Actor Kamal Haasan made his debut as a child artiste with the 1960 film Kalathur Kannamma. Since then, in a career spanning 58 years, the 63-year-old actor has played several iconic characters, one of which he is set to reprise in the upcoming Vishwaroopam 2. Ahead of the film’s release, five years after the first part, the actor spoke about how hosting reality TV show Bigg Boss helped him become relatable:
Baradwaj Rangan: Can we say that the latest dividing line in your career is pre and post Big Boss? I mean, I was just wondering if the surge of this Kamal in memes and other things is going to have a repercussion on a way Vishwaroopam 2 is received? Because it was not there in the first part.
Kamal Haasan: I don’t know. My purpose of Big Boss is not like a transition from one career to another. It was one career to another strategy. I had decided on politics sometime back but I was looking at ways and means with the limited resource that I have. I was looking at Mr. Kejriwal and trials and tribulations that he had, I wanted to avoid those things. We had a discussion also, he came and met me. I thought Big Boss would be the greatest platform available to reach the masses, because look at it- with a 1 lakh hundred thousand people gathering, look at the cost involved. I drew 300 times that every Saturday and if I just get across two sentences, it’s not evangelising as such but convincing. If I could say two convincing sentences per week it’s worth all the trouble and that’s how it started. Otherwise I’m not a great believer of reality shows, I’m not even interested, I don’t watch those things. I’m more history kind a guy.
BR: So after the Pushpak (1987), Nayakan (1987) phase, except for the comedies that you did, the other films that you began to do, the perception was that they were a bit a-centre, they were a little bit for the intelligentsia, because they were definitely deep films, there were a lot of philosophical ideas in them. Do you think Bigg Boss has kind of taken you back to the way Sakalakalavallavan (1982) did?
KH: Absolutely. Because now they don’t see Velunayakan, Shakthivel, Gunaa or anything. They directly look into my eye. And it’s a mutually surprising intercourse where we are talking to each other for the first time like this, and they like it. And I relish it.
BR: Hypothetical question, had this been the Kamal of the 1970s, when you were beginning to get known as as actor but you were not yet a big star, and had a Bigg Boss-like opportunity availed itself, would you have taken it up?
KH: I would’ve. But I would have not gone in the right direction. I would have started at zoetrope and tried to take on aviam studio, reliance and stuff like that which would have meandered into all directions with my lack of experience. But right now I have taken the right direction and using the fulcrum to lift off weight which i possibly cannot lift. No politician could have pulled it off. Bigg Boss is a big thing, it’s like the Beer Hall Putsch.