercial scripts with a sprinkle of social spices. That wasn’t enough for this man who was always ahead of his times. So, he decided to elevate those fans who adored him, by dissolving fan clubs and rebuilding them as welfare hubs (Narpani Iyakkam). He, thus, became the first actor to involve his fans in social welfare activities, which included blood donations and organ donations. Dr Haasan went a step further and launched his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam in February 2018 to address the need to be at the ‘Centre’ of action to bring about the much-needed change in the society. Makkal Needhi Maiam is the only centrist party in Asia.