Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan
கமல் ஹாசன்

Kamal Haasan at an event organised by FICCI
Born Kamal Haasan
7 November 1954 (1954-11-07) (age 57)
Paramakudi, Madras State, India
Residence Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Film actor, producer, director, screenwriter, songwriter, playback singer, lyricist
Years active 1959–present
Spouse Vani Ganapathy
Sarika Haasan
Partner Gouthami Tadimalla
Children Shruti Haasan (born 1986)
Akshara Haasan (born 1991)

Kamal Haasan (Tamil: கமல் ஹாசன்; born 7 November 1954) is an Indian film actor, screenwriter and director, considered to be one of the leading method actors of Indian cinema.[1][2] He is widely acclaimed as an actor and is well known for his versatility in acting.[3][4][5] Kamal Haasan has won several Indian film awards, including four National Film Awards and numerous Filmfare Awards, and is known for having starred in the largest number of films submitted by India in contest for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[6] In addition to acting, screenwriting and directing, he has also featured in films as a songwriter, playback singer and choreographer.[7] His film production company, Rajkamal International, has produced several of his films. In 1990, he was awarded the Padma Shri for his contributions to Indian cinema.[8] Kamal Haasan is also a recipient of an Honorary doctorate by Sathyabama University.[9] In 2009, he became one of very few Indian actors to have completed 50 years in cinema.[10]

After several projects as a child artist, Kamal Haasan's breakthrough into lead acting came with his role in the 1975 drama Apoorva Raagangal, in which he played a rebellious youth in love with an older woman. He secured his second Indian National Film Award for his portrayal of a guileless school teacher who tends a child-like amnesiac in 1982's Moondram Pirai. He was particularly noted for his performance in Mani Ratnam's Godfatheresque Tamil film Nayagan (1987), which was ranked by Time magazine as one of the best films of all time.[11] Since then he has gone on to appear in other notable films such as his own productions, Hey Ram and Virumaandi, as well as the Dasavathaaram, in which he appeared in ten distinct roles.



Debut as child artiste: 1959–1963

After shifting from Paramakudi with his family for his mother's medical treatment, Kamal Haasan was enrolled at Holy Angels school in T. Nagar. As a child, he became interested in dance.[12] There are two versions regarding his entry into films. One version has it that, as a little boy, he accompanied a doctor who went to treat an ill woman at the home of movie mogul A V Meyyappa Chettiar (father of AVM Saravanan). On hearing loud shouting from a first-floor tenant of the bungalow, the doctor became uneasy. Young Kamal Haasan strode up the stairway to ask the noisemaker not to shout over the phone as someone was ill, leaving the person astonished. An impressed Meyyappa Chettiar later provided him an entry into films.[13] The other version is that when young boy Kamal Haasan accompanied a family doctor of Meyyappa Chettiar to his house, producer AVM Saravanan noticed Kamal as a hyperactive child. She took him over and introduced to AV Meyyappa Chettiar who was looking for a young boy to play a role in the movie Kalathur Kannamma.[14]

Kamal Haasan made his film debut as a four-year-old child artist in Kalathur Kannamma, which was directed by A. Bhimsingh and released on 12 August 1959. He was cast along with the veteran Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan, winning the National Film Award for Best Child Artist.[15] He acted as a child actor in five other Tamil films in the subsequent few years co-starring with Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran. On seeing Kamal's interests in arts, his parents supported and helped him join the TKS Nataka Sabha, an old-style theatre. T. K. Shanmugam was Kamal's guru in the theatre. During this period, he continued with his school education at Hindu High School in Triplicane while still being a prominent part of the theatre troupe. He learned acting by watching his guru Shanmugam perform on stage and acquired his interest in make-up from Shanmugam.[12][16]

Breakthrough and experimentation: 1970–75

Following a seven-year hiatus from films, Haasan returned to the industry with the hope of joining the technical crew in films but was selected to appear in supporting roles in several films. He re-entered the film industry playing his first adult role in Maanavan (1970), appearing only for a dance sequence. It was followed by supporting roles in films such as, Annai Velankani for which he was also an assistant director. His first notable role was in K. Balachander's Arangetram (1973). He played antagonistic characters in Sollathaan Ninaikkiren and Gumasthavin Magal, both co-starring Sivakumar. His first character role was in Aval Oru Thodar Kathai (1974), another female-centric film of K. Balachander. After a few more films in Tamil, he did Naan Avan Illai, which was the final supporting role before establishing himself as a lead actor.

