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Kamal Haasan, 68, the multi-faceted Tamil film actor, much revered for his seamless contributions to the film industry for the past 62 years, is not yet ready to call it a day though he is equally active in politics with his own party Makkal Neethi Maiyam.

His latest blockbuster Vikram, released on June 3 this year, seems to have given him a shot in the arm with his song ‘Paththala paththala’ garnering over 10 crore viewers and the film clinching the fourth slot in IMDb’s 2022 list of most popular Indian films. Kamal’s fans are on cloud nine once again.

As a producer Kamal was to make a film featuring Udhayanidi Stalin as hero. But Udhayanidhi said he was not going to act in the film and that Mari Selvaraj’s film Maamannan will be his swansong, as he has now become a minister

Kamal’s winning spree on celluloid continues. He is going to play a dual role in Shankar’s directorial venture Indian 2, now revived after hitting rough weather, says writer Jayamohan who has penned dialogue for the film. Episodes of the Indian Freedom Struggle will also feature in the film, Jayamohan says.

 Kamal is going to play a dual role in Shankar’s directorial venture Indian 2, now revived after initially hitting rough weather

Coming back to Vikram, it was not a sequel of the Kamal film of the 1980s. Directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, Vikram, an entertaining potpourri of suspense, intrigue, deceit and thrill, is a far cry from the past film in terms of narrative and tempo. It found success, making up for the loss Kamal incurred on its first edition back in the day.

Armed with the roaring success of the flick, Kamal has regained the confidence that had sagged after the shooting of Shankar’s Indian-2, which was met with some unpleasant incidents and subsequently was put on the backburner. Now the shoot has resumed with expectations of an encore of the Vikram glory.

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Turning flops into hits
When Indian released in 1996, it evoked memories of the Sivaji Ganesan-Kamal starrer Naam Pirantha Mann which bombed at the box-office way back in 1977. Both films had an identical storyline. Sivaji Ganesan played the role of a freedom-fighter and Kamal the role of his corrupt son. Both roles were performed by Kamal himself in Indian. Rajasekahar wrote the story for the Sivaji film. Vietnam Veedu Sundaram wrote the screenplay jointly with ace director Sridhar’s favourite cinematographer Vincent, who also directed the film.

It is an irony that though Naam Pirantha Mann was the original source of Indian’s storyline, the former could not set cash registers ringing while the latter did about two decades later.

Similarly, Shankar’s maiden film Gentleman had shades of Kannadasan’s old film Karuppu Panam (Black Money). The time gap between the original and the adopted is about 30 years. Again it is an irony that Gentleman was a runaway success whereas its source film had been an utter flop.

Only Shankar knows whether he saw the old flops and dusted them off, pouring old wine into a new glossy bottle and selling it successfully.

All said and done, Shankar is expected to do his magic again and make Indian-2 too a hit.

Making sequels is hardly a recent phenomenon. Kamal himself started it in the 1980s, acting in Kalyanaraman and in its second part Jappaanil Kalyanaraman. Yet, the sequel could not compete with the original’s fame

The sequel syndrome
Making sequels is hardly a recent phenomenon. Kamal himself started it in the 1980s, acting in Kalyanaraman and in its second part Jappaanil Kalyanaraman. Yet, the sequel could not compete with the original’s fame. In spite of the showcasing Japan’s Expo, the sequel failed to  capture viewers’ fancy, probably because they wanted more of Kamal’s performance rather than some add-on glosses.

Repeating that trend, Kamal’s Viswaroopam part-2 (2018) faded into insignificance unlike its first part (2013).

It was against this background that Kamal came out all guns blazing in Vikram in 2022.

Kamal’s film career that started at age 6 with Kalathoor Kannamma has been a chequered one. Neither basking in glory when his films tasted success nor being down in the dumps in case of flops, Kamal has held cinema dear to his heart as a passionate art that he’s been dedicated to for more than six decades. It is this sense of dedication that keeps him going full steam.

Also Read: Success of Vikram 2022 will be the loss of Kamal the politician

He has again joined hands with Maniratnam, director of Nayagan (1987), a watershed film for Kamal. After clearing his present commitments, Kamal is also going to act in a film directed by Malayalam filmmaker Mahesh Narayanan. Yet the air is rife with speculations that that film has been dropped.

Rubbishing the rumours, Mahesh Narayanan said at a recent press conference held at the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram that the project with Kamal has not been given up.

So, at present Kamal has a line-up of Indian-2 and an as yet unnamed film with Maniratnam. Besides, there are reports that he is going to do Vikram-2, again with Lokesh Kanagaraj and also Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu-2.

Perhaps it is best for his fans that Kamal did not go the way of Udhayanidhi, picking politics over films, and still has much to offer them.


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