Tuesday, November 19, 2013

While discussing Kamal Haasan's appearance at the 32nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) this past Thursday (the 14th of November, 2013), a professor and mentor of mine remarked 'Imagine this, Kamal Haasan has been acting in films since he was four years old. He's about 59 years old now. Can you imagine, he has spent more than 50 years in the industry? That's longer than Amitabh Bachchan's time! One must wonder how much he has seen in his time.'

He isn't wrong. Since his debut as a child actor in the film Kalathur Kannamma (1960), Mr. Haasan has acted in more than 200 films in his career, including films in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu. He has been awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor four times, and seven of his films (Saagar, Swati Mutyam, Nayakan, Thevar Magan, Kuruthipunal, Indian, and Hey Ram!) have been submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for the Academy Award for best foreign language film, more than any other Indian actor. Undoubtedly, Mr. Haasan has established himself as one of the finest and most meticulous actors in Indian cinema.

L-R: Kamal Haasan and His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Al Ameri,
Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Photo Credit: Lavanya Narayan
Mr. Haasan was at the 32nd edition of SIBF to promote the release of Vishwaroopam, a novelisation of his most recent eponymous film. Vishwaroopam is has received positive reviews from critics of Indian and international publications since its release. After the release, Mr. Haasan spoke to the overwhelmingly large crowd of fans present at the Sharjah Expo Center.

'Books have been my greatest teachers,' said Mr. Haasan. 'Films have taught me all about films,' He went on to speak about his personal wish to see screenplays win the Sahitya Akademi Award, an Indian literary honour conferred on Indian writers writing in regional languages. 

When asked about whether he hopes to be nominated for, and win, an Academy Award someday, Mr. Haasan replied, 'My dream is not to win an Oscar, but to see films from around the world clamouring to win Indian awards. India is truly the largest producer of films in the world, and I hope to see filmmakers from other places come to India.'