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Kamal Haasan: Celebs, too, have the right to talk about politics

Actor, filmmaker and politician, Kamal Haasan says anyone’s political ideology can bring about a change.

bollywood Updated: Aug 21, 2018 11:38 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Kamal Haasan,Vishwaroop 2,Actor
Actor Kamal Haasan founded his political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, in Tamil Nadu, on February 21, 2018.(Photo: Amal KS/HT)

There is firmness in his voice but his dignified persona exudes charm. Actor, filmmaker and politician Kamal Haasan is not one to give interviews often, but when he does, he doesn’t mince his words or contain his opinions. In a freewheeling chat, Haasan talks about going strong at 63, his latest film, Vishwaroop 2, doing stunts on his own, embarking on his political journey and his vision forward.

You’ve been an idol to many. What keeps you going?

Applause and appreciation (smiles)! How the audience humbles me by noticing even the smallest things [onscreen] that I thought they might miss, things [that] I lovingly do for them. You can never underestimate their intelligence. I have never done that. It’s easy to say that the audience is dumb, but they have never been so, not mine.

Was promoting your film on reality shows something out of your comfort zone?

I have no aversion to promoting any idea through the right channel. As a matter of fact, I myself am hosting a reality show in Tamil Nadu against the good advice of friends who said don’t even go there (laughs). But, I enjoy it. I have a platform that those people advising me can’t reach; it’s an opportunity that they should have understood, too. For me, I am talking 3.2 crore tune-ins, and that exponentially increases if you look at the number of eyeballs that are on me.

You still do your own stunts. Is it worth the risk at 63?

There was an opportunity to talk to Mr Jackie Chan and we were comparing notes and he said, ‘How many fractures?’ I said, ‘36’. And he was like ‘Oh, you’re catching up. I must do something better now’. He said he has 15. So, when you talk of age, he’s elder to me and the kind of stunts he does, I was no one to risk it. Even now [at 64], he does them. I agree [that a] certain amount of training is required and I’m one of the few actors who actually took training; I had stuntmen living with me and training me.

You’ve embarked on your political journey. Are films going to take a backseat?

I would have preferred this (Vishwaroop 2) to be the last outing, but I have made commitments to people, which I will complete. But otherwise, my mind is already flying in another sphere and I’ve seen essence of Tamil Nadu and our nation, and I want to be a part of that [with my party, Makkal Needhi Maiam].

Can political ideologies of celebrities bring about a change in society?

Everybody’s idea can bring about a change but the high profile, the influencers get noticed [more]. They have as much right as students to talk about politics. And they should because politics affects everyone’s life. Celebs should comment [on issues], and they will. Everybody is qualified to talk about politics.

Bhai ho toh aisa @beingsalmankhan happy to meet you after so long

A post shared by Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) on

Do people take actors any less seriously when they address national and social issues?

It depends on how sensibly you talk. The moment there is sense in the talk, they become credible and respectable.

Have politicians, who were once actors, set a benchmark?

My bars, I know, when and how far I can raise them. We’re working on it. To talk about others is not the best way to explain your point. So, I’m qualifying myself, prepping; and even for my films, I prep well and the result shows. And I’m very sure that in this field as well, that preparation and studiousness will get paid for.

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 11:33 IST