Kamal Haasan's political ambitions are reflected in veteran actor's film choices

Gautam Chintamani

Nov,07 2017 17:42 44 IST

It was in 2009 that Kamal Haasan said politics — like marriage — involved the art of compromise, and the reason he was not in it was because he couldn’t compromise that much. With him all set to take the plunge into Tamil Nadu's political fray, however, is it politics that has changed, or has the veteran actor understood the degree he can compromise?

As Haasan turns 63 on 7 November 2017, the buzz surrounding his foray into full-time politics is only bound to increase. The actor has announced the launch of a personal app that he sees as first step in his political journey. Speaking at the 39th anniversary of his welfare association (Kamal Haasan Narpani Iyakkam), the actor said that he takes a minimum of three months to prep for any role and is in no hurry to launch his own political party. He believes that the app will help him connect better with people and also that people would contribute funds generously for his welfare activities, and eventually his political party as well.

Kamal Haasan in the poster for Vishwaroopam 2

Kamal Haasan in the poster for Vishwaroopam 2

On the cusp of a momentous move, Haasan is doing what many of his predecessors did before jumping into politics. Like MG Ramachandran and NT Rama Rao, Kamal Haasan has also announced a flurry of films that would portray him as the saviour of the aam aadmi. Haasan’s upcoming films include the spy comedy-adventure Sabaash Naidu (Shabhash Kundu in Hindi), Vishwaroopam 2 and the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster Indian (Hindustani in Hindi) — all films where he portrays someone who will free the common man from all troubles and save not only the day but also India and even the world.

In Sabaash Naidu, Haasan reprises the role of the RAW officer, Balram Naidu, that he played in Dasavathaaram (2008). Similarly in Vishwaroopam II, which is slated to release in November 2017, Haasan is reprising the multiple avatars of Agent Major Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri/Vishwanathan/Viz, who saves the US from the machinations of the deadly terrorist Omar Qureshi (Rahul Bose). While Sabaash Naidu takes place in Los Angeles (that is where a major portion of the film was shot), Vishwaroopam II is set in India.

Both Sabaash Naidu and the Vishwaroopam sequel were in the pipeline before Haasan came out in the open about his political plans, but the news of the Indian sequel appears too clinical to be a coincidence. The crusader image that Haasan seems to be cultivating in his real life today seems to be an apt opportunity to reprise the character he played in the original Indian 20 years ago, and perhaps expectedly, he will play a somewhat similar character when he is on the precipice of public life.

In Indian, Senapathy (Haasan), an ex-freedom fighter who also served in Netaji Bose’s Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj turns into a vigilante following the death of his daughter. Senapathy calls himself ‘Indian’ and instills fear in the hearts and minds of the corrupt; people use his name to set the morally corrupt right and cheer him on to deliver justice that is beamed live on television. The dedicated Senapathy does not spare his own son, Chandru (Haasan in a double role), a corrupt middleman who issues a certificate to a faulty bus that results in the death of school children and when it comes to a showdown, the father kills the son.

Rather than create a new character that would help people by standing up for the ‘right’ thing irrespective of the situation or place, it’s easier for Haasan to rekindle both the brand as well as the magic of Indian. Intriguingly, Rajinikanth, who is also expected to announce his official entry into politics, is said to be portraying the character of a benevolent don who lives among the people, in Kaala. Both Kaala and Indian 2 are slated to release next year and would hope to convey to the common person that their ‘heroes’ are there for them. Moreover, the manner in which Indian ended — believed to be dead in an explosion, Senapathy has escaped to Hong Kong and calls the cop Krishnaswamy (Nedumudi Venu) to tell him to telecast the CCTV footage of him surviving to tell the corrupt that ‘Indian’ is watching them — is the perfect plot point to begin the sequel with the return of ‘Indian.’

Kamal Haasan’s recent flip-flops such as apologising for initially supporting demonetisation, his stance from ‘Given the current political scenario in Tamil Nadu, I would say no one should enter politics’ to stating ‘this is the right time for me to come into active politics’ in a matter of five months, meeting politicians ranging from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to Kerala's Pinarayi Vijayan (whom he also called a ‘long-time friend’), or making statements like saffron not being his colour or on ‘Hindu terror’ make it more than apparent that the superstar is busy gauging the mood before going all out.

Published Date: Nov 07, 2017 17:42 PM | Updated Date: Nov 07, 2017 17:42 PM