He won his first regional Filmfare Award in his Malayalam debut film Kanyakumari (1974), in which he played the lead role.[17] Soon he graduated to play lead roles. However, his first major break as a lead actor came in Apoorva Raagangal, for which he also won his first Filmfare award in Tamil.[18] The film dealt with the exploration of age-gap relationships and went on to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil. For his role, he learned the mridangam. It is considered as one of the all-time classics of Tamil cinema and was directed by his mentor, K. Balachander. The film also saw the entry of Rajnikanth, who would play prominent roles in several films of Haasan and later went on to become one of the most successful actors in the Tamil film industry.

Success in the south: 1976–1980

The late 1970s was a period that saw Haasan's continued collaboration with K. Balachander, who cast him in many of his social-themed films. In 1976, Balachander cast him as a womaniser trying to woo many women in Manmadha Leelai which was followed by Oru Oodhappu Kan Simittugiradhu, which won him his second consecutive Regional Filmfare (Tamil) Best Actor Award. Later, Kamal Haasan appeared in the drama Moondru Mudichu with Rajinikanth and Sridevi, another Balachander film. Avargal (1977) was one of the most sensitive movies on woman liberation, for which he learnt the art of ventriloquism.[19] The film was also remade in Telugu as Idi Katha Kaadu (1979) with Haasan repeating his role. 16 Vayathinile won him his third consecutive best actor award, where he appeared as a village bumpkin, along with Rajinikanth and Sridevi. In 1977, he starred in his first Kannada film, Kokila, which was the directorial debut of another friend and mentor, Balu Mahendra. The same year, he acted in a Bengali film, Kabita. In 1978, he debuted in the Telugu film industry as a lead actor with the cross-cultural romantic film, Maro Charithra directed by K. Balachander. The film was regarded a cult-classic and was also Haasan's first major hit. His fourth consecutive Filmfare award came with Sigappu Rojakkal, an anti-hero thriller in which he played a psychopathic sexual killer.

Few of the other famous films in this period were the Telugu film Sommokadidhi Sokkadidhi, where he played dual roles, the musical entertainer Ninaithale Inikkum, the snake horror film Neeya and Kalyanaraman.

At the end of this period, he had won six regional Best Actor Filmfare Awards, including four consecutive Best Tamil Actor Awards and became a famous actor in South India by having starred in all languages.

Bollywood foray: 1980s

Kamal Haasan's pairing with the actress Sridevi continued with Tamil classic Varumayin Niram Sigappu in 1980, where he played an unemployed youth. Kamal Haasan also made a guest–cameo appearance in the Rajnikanth's Thillu Mullu. He made his Bollywood debut with Ek Duuje Ke Liye, the remake of his Telugu-language film, Maro Charithra, also by K. Balachander which earned him his first Filmfare nomination. He made his 100th film appearance in 1981 with Raja Paarvai, which also marked his debut in film production. Despite this film's relatively poor reception at the cinemas, his portrayal of a blind session violinist earned him a Filmfare Award.[20] Following a year of starring in commercially-oriented films, he won his first of three National Awards for Best Actor with his portrayal of a school teacher who looks after an amnesia patient in Balu Mahendra's Moondram Pirai, alter reprising the role in the Hindi version, Sadma.[17] During this time he concentrated more in Bollywood acting in remakes of his Tamil films, most famously Yeh To Kamaal Ho Gaya and Zara Si Zindagi. In 1983, he appeared in Sagara Sangamam, directed by Kasinadhuni Viswanath. His portrayal as a drunkard classical dancer fetched him his first Nandi Award for Best Actor and second Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Award.

