Utpal Borpujari

April 27, 2009

Kamal Haasan ready to pick up directorial baton again

By Utpal Borpujari

 

After the stupendous success of his Tamil Dasavatharam – which had its Hindi dubbed version released recently – superstar and multi-talented actor Kamal Haasan is now returning to directorial ways after a gap of five years. Virumandi (2004) was the last time he had wielded the megaphone, but Haasan now is aiming to return as a director to the all-India arena again, having decided to make a film in Hindi and Tamil, a la Hey Ram (2000) and Chachi 420 (1998).

 

And going by his track record, his new film, in which he says he will use a “national cast”, this one too can be expected to be interesting cinema with a subject that will be quite different from his earlier ventures, as Hey Ram was from Chachi 420. With the script just given shape, Haasan understandably has kept things under wraps. All he is ready to give a little peek into what he plans to do. “This film will be quasi political but not icon bashing,” he says. Quasi political? He explains, “It’s about the truth, generally about the state of affairs we are in. But it is not about politics. It is about everything that surround us. We have just completed the script, and it is quite exciting.”

 

For millions of his fans, the good news is that he will also be acting in it. “We will have a national cast in the film. I am looking for actors from Mumbai, Chennai, Bengal…we are looking at good actors from all over, it will be a multi star cast film,” he says, refusing to divulge who are the actors he has in mind.

 

Meanwhile, his dream magnum opus Marudhanayagam is still in the cold storage, though Haasan confidently assures one that it will get made soon. “Yes, we will be doing it, but as things have changed technologically, I think it will take some more time,” he says. The huge canvas, he admits, is delaying the project. “It will be in Tamil, French and English. It’s my life’s biggest project. I don’t know when it will be launched – it will be when we find the money,” he says, terming it as a “quasi ready” project. “French writer Jean Claude Carriere has worked on it. It’s got everything going for it.”

 

And though he is exploring co-production avenues for the film, he is quick to point out that “It is not only about money. We will have to have people who can take it to the right kind of platform. Even Slumdog Millionaire would have been downgraded as a video film if it had not got the right backers – in fact, it almost was. Marudhanayagam needs the right people who believe in it to take it all the way”. In today’s scheme of things, the project, he says, will cost at least Rs 120 crore, that too with “our kind of economizing we do in Chennai”.

 

Haasan is extremely satisfied with what Dashavatharam achieved. “This is the most successful film of my career in terms of money. And creatively also, it has been very satisfying,” he says.

 

The actor-director-producer, meanwhile, has another mission in mind – that is to create a space for exploring commercial avenues for short films and documentaries. “As a matter of fact, I am trying to propagate the idea of making short films popular among the masses. People should get interested in short films and documentaries. It will be good for cinema itself. There are many films made in the West, which people go and watch like regular feature films, and it’s a dramatization of what you see on news. Some fantastic revelations and whistle blowing have happened through such cinema. I want to get involved as a filmmaker, as a producer, whatever, in it. Since I cannot do certain things because of my status as a known film personality, somebody else can do it. If you ask me, what they did with Tehelka could be a good material for such films,” he says.

 

As he prepares for his directorial venture, he is producing the Tamil and Telugu versions of critically-acclaimed A Wednesday, whose remaking rights he has bought just as he had done with Goving Nihalani’s Drohkaal. “My whole idea is to see the script and then the filmmaker – whether he or she would be able to realise it. Many great ideas have gone down because of poor making, I don’t know how many I ruined in the beginning of my career. It does not matter that I work with a first-time filmmaker, like I am doing in case of the A Wednesday remake being directed by Chakravarthy,” he says.

 

A restless creative soul that he is, Haasan has also put his mind in remaking in Tamil one English independent film about which he refuses to speak. “What I can tell you is that I am also planning to remake a Spanish film whose name in English in rough translation would be Fugitives of Time,” he divulges. And then shares his view on remakes, “I want such exchange of  ideas. It gives you a lot of prefabricated homework, but it has to be done after taking the rights, not through plagiarizing or getting ‘inspired’, as they call it.”

 
And yes, talking of remakes, Haasan has in mind to remake in Hindi his classic Telugu superhit Sagarasangamam. “Yes, I want to remake it in Hindi and want to act it that same role. Let’s see…” he says, trailing of tantalizingly, just like an expert storyteller.

 

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 19-04-2009)

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Apr192009/enter20090418130988.asp

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