Kamal Haasan: I opted for actors and not stars in 'Vishwaroopam'

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 31, 2018 09:40 hrs

For people who don’t know, Kamal wrote the outline of Vishwaroopam even before Dasavatharam. “My friend in the film business told me that senior Sivaji Ganesan played nine characters so if I play ten roles in one film, expectations would be huge. Once again, I suggested making Vishwaroopam to Manmadhan Ambu producer but he preferred a comedy. Finally, Raaj Kamal Films decided to produce Vishwaroopam on it its own”, recalls Kamal Haasan.

Talking about the delay in the second part, “My producer Aascar Ravichandran had his own issues and the delay happened only because of him. Maybe, you should ask him and he might have a lot of stories to tell”, smiles the actor.

Kamal says that Vishwaroopam 2 is both prequel and sequel to the first part. “In Vishwaroopam 2, you will get to see the backstory of Wisam and things which are going to happen after the climax of the first part. But Wisam’s character remains the same, he is a trained soldier turned espionage agent just like how we define James Bond as a Naval officer turned agent”, he says.

For Vishwaroopam, Kamal says he wanted actors and not stars. “If I hired big names for my film, they would not have the time to prepare themselves for the next day shoot and rehearsals would be difficult for them. But in Vishwaroopam, my actors voluntarily asked me about the next day shoot. Bengali actor Bose learned Tamil and delivered his lines. We had to shoot in extreme climatic conditions but there were absolutely no complaints from them. I learned from K Balachander sir that dedicated actors would greatly contribute to our films than the stars”.

Kamal says he made Vishwaroopam and Hey Ram as Tamil-Hindi bilingual because he is not a big fan of dichotomy. “I’m a big fan of Mr.Gandhi who opposed the partition of India so I wanted to make a film which is common to the audiences across the country. In the film, we have talked how difficult it is for someone to handle religious and patriotic pressure”, he says.

The first part faced various criticisms including an allegation that the actor spoke in favor of the US Government for monetary gain. “I would have made a bigger film if they funded my film. To be honest, we spoke the flaws of both the sides in the film. We have shown how the US Government attacked the residential areas in Vishwaroopam”, says Kamal Haasan.

In Vishwaroopam 2, there is a special song dedicated to all the mothers. “Mother sentiment has been there in all of my films. In Dasavatharam too, I placed a scene where the old lady cries for Poovaraghavan, it is also a form of mother love. In Virumaandi, my love for my grandmother is also a mother sentiment. You can see it in Vishwaroopam 2 as well”, he adds.

Kamal says in the first part, the relationship between his character and Pooja Kumar had so many negative aspects that they cheat other for their own needs. “Only after a point of time, they feel the connection in the first part. In Vishwaroopam 2, you will get to see more romance and how their relationship gets stronger”, smiles the actor.

The multiple National award-winning actor says for him Vishwaroopam is a single film and he is only presenting it as two parts to the audiences. “After reading the script and calculated the duration, we thought that this film should be presented only in two parts because audiences would not be able to sit for four and a half hours in a film. At the same time, we wanted the research to reach the audiences so we made the film in two parts. Further, all the actors were paid twice and they were also happy”, smiles the actor.

Kamal went to Officers Training Academy in Chennai to know the training procedure of army officers. “In Vishwaroopam, Wisam is a trained officer and he is not a rogue so we wanted his character to be very authentic”, he says.

After taking the big plunge into politics, will Vishwaroopam  have any direct attack on any party or politician? “My usual criticism on society will be there in Vishwaroopam 2 but it will be only within the limits of the script”, says the actor who is all set to start Indian 2 as soon as Shankar is ready for the shoot.

Kamal says the ultimate goal of any film business is to attract the audiences to theaters. “There are various ways to attract audiences to theaters, some make cheap adult comedies, some people deliver hits through newcomers like K Balachander and there are very few people who are gutsy enough like Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Satyajit Ray who make films on a small budget yet attract the attention of global cinema viewers. In Hollywood, they perfectly found a combination, audiences there get to see quality films which are visually extravagant as well. I always wanted to bridge the game between artistic and commercial cinema”, says Kamal.

Being a senior actor in the industry, Kamal feels that the current Nadigar Sangam is performing extremely well and bring necessary changes to Tamil cinema which wasn’t possible for four decades. Talking about the black market in the box office, “Neighboring states have not fixed any fixed rate for cinema tickets. Cinema is not a basic necessity like education and food. If Government has not fixed price for cricket, soft drinks, and popcorn, they shouldn’t control the ticket price in theaters too. If theater owners are legally allowed to fix their own ticket price, things will be more transparent and they would also pay proper tax to the Government”, signs off Ulaganayakan.

By S Rajasekar