Kamal Haasan better known as “Ulaganayagan” is a legend of a ginormous scale. He is an incredibly multi-talented human being, who has dropped his footprints over cinema in more ways than one. It leads one to wonder if there’s anything at all that he can’t do. On the occasion of his birthday week, we share with you his talents that you might have not heard of.
Kamal Haasan is a prolific writer, poet and lyricist. He started writing the script for a movie titled ‘Unarchigal’ aged 18 years old. His film Aalavandhan is an adaptation of the novel Dayam written by him in 1984. He has successfully written for films in the course of his career.
Did you know that Haasan is a trained dancer? The actor was 12 when he took to dancing and trained in Bharatnatyam. Haasan also learned Kathak under the guidance of the renowned Kathak maestro, Pandit Birju Maharaj. He is one of the rare veteran actors in India to have trained in two hardcore Indian classical dance forms.
Having sung over in 50 films in all, Haasan has lent his voice to music in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and English. Music and dance were two huge parts of his upbringing. Among Ilaiyaraaja’s top works, his songs and background score for Kamal’s films feature prominently. Just by being an observer of Ilaiyaraaja’s work, the multifaceted legend has been able to sharpen his musical skills which have helped him immensely while working with other composers.
He formed Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), a regional political party in Tamil Nadu. He formally announced the party’s formation on 21 February 2018 in Madurai. The party’s flag displays six joined hands in a circle in alternate red and white colours with a white star at its centre in a black background. Haasan began his political journey from late President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam’s residence and his memorial at Rameswaram.
Haasan kicked off his acting career as a child artist in 1960 with the film, Kalathur Kannamma for which he won the President’s Gold Medal under the category ‘Best Child Actor’. With the award-winning start, he went on to star in over 200 films and in different languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and Bengali. He is the only actor to have been accepted and celebrated across the country. He was honoured with a Padma Shri in 1990 and Padma Bhushan in 2014. This year the actor clocked in 61 years in cinema and holds the record of having earned four National Awards and 19 Filmfare Awards.
Ulaganayagan gained unparalleled experience by acting in movies made in several different languages. The actor assimilated all that he learnt during his successful stint as a film director. Haasan’s journey as a filmmaker began with Chachi 420. He had co-written and produced it too. The film went on to become of the best comedy-dramas of Indian cinema. It is one of the favourites of many Indian households and its a laugh riot that enjoys high TRP ratings. He then directed the Oscar-nominated film “Hey Ram” which has a separated fan base among world cinema lovers. Made at an international scale, the film travelled to many film festivals around the world.
Raja Parvai was the first film released under Haasan’s home banner, “Raaj Kamal Films International” in 1981. Since then the production house has remained one of the most prominent ones in India. Vishwaroopam, Vishwaroopam 2, Hey Ram, Dasavathaaram and Chachi 420 among others are a few blockbusters that have inspired big changes in cinema. The banner is now in the middle of producing the biggest entertainer of 2021 titled KH 232 to be directed by Lokesh Kanakaraj.