Tamil superstar Kamal Hassan will be conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the 15th Mumbai Film Festival beginning October 17.
One of the best known icons of South Indian cinema, Hassan has been an amazingly multi-faceted artist. For the 50 years that he has been in movies, he has been seen as a performer par excellence. Works like Moondram Pirai (1982), Nayagan (1987), Pushpak (1987) and Appu Raja (1989) have been some of his landmark films.
If one were to single out just one movie of his as the best, it will be undoubtedly Mani Ratnam’s Nayagan, where Hassan portrays a Mumbai don, who ultimately falls a victim to violence, a path he himself had chosen and celebrated. Time called Nayagan as “one of the greatest of all time”.
Apart from Tamil cinema, where he began as a three-year-old child artist in Kalathur Kannamma, playing along with two of the best known stars of the time, Gemini Ganesh and Savithri, Hassan has also worked in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi language films. Works like Ek Duje Ke Liye and Sagar were major hits with the critics and the masses.
Hassan, who already has three National Film Awards, a Kalaimamani Award and a Padma Shri, has of late been producing movies, writing lyrics and even singing.
The Festival – to run till October till 24 – will also confer a Lifetime Achievement Award on the French master, Costa-Gavras.
Known for creating a heady cocktail of politics and pleasure to stir up nail-biting entertainment, Costa-Gavras is best remembered for Z (which won the Foreign Language Oscar in 1969), Missing, Amen and The Little Apocalypse. Law and justice, violence and torture are some of the subjects that he dealt with in his cinema, often attacking the right-of-centre movements and regimes, including Greek conservatives and right-wing dictatorships that ruled much of Latin America during the height of the Cold War.
The Director of the Festival, Srinivasan Narayanan, said that he felt a sense of ecstasy when he thought of Costa-Gavras. “I am overwhelmed by the elegant, humanist films he has bequeathed to humanity, his gentle nudge to stand up and take a position as he did with his announcement for Z – ‘Any similarity to persons or events is deliberate’. It is our good fortune that we would be receiving him at the Festival and interacting with him for a whole week.”
The Festival will have a world competition and one for Indian movies. The international jury will be headed by Bruce Beresford, best remembered today for his 1989 Driving Miss Daisy, which clinched the Best Film Oscar. Beresford was nominated under the directors’ category for Tender Mercies in 1984.
Beresford will have on his team such renowned names as French actress Nathalie Baye (who once worked with masters like Godard and Truffaut) and Masato Harada, the Japanese actor-director popular for The Last Samurai. Konkana Sen Sharma, daughter of the legendary Aparna Sen, a Ray find, will be the only Indian on the jury. Mr and Mrs Iyer and Omkara are two of Sen Sharma’s most notable films.
The jury for the India Gold 2013 Competition will be led by no less a luminary than Asghar Farhadi, whose splendidly crafted Separation catapulted him to fame with an Oscar.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Mumbai Film Festival)