Kamal Haasan made his acting debut at the age of 4, with the Shivaji Ganesan-Savithri starring classic Kalathur Kannamma. The young Haasan bagged the offer after he was spotted by renowned producer AVM Saravanan. Interestingly, Kamal Haasan's character in the movie, Selvam, was originally supposed to be played by renowned actress Daisy Irani. Haasan went on to bag President of India's Gold Medal for the Best Child Artist, for his performance in Kalathur Kannamma.
After acting in a few more films as a child artist, Kamal Haasan took a break from cinema to concentrate on his education and theatre. After a seven-year-long break, he made a comeback to cinema as the dance assistant of renowned choreographer Thankappan. Kamal Haasan played his maiden full-fledged role in K Balachander's Arangetram (1973) and played the main antagonist in the director's next project, Sollathan Ninaikkiren. Kamal Haasan made his debut as a lead with the 1974-released Malayalam movie Kanyakumari, for which he received his first Filmfare trophy.
Kamal Haasan dominated the Tamil film industry for over two decades, from the early 1970s to late 1990s. The Ulaganayagan collaborated with some of the finest talents of Tamil cinema, including K Balachander, Balu Mahendra, Mani Ratnam, Bharathan and others for some iconic films. During this period, Haasan starred in some of the most memorable films of his career, including Sigappu Rojakkal, Varumayin Niram Sivappu, Moondram Pirai, Nayakan, Indian, Thevar Magan, Guna, etc. The actor also went on to make his debuts in Hindi and Bengali cinema during this period.
Kamal Haasan made his debut as a screenwriter in 1980 with the Tamil movie Guru, which he co-wrote with his brothers. He penned his first independent screenplay for Apoorva Sagodarargal (1989). Later, he joined hands with playwright Crazy Mohan for Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1989), thus beginning a successful collaboration with Mohan. The duo later went on to produce some of the finest comedies of Tamil cinema . Kamal Haasan made his directorial debut with Chachi 420, the Hindi remake of Avvai Shanmugi. His second directorial venture, Hey Ram is still considered to be a masterpiece.
By the beginning of 2000, Kamal Haasan directed his second film Hey Ram, which went on to become India's official entry to the Academy awards. The actor also decided to drop his dream project, Marudhanayakam due to financial constraints. Instead, Haasan concentrated mostly on comical flicks. In between, he also went on to experiment with a few projects, including Virumandi, Anbe Sivam, Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu, Dasavatharam, etc. In 2013, he directed the action-thriller Viswaroopam, which was followed by the sequel Viswaroopam 2, in 2018. Kamal Haasan has a few interesting projects in the pipeline, including Sabash Naidu and Indian 2.
Kamal Haasan is one of the very rare actors who could strike a balance between commercial and parallel cinema successfully. The actor has 5 National Film Awards to his credit, including 3 Best Actor trophies (Moondram Pirai, Nayakan and Indian). Kamal Haasan also went on to set a record by winning 17 Best Actor trophies at the Filmfare Awards. The Government of India honoured the actor with Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in 1990, and Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award, in 2014.
Kamal Haasan is unarguably one of the finest actors Indian cinema has ever had. The multi-faceted talent who has been fondly called as Ulaganayagan by his admirers, is celebrating his 65th birthday today. This year is truly special for both Kamal Haasan and his fans, as the veteran actor is all set to complete the 60th year of his acting career.
In his six decades-long career, Kamal Haasan has donned multiple roles in cinema, including actor, film director, screenwriter, producer, dancer-choreographer, lyricist, and make-up artist. The actor is currently busy with his much-awaited upcoming project Indian 2, which is a sequel to the 1996-released Shankar movie Indian. If the rumours are to be believed, Kamal Haasan is also all set to collaborate with Kaithi Lokesh Kanagaraj, for his next project.
Here, we present the journey of Kamal Haasan from a child artist to the Ulaganayagan. Have a look...