After the successful multi starrer Raaj Tilak in 1984, he acted in Saagar, released in 1985, for which he was awarded both the Filmfare Best Actor Award and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Award at the same ceremony for this role. The film was India's representative for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1985.[17] Saagar portrayed him alongside Rishi Kapoor. The same year, he appeared in Geraftaar alongside Amitabh Bachchan. He featured in Tamil cinema's first sequel Japanil Kalyanaraman, which followed up his previous Kalyanaraman.

Nayagan (1987), was chosen an all-time 100 best film by TIME magazine[11]

In 1986, he again colloborated with K. Vishwanath in Swathi Muthyam which portrayed him as an autistic person attempting to change society. The film was India's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1986.[17] The enormous response to these films in Tollywood helped him capture a strong audience in Andhra Pradesh, and many of his later Tamil films were regularly dubbed in Telugu.[21]

Following Punnagai Mannan, in which he portrayed dual roles including a satire of Charlie Chaplin as Chaplin Chellappa and Vetri Vizha as an amnesiac, Kamal Haasan appeared in Mani Ratnam's 1987 film Nayagan. Nayagan portrays the life of an underworld don in Bombay. The story revolved around the life of a real-life underworld don called Varadarajan Mudaliar, while sympathetically depicting the struggle of South Indians living in Mumbai.[17] He received his third Indian National Award for his performance and Nayagan was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1987. It was included in the Time's All-TIME 100 Movies list. In 1988, Kamal Haasan appeared in his only silent film to date, Pushpak, a black comedy.[17] In 1989, he appeared in three roles (one of which was that of a dwarf) in Apoorva Sagodharargal.[17] He then performed dual roles in Indrudu Chandrudu, winning the Filmfare Best Actor Award and Nandi Awards for his performance. In 1989, Kamal Haasan starred in his last original Malayalam film as hero to date, titled Chanakyan. The multi-starrer film was critically acclaimed and was a hit.[22]

The 1980s saw the transformation of Kamal Haasan from a young heartthrob performer in Tamil films to a nationally acclaimed star appreciated for his method acting. By the end of 1980s, he had entered and tasted success in the Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi film industries, had received Filmfare awards at each industry, three national awards and had his performances recognized at international film festivals.[21][23]

Tryst with comedy: 1990s

In 1990, Michael Madhana Kamarajan saw Kamal Haasan go one step further from Apoorva Sagodharargal, acting in four different roles as quadruplets. It started an ongoing collaboration with Crazy Mohan, a dialogue writer, for future comedy films.[24] The film became a blockbuster, and his portrayals were all critically praised; one cook role formed the crux for a future venture by his production house.[25] Kamal Haasan won successive Best Actor awards for his portrayal of the deranged, obsessive protagonist in Guna and Thevar Magan, where he played the son of actor Sivaji Ganesan. Guna met with critical acclaim but failed commercially, while the latter became a big success and was remade into Hindi as Virasat. Kamal Haasan was credited for the story and became India's submission for the Academy Awards that year. After a series of films such as Singaravelan, Maharasan and Kalaignan, he played a cheated villager in the emotionally draining and underrated classic Mahanadi. Six years after it released, it was premiered at the Rotterdam festival.[26] He then began to appear in comedies such as Sathi Leelavathi, based on the English film She-Devil. The film, his home production, featured him opposite comedienne Kovai Sarala and its success led to further regional remakes. He also renewed his collobaration with Kasinadhuni Viswanath in his last Telugu-language film to date, Subha Sankalpam. In 1995, Kamal Haasan starred in the police story Kuruthipunal. His success in Kuruthipunal was followed by his third National Film Award for Best Actor, for the film Indian.[27] Playing dual roles of a freedom fighter and his untrustful son, the film also won Kamal Haasan regional awards and plaudits for his portrayal.[28] Moreover, both films were also selected as India's submissions for the Academy Awards in their respective release years.

