Sep 19th, 2008
He was blessed to be an actor and started young, actually very
young, when he was six years. He handled the camera as a pro,
and unlike many child prodigies he did not disappear from the
screen but over the years adapted himself to the demands of
the film world and public expectations. His ability to subtly
move away from established formulas yet give entertaining &
commercially viable cinema is a tribute to his acumen as a business
man producer and to his acting talents. He has established a
unique slot in the cinema world on par with other greats of
Tamil Cinema like superstar Rajinkanth, and former actors (late)
MGR, & Shivaji.
His movies captured the overtones of politics of the Indian
landscape which are reflected very subtly in some of his movies.
The latest in that series is his movie Dasaavataram. Let’s look
into the controversy.
Mr. Kama Hassan had attempted to hit multiple birds with this
single stone called Dasaavataram
a) He wanted to do one better then the great Tamil actor Shivaji
who donned nine roles in his film Navaratri. So career wise
this was a good move.
b) He was trying to point out the differences between various
Hindu groups. Note the starting line of the movie which says,
that long before Allah and Jesus came to India Hindus still
had religious grounds with in their own religion to fight with
each other. Was he trying to give a message to Hindu groups
to awaken before it’s too late?
c) In a graphic description of the fight between the Shiva and
Vishnu worshippers in that movie he shows this real disturbing
scenes like the big statue of Lord Vishnu being dug out of its
foundation. With Anti-Hindu forces making lot of effort and
succeeding in isolation of digging their claws into the foundation
of Hinduism this scene was like driving a psychological nail
into the minds of an Hindu in Tamilnadu who is already trying
it recover from the acts of the confused atheist Chief Minister
Mr. Karunanidhi and the Impulsive former chief minister Ms.Jayalalitha.
d) As a shrewd investor in the world of film financing he knew
that there is no better advertisement then a good controversy.
And his style of controversy means triggering it in favor of
the any political establishment which is in power. Presently
Hindu bashing is a rewarding option with both the central and
state governments and he felt it was in his financial interests
with no personal risks to him, and like any business man in
India he took advantage. It was a financial success.
Congratulations to Mr. Kamal Hassan as all the birds he aimed
to hit got hit hard.
Reasons for protest:
a) Title: Dasa-avataram as every Hindu knows
is the tenth impending incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Hindu
God Vishnu has taken 9 avatars the last one being lord Krishna
and the word Dasaavataram is much revered. It is just not fair
that he uses a revered Hindu name as a title for his movies
to attract millions of Hindu movie goers and then trick them
into psychological subjugation by showing scenes which belittle
Hinduism. There is a lot of anger kicked off in Hindu minds
because of this cheap promotion strategy of Mr.Kamalhassan.
Though this anger is genuine it cannot be justified legally.
If Film makers, writers & artists, wish to have their freedom
of expression untouched they should be neutral or bold enough
to portray intra-religious clashes of all religions. There would
have been no protest from Hindu groups if at some part of the
movie showed a Muslim vs. Muslim issue or Christian vs. Christian
issue, as it would mean that the movie was fair to all faiths.
b) A helping hand to anti Hindu forces: Another
primary reason of ire of Hindu groups, is that in the present
special political dispensation in India today this movie is
an invitation for trouble makers who are working overtime in
harassing Hindus on various fronts. When there are so many anti
Hindu forces right from the central government, state government
and not to mention the thousands of “NGO’S” who are always itching
for action, why should Mr. Kamalhassan attempt something like
this. To justify our point check the response of the movie director
who was suggesting that the petitioner’s against the movie should
be booked under goonda act. That was a backdoor attempt to silence
the petitioners. Illegal use of Law of the land has gained credence
ever since the revered Sankaracharya was arrested. Foisting
false cases and sending them to prison seems to be a better
option then resorting to throwing stones. This seems to be a
set pattern where “Public personalities” would offer “suggestions”
to the government which the secular government would “value”
and react to in a positive way.
The movie has successfully overcome the protests of the various
Hindu groups and had its run with both the producer and actors
making a good return on investment. Let’s look into the political
mind set of Mr.Kamal Hassan. His pattern of movie releases is
such that a controversial subject is portrayed periodically
with clear but subtle political overtones. It was his sense
of timing and his ability to be on the right side of the political
dispensation which makes him a success. An example. He made
the movie Hey Ram which had strong anti-Muslim undertones. But
then BJP was in power in the centre and he had little difficulty
in passing through the censors boards. He has this ability to
gauge the political currents and make movies which would sail
through with the current trends. He can switch sides as skillfully
as an Independent politician does. But he does it with great
grace and poise that he emerges the winner all the time and
escapes that stigma which a low and middle level Indian politician
cannot shrug it off.
If you look back into religious history of any religion of
the world, there are a rich collection of clashes within themselves.
Various sects in all religions have clashed big, the most notable
being the protestant and catholic clashes in Ireland, the Iraq
Shia and Iranian Sunni clashes in the Muslim world. There are
equally good numbers of intra religious clashes in India and
we don’t recall Mr.Kamalhassan make movies on any of those clashes.
We leave it to gossip magazines to write on other topics about
him like his spat with fellow artists from Rathi agnihotri,
Amitabh Bachan, Rajinikanth, the reasons for shelving of his
big budget movie Marudanayagam, his interview in a television
channel where he spoke about sexual preferences & his personal
He has however provided some nice entertainment over the years
to millions of film goers. A few picks,
a) Michael Madan Kamarajan
c) Avvai Shanmugi
d) The silent movie
e) Thevar magan
g) Ek thuje ke liye
h) Sagara Sangamam
i) Meendum Kokila
j) Raja parvai
k) And some classic movies by the director Mr.K.Balachander.