Kamal Haasan’s breakthrough as a lead actor came with his role in the 1975 drama Apoorva Raagangal, in which he played a rebellious youth in love with an older woman. He secured his first Indian National Film Award for his portrayal of a guileless school teacher who tends a child-like amnesiac in 1982’s Moondram Pirai. He was particularly noted for his performance in Mani Ratnam’s Godfatheresque Nayagan (1987), which was ranked by Time magazine as one of the best films of all time.
Early career: 1960s – early 1970s
Kamal Haasan made his film debut as a 6-year-old child artiste, in the film Kalathur Kannamma, which was released in 1960, directed by A. Bhimsingh. He was cast along with the Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan in the film. He acted as a child actor in five other Tamil films in the subsequent few years co-starring with Sivaji Ganesan and M. G. Ramachandran.
Following a nine year hiatus from films, to concentrate on his education, Haasan returned with a series of low budget films in 1972, in all of which he played supporting roles. These films included roles in Arangetram and Sollathaan Ninaikkiren, both co-starring Sivakumar. His final supporting role before establishing himself as a lead actor was in Naan Avanillai.
|Late 1970s – 1980s
Kamal Haasan first received a regional Filmfare Award for acting for his role in the Malayalam film Kanyakumari (1974). In the next four years, he won six regional Best Actor Filmfare Awards, including four consecutive Best Tamil Actor Awards. He acted in director K. Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal, an exploration of age-gap relationships. The late 1970s was a period that saw Kamal Haasan’s frequent collaboration with K. Balachander, who also cast him in many of his socially-themed films such as Avargal (1977). The film won Haasan his first Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. In 1976, Haasan appeared in the drama Moondru Mudichu with Rajinikanth and Sridevi, another K. Balachander film, Manmadha Leelai, and Oru Oodhappu Kan Simittugiradhu, which won him his second consecutive Best Actor Award. 16 Vayathinile won him his third consecutive award, where he appeared as an mentally ill villager, once again alongside Rajinikanth and Sridevi. The fourth consecutive award came with Sigappu Rojakal in which he appeared as an anti-hero who is a psychopathic sexual killer. In the late seventies, Haasan appeared in other films such as the comedy, Ninaithale Inikkum and the horror film, Neeya.
Haasan’s pairing with the actress Sridevi continued with Guru and Varumayin Niram Sigappu in 1980. Kamal Haasan also made guest–cameo appearances, such as in the Rajnikanth film Thillu Mullu; Rajinikanth had previously appeared in some of Kamal Haasan’s previous films. Haasan’s 100th career film appearance was in 1981’s Raja Paarvai , which also marked his debut in film production. Despite this film’s relatively poor reception at the cinemas , his portrayal of a blind session violinist earned him a Filmfare Award. His next acting role, in Ek Duuje Ke Liye, became his first Hindi-language film. It was the remake of his previous Telugu-language film, Maro Charithra by K. Balachandar. Following a year of starring in commercially-oriented films, Haasan won his first of three National Awards for Best Actor with his portrayal of a school teacher who looks after a mentally retarded girl in Balu Mahendra’s Moondram Pirai. In 1983, Haasan appeared in Thoongadhey Thambi Thoongadhey playing a double role.
Till 1985, Haasan began to appear in more Hindi language films , including Saagar, for which he was awarded both the Filmfare Best Actor Award and the Best Supporting Actor Award, making him the first actor to win both awards for a single film. Saagar portrayed him alongisde Rishi Kapoor both of whom were pinning for a woman, but Haasan ultimately loses out. Haasan also appeared in Geraftaar. He featured in Tamil cinema’s first sequel Japanil Kalyanaraman, which followed up his previous, Kalyanaraman as well as acting in Uruvangal Maralam co-starring Sivaji Ganesan and Rajinikanth.
In the mid-1980s, Haasan appeared in two Telugu language films, Sagara Sangamam and Swathi Muthyam with director, Kasinadhuni Viswanath. The latter film was India’s representative for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1986. Whilst, the former film portrayed Haasan as a drunkard classical dancer, Swathi Muthyam portrays him as an autistic person attempting to change society. Following Punnagai Mannan, in which he portrays dual roles including a satire of Charlie Chaplin and Vetri Vizha as an amnesiac, Haasan appeared in Mani Rathnam’s 1987 film Nayagan. Nayagan portrays the life of an underworld don in Bombay. The story revolves around the life of a real-life underworld don called Varadarajan Mudaliar, whilst sympathetically depicting the struggle of South Indians living in Mumbai. Haasan received a Indian National Award for his performance and Nayagan was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1987 as well as being included in the Time top 100 movies list. In 1988, Haasan appeared in his only silent film to date; appearing in the black comedy, Pushpak. In 1989, Haasan played a triple role in Apoorva Sagodharargal. The commercial film portrayed him in a role as a dwarf. He then attempted dual roles in Indru Chandru and its Tamil remake, winning the regional Best Actor Award for his performance.
Michael Madhana Kamarajan in 1991 saw Haasan go one step further, acting in four different roles as quadruplets, the film started an ongoing collabaration for comedy films between Haasan and Crazy Mohan, a dialogue writer. Haasan won successive best actor awards for his portrayal of the protagonist in Guna and in Thevar Magan, where he played the son of actor, Sivaji Ganesan. After films such as Singaravelan, Maharasan and Kalaignan; Haasan began to appear in comedies such as Sathi Leelavathi, based on the English film She-Devil, as well as renewing his collobaration with Kasinadhuni Viswanath in Telugu language film, Subha Sankalpam. In 1996, Haasan starred in the police story, Kuruthipunal. His success in Kuruthipunal, was followed by his third National Film Award for Best Actor in Indian. Playing dual roles of a freedom fighter and his untrustful son, the film also won Haasan regional awards and plaudits for his portrayal.