Kamal Haasan appeared as a woman in Avvai Shanmughi, inspired by the Hollywood production Mrs. Doubtfire.[29] He initially chose noted adfilm maker Shantanu Sheorey to direct the Hindi remake of Avvai Shanmughi, titled Chachi 420.[30] But unhappy with the complaints after five days of shoot and after checking the actual result, he took over as director.[31][32] In 1997, Kamal Haasan began his first directorial venture, the biopic of Mohammed Yusuf Khan, Marudhanayagam, which failed to complete its schedules with only half an hour and a trailer being recorded during its shoot.[33] Marudhanayagam had been speculated to be the biggest and most expensive film in Indian cinema with a number of high profile actors technicians signing up for roles. Moreover, the film was launched in a highly publicized ceremony by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom during her visit to India in 1997.[34] Due to budget constraints, the film failed to materialize into a feature film, but he has since stated his interest in building up funds for the project.[35]

Hey Ram and onwards: 2000–present

Following a two-year hiatus in Indian cinema, he opted against reviving his magnum opus, Marudhanayagam, and filmed his second directorial venture, Hey Ram, a period drama told in flashback with a semi-fictional plot centering around India's Partition and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Kamal Haasan also took on roles as the writer, the lyricist and the choreographer as well as producing the film under his home banner. The film, also featured Shahrukh Khan and was India's submission for the Academy Awards that year.[36] His following film was Aalavandhan, where he portrayed two distinct roles, for one of which he had his head shaved bald and gained ten kilograms. To play the other army major in Alavandaan (Abhay, in Hindi), he went to the NDA for a crash course.[37] The Hindi version Abhay was distributed by reputed Shringar Films.[38][39] Despite much publicity prior to release, the film failed commercially, and he opted to repay distributors who had suffered losses with the film.[40]

Following a series of successful comedies[41] in Thenali, Panchathantiram and Pammal K. Sambandam and a couple of guest appearances, Kamal Haasan directed his third feature film in Virumaandi, a film about the death penalty which won the Best Asian Film award at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.[42] Kamal Haasan also appeared in Anbe Sivam alongside Madhavan. Priyadarshan, who started the film, departed allowing commercial director Sundar C to complete the film. Anbe Sivam told the story of Nallasivam, enacted by Kamal Haasan as a communist. Kamal Haasan's performance was highly lauded by critics with The Hindu stating that he "has once again done Tamil cinema proud".[43]

Kamal Haasan then appeared in the remake film Vasool Raja alongside Sneha. In 2006, Haasan's long delayed project, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu emerged as a blockbuster.[44] In 2008, he appeared in K. S. Ravikumar's Dasavathaaram portraying ten distinct roles in the venture, which remains one of the most expensive Indian films ever made.[45] Featuring him opposite Asin Thottumkal, the film became the highest grossing film ever in Tamil cinema, beating the previous 2007 record, and won him critical praise for his performance.[46] In Canada, the film was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the first Tamil film to be done so. The film ultimately grossed more than INR250 crores worldwide.[46][47] He had written the story and screenplay for the project.

Following the completion of Dasavathaaram, Kamal Haasan opted to direct his fourth directorial venture, with a film tentatively titled Marmayogi, which after a year of pre-production became stalled.[48] He then opted to produce and star in a venture, Unnaipol Oruvan, co-starring him with Mohanlal. The film, which had Shruti Haasan appear as the music director, became a successful venture for him at the box office.[49] Kamal Haasan worked on his fifth collaboration with Ravikumar, in Manmadan Ambu, for which he also wrote the dialogues and screenplay. The film also featured Madhavan and Trisha Krishnan and was released in December 2010. The story revolves around a man who hires a detective to find out if he is being cheated by his fiancée. This film completed one month successfully but was officially declared an average film.

Off-screen contributions

In addition to acting, Kamal Haasan has also played various roles behind the camera and is known for his involvement in several aspects of film-making.[12][31] He wrote the story and/or screen-play for many of his films including Raja Paarvai, Apoorva Sagodharargal, Guna, Thevar Magan, Mahanadhi, Hey Ram, Aalavandhan, Anbe Sivam, Nala Damayanthi, Virumaandi, Dasavathaaram and Manmadhan Ambu. His film production company, Rajkamal International, has produced several of his films. He also directed the films Chachi 420, Hey Ram and Virumaandi. He considered taking up film direction full time, if Hey Ram was a success, but did not do so as the film was a box office failure.[50] In 2010, he stated his intention to direct more films as many young actors had wished to work under him and gain his direct guidance.[51] He wanted to turn a technician after his comeback into adult roles. Speaking about it in a lighter vein, he once said, "Film makers like K. Balachander told me that I won’t be able make much money by being a technician. So the end result is that the star Kamal funds the technician Kamal in pursuing his dreams".[52] Kamal has attended workshops for make-up techniques in US for several years and once trained as a make-up man under Michael Westmore.[53]

