I've known the enterprising Mr Kamal Haasan for 18 years now. We've faced some choppy weather in our relationship, brought on, I might add, by his unforeseen shift into a sultry withdrawal. But for most of these 18 years he has been a warm and dependable friend and a caring individual.
Many feel Vishwaroopam 2 is his last film, as he's now stepping into active politics. I don't know why this impression is being allowed to fester. Perhaps some people around Kamal saab feel this perception will help Vishwaroopam 2 sell better. After all, Pakeezaah became a blockbuster only after Meena Kumari died.
But rest assured, the Kamal-eon actor is not going anywhere. Not for politics. Not for any lure on this earth. In fact, I feel Mr Haasan's decision to move towards rajniti is as misplaced as Mr Bachchan's move in the same direction. Kamal Haasan's feet are way too clean to bear the muck and mire, or as Mr Bachchan famously described it, the cesspool of politics.
Why can't he continue to make fiercely political films like Hey Ram (the most underrated Kamal Haasan film of all times), Dasavathaaram, Vishwaroopam and now its sequel, which if I am not mistaken was shot largely alongside the first Vishwaroopam film, Baaahubali style. Only the action needed to be shot afresh.
So, what took Vishwaroopam so long to crystallize and get into theatres? It is shot in two different languages - Hindi and Tamil - and dubbed into Telugu. But more than the linguistic hurdles, I think it is Kamal Haasan's penchant for getting it right that held the film over. Vishwaroopam 2 deals with global terrorism. He won't compromise with his vision of a world held to ransom by a bunch of self-appointed jihadis. The last time he released Vishwaroopam, Tamil Nadu's then-Chief Minister threatened to ban the film.
The release of the sequel is far smoother. I suspect this time the focus would be on the film, and not the politics behind it.
Artistes don't belong in that cesspool which Amitabh Bachchan once famously spoke about.
Not true artistes. The only unsuccessful thing that the indomitable Lata Mangeshkar had done in her life was her stint in the Rajya Sabha. And, Sachin Tendulkar has done no better.
The very idea that Kamal Haasan would retire from active acting for active politics is as ridiculous as to suggest that Lataji would give up singing to weave handloom dupattas for destitute girls in Muzaffarpur.
Sure, the idea of Kamal Haasan, The Politician rings a bell. But the place where he can make a difference is cinema, not parliament. He is well-equipped to address the issues that bother him without stepping into politics. So, why is he doing it? And is he really doing it? I can say with a fair amount of certainty that Rajinikanth won't, because…well, he can't. Kamal Haasan can cope with politics. But it is not his forte. He will be a disaster as a politician.
Someone somewhere is trying to tell Kamal Haasan that politics is not his cup of coffee. Filtered or otherwise. The politics, not the coffee.
(Subhash K Jha is a film critic and movie expert)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)