Utpal Borpujari

July 8, 2010

Haasan retro in Delhi sets IFFI anomaly right

By Utpal Borpujari

Superstar Kamal Haasan, who had refused to have a retrospective at the last International Film Festival of India (IFFI) because only three of his films were being shown there, has now been honoured with a special retrospective of seven films celebrating his 50 years in the industry.

The three-day retrospective kicked off at the Siri Fort Auditorium in the capital Friday evening in the presence of Haasan and Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, the occasion used by the former to announce his plans to direct more films in the near future.

While the last IFFI in Goa had restrospectives of Saumitra Chatterjee, Asha Parekh and Sharmila Tagore, all of whom had completed 50 years in cinema, Haasan had declined to have a retrospective since it would have just three of his films.

Both Haasan and the government, however, had valid arguments on the issue, which is why both sides had agreed to have a separate retrospective of the star incoporating seven films, a number insisted upon by Haasan.

While Haasan had argued that three films would not justify his wide repertoire, which includes films in all the four South Indian languages as well as Hindi, apart from his directorial ventures, the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), the organisers of IFFI, had expressed its inability to screen more than three films because of the tight schedule of the festival.

Immediately thereafter, Soni had announced that there would be a separate retrospective of the star in Delhi later.

Haasan, who flew in from Italy where he is shooting for his latest film, was at his gracious best at the inauguration of the retrospective with his film Hey Ram!, and said he hoped that the next decade would be the best years of his career as he was writing screenplays and planning to direct more films.

“I am not the one to languish about what has been done. I am looking forward to the next 10 years which I hope will be the best years of my career,” said the star who had started his acting career as a five year old in 1959 with the Tamil film Kalathoor Kannamma.

The retrospective comprises, apart from Hey Ram!, Anbe Sivam, Virumandi, Thevar Magan, Sagara Sangamam, Dasavatharam and Nayagan.

Giving a peek into his plans, Haasan said, “I will direct more films. I have done Hey Ram and Virumandi and there will be more… There are so many actors, people and talents, who haven’t got their moment of glory and if possible I would like to help all of them,” he added.

“This journey seems very short. I owe a lot to my supportive family and my gurus, who taught me what I am today. Especially, two of my gurus paid me to learn from them. I am made up of all those blocks they put in. It’s not humility. I have a talent of my own but I owe it up to them,” Haasan said a bit philosophically.

Soni, felicitating Haasan, described him as a pan-India phenomenon and said, “Haasan as an artist over a period of time has balanced cinema with realism. His portrayal of different characters created a pan India phenomenon, breaking the barriers of age groups, language and commercial interest. Some of his portrayals have left a deep imprint across all generations,” she said. 

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 04-07-2010)



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