Kamal Haasan is also well known as a song-writer. He first penned lyrics for Hey Ram and followed it with films like Virumaandi, Unnai Pol Oruvan and Manmadhan Ambu. They were well received by his peers in the Tamil film industry.[54] Kamal Haasan is also a playback singer. He has sung close to 70 songs in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and English.

Personal life


Kamal Haasan filmed with M. G. Ramachandran

Kamal Haasan was born in the town of Paramakudi in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, to a criminal lawyer named D. Srinivasan and his wife Rajalakshmi.[55] He is an Iyengar Brahmin.[56] Kamal Haasan was the youngest of four children, the others being Charuhasan, Chandrahasan and Nalini Raghu. His father was a martinet. He wanted all his sons (Chandrahasan, Charuhasan, Kamalahaasan) to study and do well. The two elder brothers followed their father’s example and studied law. Kamal spent his childhood learning everything except staying focussed on his studies.

Kamal Haasan had referred to his parents in couple of his films, with references being made in Unnaipol Oruvan as well as in the song Kallai Mattum from Dasavathaaram.[57] His eldest brother Charuhasan, like Kamal Haasan, is a National Film Award-winning actor, who appeared in the Kannada film Tabarana Kathe, among others. Kamal's niece (Charuhasan's daughter), Suhasini is also a National Film Award winner and is married to director and fellow Award winner Mani Ratnam, who collaborated with Kamal Haasan on 1987's Nayagan.[58] Chandra Haasan has appeared as the producer for several of Kamal Haasan's films as well as being an executive of Kamal Haasan's home production company, Rajkamal International. His brother's daughter Anu Hasan has appeared in several films in supporting roles, most notably in Suhasini's Indira.[59] His sister Nalini Raghu is a dance teacher. Kamal Haasan later named an auditorium after his sister as Nalini Mahal.[60] Her son, Gautham, played Kamal Haasan's grandson in his directorial venture, Hey Ram.


Despite his celebrated film career, his personal life had some setbacks which have been exploited by the media. In his early career, he co-starred in several films with actress Srividya. The pair were reported to have been a part of a notorious affair in the 1970s, with their relationship being explored in the 2008-released Malayalam film, Thirakkatha by Renjith, with Anoop Menon portraying Kamal Haasan and Priyamani playing Srividya. Srividya, who died in 2006, was visited by Kamal Haasan at her bedside during her final days.[61] In 1978, at the age of 24, Kamal Haasan married danseuse Vani Ganapathy. Vani put on the mantle of costume designer for her husband's movies and was publicized for walking along with Haasan into the Filmfare Awards South ceremony of 1980 immediately after their wedding. However, the couple split after ten years together, after Kamal Haasan began dating fellow actress Sarika, confirming in a later interview that he and Vani have never been in touch since their divorce.[62]

Subsequently, Kamal Haasan and Sarika lived together from 1988, opting to marry only after having their second child. Of the two children: Shruti Haasan (born 1986) and Akshara Haasan (born 1991), the former is a singer as well as a Bollywood / Kollywood actress, while the latter is pursuing higher studies in Bangalore. Sarika took a break from acting soon after her marriage to Kamal Haasan. However, she replaced his ex-wife, Vani Ganapathy, as Haasan's costume designer, with acclaimed work in Hey Ram. The couple filed for divorce in 2002, with Sarika estranging herself from Kamal Haasan by the end of the procedure in 2004.[63] His intimate relationship with co-star Simran Bagga, who is twenty-two years younger, became the reason for the split.[64] However, Haasan's relationship with Simran, who appeared opposite him in two consecutive ventures - Pammal K. Sambandam and Panchathantiram, was short-lived as Simran went on to marry her childhood friend in late 2003.[64] Haasan now lives with former actress Gouthami Tadimalla, who starred with him in several films in the late 80s and early 90s. He had helped her during her traumatic breast cancer experience and the pair have been in a domestic relationship since 2005. Along with Shruti and Akshara, Gouthami's daughter, Subbalakshmi, from an annulled marriage also lives with them.[65]

