Kamal Haasan turns 65: From Sadma to Vishwaroopam to Nayakan, here are ten of his most iconic roles
On Kamal Haasan's 65th birthday, a look at some of his best performances in the Indian film industry.
One of the most versatile actors of the Indian film industry, Kamal Haasan, turns 65 today on 7 November. Haasan, who made his big screen debut as a child artiste, is a multifaceted personality, and has dabbled in multiple industries, including Bollywood. Apart from being a talented actor, Haasan is a successful screenwriter, director, and producer. As he turns a year older, we revisit some of his brilliant performances, in no particular order.
Directed by Balu Mahendra, Sadma is a Hindi remake of Moondram Pirai. This poignant tale is of a good-hearted young man who decides to nurture and take care of a mentally challenged stranger (played by late Sridevi) whom he met under bizarre circumstances. While the world often remembers the master performance of Sridevi in Sadma, the film belonged to the silences of Haasan as much as it did to her.
Helmed by S Shankar, Indian is a cult classic film, and one of the most regarded movies in the industry. Starring Haasan as a vigilante and in a double role, the flick garnered praise from all quarters for its plotline, and especially for Kamal's ability to easily mould himself. Indian was selected as the country's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1996.
Chachi 420/ Avvai Shanmugi
For every '90s kid, Chachi 420/Avvai Shanmugi must be Haasan's most remarkable role. Apart from directing, producing, and co-writing the film, the actor managed to play the titular character with a lot of beauty and grace. The synopsis of the film read, "In order to spend more time with his little girl, a divorcee disguises himself as an old lady, and gets a job as his own daughter's caretaker."
Vishwaroopam saw Haasan don multiple hats of producer, writer, director, and actor for the film. The actor had dual roles in the film, which were completely poles apart. While on one hand, he played a classical dance teacher with love for cooking, he also essayed the character of an undercover RAW agent who fights crime and terrorism.
Though it tanked at box office, Anbe Sivam is considered one of Haasan's finest performances of his career. A brilliant film written by Haasan, Anbe Sivam tells the story of two conflicting personalities who embark on a journey to discover the meaning of life. In an extremely layered and subtle manner, the film touches upon the subjects of humanism, communism, and altruism.
Directed by Mani Ratnam, Nayakan was a career-defining film for Hassan. The film charts the journey of a common man's struggles against a corrupt police force put him on the wrong side of the law. He eventually becomes a gangster, however his growing power and influence exact a heavy toll. According to Hindustan Times, in 1997, the Time Magazine listed Nayakan as one of the Top 100 Best Films of all time.
Directed by Santhana Bharathi, Mahanadi is a gripping and heart-wrenching drama about an honest man who is embroiled into a chit fund business and imprisoned. While he struggles with inner turmoil, it is revealed that his family is undergoing their own hardships. Haasan, who also wrote the story and the screenplay for the film, went on to win the National Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.
Released in 1987, Pushpak was a silent black comedy film but a masterpiece nonetheless. Haasan plays an unemployed youngster who finds a chance to taste the life of luxury, even if it means kidnapping and imitating a rich man.
Directed by Haasan himself, Virumandi narrates an intriguing story of a heinous crime from two different perspectives of two warring village-lords, serving a jail term.
One of his most acclaimed films, Dasavathaaram saw Haasan play ten different roles quite effortlessly. From the former US president George Bush to an ex-CIA agent, Haasan left everyone stunned with his unrecognisable prosthetic makeup.
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