Kamal Haasan’s acting career started at the age of five, when he faced the camera for the first time for the Tamil film, Kalathur Kannamma (1960). Since then, there has been no looking back for the actor. In a career spanning five decades, he has starred in over 200 films, won numerous accolades and three National Awards. Yet, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Have you ever felt tired of facing the camera?
Yes, that did happen many years ago, when I was doing movies only for money. I used to feel tired early in the morning and throughout the day. But, for the past 25 years, I have been on a paid holiday, because 25 years ago, I decided to only do movies that I cared for; and some [of the films] I have even managed to love.
You once called yourself a “reluctant actor”. Do you still consider yourself one?
Yes, I still am, because my finances come from ‘Kamal Haasan - the star’. I have to respect that man, because he lets me live my dreams. Without him, many of my films wouldn’t have been made. I’m grateful to him for being the producer of films like Hey Ram (2000) and Vishwaroopam (2013). I can say I have a star in my pocket.
You have been part of so many remakes. Now, your 1983 hit, Sadma, is being remade. What are your views on the same?
If they (the makers) like the movie and are passionate about it, then why not? Each film is like an interpretation, and who knows, they might make a different and better version of it.
Many actors refuse to age on screen, and want to continue playing young roles. You have been an exception in this regard.
Shruti (Haasan; daughter) is playing my daughter in my upcoming film. So, I have to play my age. There have been many stories about actors not willing to play their age, but none of them have ended well. I have always accepted age much before time. I played the role of my own father, when I was 39, in Hindustani (1996).
You were part of a film preservation and restoration workshop that was held in Pune recently. Isn’t it a bit late to start the restoration process now?
We are very late, but it doesn’t matter. It was a very passionate endeavour. I am thankful to Martin Scorsese (Hollywood filmmaker) for being part of this process. It shows that true passion transcends borders.