Religious views

Kamal Haasan, despite being born into a Hindu Brahmin family, has declared himself as an atheist; many of his films, notably Mahanadi and the two films co-written by Kamal Haasan (Anbe Sivam and Dasavathaaram), have featured anti-theistic views.[66] Kamal Haasan, has also been mistaken for a Muslim due to the Arabic surname, and was famously stopped for his name at Toronto Pearson International Airport in 2002.[67] The name originated from a friend of his father, Yaakob Hassan, a Muslim freedom fighter who spent time in prison with Kamal Haasan's father while imprisoned by the British. Yaakob Hassan had protected Srinivasan from other prisoners who hated the Brahmins. Later, he paid tribute to his friend by incorporating part of his name into his sons’ names.[68]

Humanitarian work

Kamal Haasan is actively involved in several social service activities through his fan clubs under the banner Kamal Narpani Iyakkam. (Kamal Welfare Association)[69][70] His fan clubs are involved in organising blood and eye donation drives and donating education materials to school students.[71][72][73] He received the first Abraham Kovoor National Award for his Humanist Activities and Secular Life in 2004.[8] He has turned his fan associations into social service organisations. He was also the project ambassador of Hridayaragam 2010, a fundraiser to set up an orphanage for HIV/AIDS-affected children.[74] In September 2010, Kamal Haasan launched a children’s cancer relief fund and presented roses to children with cancer at Sri Ramachandra University in Porur on the outskirts of Chennai.[75] He has also pledged to endorse consumer products and use the money for social service.[76]

Literary contributions

Kamal Haasan was involved in running the magazine Mayyam, which was run by the Kamal Haasan Welfare Association (Narpani Iyakkam). His views on a wide range of issues including cinema, child and drug abuse and the Kashmir conflict, have been collected and published as a book titled Thedi Theerpom Va (Come, Let's Solve Together), by his fan association.[77] His interest in Tamil literature and his own writing skills are well known.[78]

Awards and honours

Kamal Haasan, a Padma Shri holder, is the most decorated actor in terms of awards in the history of Indian cinema.[8] He holds the record for the most number of National Film Awards for an actor; three awards for Best Actor, one each for Best Child Artist and Best Film. The 1992 Tamil film Thevar Magan which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil was produced by Kamal Haasan. He also won the President's Gold Medal for his debut film Kalathur Kannamma which was later categorised as the National Film Award for Best Child Artist in 1960, thus taking his tally to five.[79] Moreover, Kamal Haasan holds a record nineteen Filmfare Awards, ranging across five languages. After his latest award in 2000, he wrote to the organization requesting exemption from further awards.[8] In 2003, his films Hey Ram, Pushpak, Nayagan and Kuruthipunal were showcased under the "Director in Focus" category at the Rotterdam Film Festival.[80] In 2004, Virumaandi won the very first "Best Asian film" award at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan).[42][80]

In 2005, Sathyabama Deemed University awarded Kamal Haasan an honorary doctorate.[81] He received the Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award for Excellence in Indian Cinema at the 2006 ceremony of the inaugural Vijay Awards.[82] He received the Living Legend Award in 2007 from FICCI, which recognizes outstanding personalities from the entertainment arena and honors them with awards at their annual global convention, FRAMES.[83] In 2010, the United Progressive Alliance government organised a retrospective of Kamal Haasan's films. During that event, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the actor fell under a special category, as his cinema broke barriers of language and region.[84] The same year, the Government of Kerala honoured him for completing 50 years in Indian cinema during the inauguration of statewide Onam celebrations in Thiruvananthapuram. A light-and-sound show titled “Suvarna Kamalam” to mark Kamal’s 50 years in Indian cinema, conceived by director T. K. Rajiv Kumar, was the highlight of the evening.[85]

Kamal Haasan is also a recipient of the Kalaimamani Award from the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1979. Other recognitions includes a string of Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, Nandi Awards, Screen Awards and Vijay Awards, including four separate awards for his performance in Dasavathaaram. In 2009, Kamal Haasan was appointed as the chairman of FICCI Media and Entertainment Business Conclave, organised by the entertainment division of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).[86] He has recently been roped in to be part of academic advisory council for ISFM (International school of Film+Media). [87]

Acclaim and criticism

Kamal Haasan, widely respected and admired in the Indian film industry, is often praised as someone who would have won many Oscars, if he had been born outside India. His mentor K. Balachandar, while agreeing with such sentiment, says in that case Kamal would not have been able to have a diverse acting career and the adulation he has now.[88][89] Mani Ratnam, who directed Kamal in Nayagan, has claimed he has missed working with Kamal.[90] Veteran Tamil actor Nagesh rated Kamal Haasan as the best actor he had seen.[91] Kamal Haasan's contributions to films have been lavishly praised by his peers in the Indian film industry like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachan and Aamir Khan.[92][92][93] Younger actors and film makers like Surya,[94][95] Madhavan,[96] Bala[97] consider Kamal Haasan as their inspiration.[98] His list of admirers go beyond cinema. M. F. Husain has claimed, he found Kamal Haasan as the most exciting Indian film-maker/actor.[99]

Kamal Haasan has been accused of reusing story lines, plot elements from Western films without crediting them and also for using sexually explicit scenes and themes. He has also been accused of elitism, of offending religious sentiments and of being superficial about the social issues he depicts in his films.[100][101][102] He has also been dubbed as an actor who consciously overshadows his co-artists.[96][103] Other criticisms of Kamal Haasan include complaints about his obsession with needless perfection, which has caused some of his films to overshoot their budgets.[104][105]

Notable filmography

Year Film Role Language Notes
1959 Kalathur Kannamma Selvam Tamil Rashtrapati Award
1975 Apoorva Raagangal Prasanna Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil
1977 16 Vayathinile Chappani Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor
1978 Maro Charitra Balu Telugu
1982 Moondram Pirai Srinivasan Tamil National Film Award for Best Actor
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor
1985 Saagar Raja Hindi Filmfare Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1986 Swathi Muthyam Sivayya Telugu Nandi Award for Best Actor
1987 Nayagan Velu Nayakkar Tamil National Film Award for Best Actor
1988 Pushpak Pushpak Silent Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Kannada
1992 Thevar Magan Shakthivelu Thevar Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor
Also producer and screenwriter
1995 Kuruthipunal Adhi Naarayanan Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil
Also producer and screenwriter
1996 Indian Senapathy Bose,
Chandra Bose
Tamil National Film Award for Best Actor
Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actor
2000 Hey Ram Saket Ram Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil
Also producer, director, and screenwriter
2004 Virumaandi Virumaandi Tamil Best Film Award at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival


  1. ^ "Screening - Nayakan (Hero)". UCLA International Institute. 2005. http://www.international.ucla.edu/showevent.asp?eventid=3700. Retrieved February 15, 2008. 
  2. ^ Brian Hu (2004). "Going down the Bollywood chute...with David Chute". UCLA Asian Arts. http://www.asiaarts.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=31955. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  3. ^ Kamal Haasan: Can Somebody Guarantee Him A Pension Post Retirement? TimesChennai 3 December 2010
  4. ^ "Celebration of Kamal Haasan’s Half-Century in Indian Cinema". The First Reporter. 4 July 2010. http://www.thefirstreporter.com/entertainment/celebration-kamal-hassan%E2%80%99s-half-century/. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Kamal starts shooting bilingual remake of 'A Wednesday'". The Hindu. 10 April 2009. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/009200904102111.htm. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Indian Oscar failure". NDTV Network. 2009. http://movies.ndtv.com/GalleryDetails.aspx?ID=3290&category=Movies&picno=1&Section=Bollywood. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  7. ^ Kamal Haasan’s lyrics get thumbs up!, 20 Nov 2010, 06.21pm IST
  8. ^ a b c d "The legend turns 53". Zee News. 2007. http://www.zeenews.com/news405995.html. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
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