Haasan appeared as a woman in Avvai Shanmughi. In 1997, Haasan began his first directorial venture, the biopic of Mohammed Yusuf Khan, Marudhanayagam which failed to complete its schedules with only half an hour and a trailer being recorded during its shoot. Haasan soon made his debut as director with a remake of Avvai Shanmughi in Hindi titled Chachi 420.
|2000s: Hey Ram and onwards
Following a two-year hiatus in Indian cinema, Haasan opted against reviving his magnum opus, Marudhanayagam, and filmed his second directorial venture, Hey Ram, a period drama told in flashback with a semi-fictional plot centering around India’s Partition and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Haasan also took on roles as the writer, the lyricist and the choreographer as well as producing the film under his home banner. His following film was Aalavandhan, where he portrayed two distinct roles, for one of which he had his head tonsured and gained ten kilograms.
Following a series of comedies in Thenali, Panchathantiram and Pammal K. Sambandam and a couple of guest appearances, Haasan directed his third feature film in Virumaandi, a film about the death penalty. Haasan also appeared in Anbe Sivam alongside Madhavan. Priyadarshan, who started the film, departed allowing commercial director Sundar C to complete the film. Anbe Sivam told the story of Nallasivam, enacted by Haasan as an idealist, social activist and communist. Kamal Haasan’s performance was highly lauded by critics with The Hindu stating that Haasan “has once again done Tamil cinema proud”.
Haasan appeared in the remake film Vasool Raja alongside Sneha. In 2006, Haasan’s long delayed project, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu emerged. Gautham Menon’s Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu was Haasan’s first cop film since Kuruthipunal. In 2008, Haasan delivered Dasavathaaram playing ten roles. Pairing opposite Asin Thottumkal, Haasan reprises ten roles in the film. Currently, prior to Marmayogi, Haasan is producing and starring in a quick venture, titled Unnaipol Oruvan, co-starring him with Mohanlal in Tamil and Venkatesh in Telugu which is said to mark Haasan’s fiftieth year of acting. Kamal Haasan’s daughter Shruthi Haasan is the music composer of Unnaipol Oruvan. The movie got released in both the languages on September 18 2009 and received hit talk. The movie got good response from all the released centers.
Haasan with M.G.Ramachandran
Kamal Haasan was born on November 7, 1954 to a criminal lawyer named D. Srinivasan and his devout wife Rajalakshmi, both a part of the Tamil Iyengar caste(Kamal is a renowned atheist), in the village of Paramakudi in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. Kamal Haasan is the youngest of three brothers, the others being Charuhasan and Chandrahasan. Kamal Hassan’s elder sister is Nalini. She married a scientist and settled in Mumbai. Charuhasan is a National Film Award-winning actor. His niece, Suhasini is also a National Film Award Winner and is married to director Mani Ratnam, who collaborated with Kamal Haasan in 1987’s Nayagan. Chandra Haasan has appeared as the producer for several of Kamal Haasan’s films as well as being an executive of Kamal Haasan’s home production company, Rajkamal International.
In Haasan’s early career, he co-starred in several Tamil and Malayalam films with actress Srividya. Srividya, who died in 2006, was visited by Haasan at her bedside during her final days. In 1978, at the age of twenty four, Haasan met and married danseuse Vani Ganapathy, who was elder to him. Vani put on the mantle of costume designer for her Haasan’s movies and was publicized for walking along with Haasan into the Filmfare Awards South ceremony of 1980, immediately after their wedding. The pair split after ten years together, after finding out that Haasan was involved in a physical relationship with fellow actress Sarika, with Haasan confirming in a recent interview that he and Vani have never been in touch since.
Subsequently, Haasan and Sarika married in 1988, with the pair having two children: Shruti Haasan (born 1986) a singer and actress, and Akshara Haasan (born 1990) a student in Chennai. Sarika, retired from acting roles soon after her marriage with Haasan, replacing his ex-wife, Vani Ganapathy as Haasan’s costume designer. The pair filed for divorce in 2002, with Sarika estranging herself from her children as well as Haasan by the end of the procedure in 2004. He is now living with actress Gouthami Tadimalla. 
|Awards and honours
Main article: List of Kamal Haasan’s awards, honours and recognitions:|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Kamal_Haasan%27s_awards,_honours_and_recognitions
Further information: Kamal Haasan filmography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamal_Haasan_filmography
1. ^ UCLA International Institute. 2005. Screening - Nayakan (Hero). Available from: http://www.international.ucla.edu/showevent.asp?eventid=3700. Accessed 15 February 2008.| 2. ^ UCLA School of Arts and Architecture. 2005. UCLA Year of the Arts — Program brochure. Available from: http://www.arts.ucla.edu/yoa/UCLA-YOA-brochure-0506.pdf. Accessed 15 February 2008.| 3. ^ Time Magazine. 2005. All-Time 100 Best Films. Available from: http://www.time.com/time/2005/100movies/the_complete_list.html. Accessed 13 February 2008.| 4. ^ http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/fr/2003/01/17/stories/2003011701310200.htm| 5. ^ Kumar, Rajitha (2000). “Kamal, as we know him”. Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/entertai/2000/nov/08kamal.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-30. | 6. ^ “Celebrity: Kamal Haasan”. Buzz18.in.com. 2009. http://buzz18.in.com/celebrity-profile/kamal-haasan/481. Retrieved 2009-06-30. | 7. ^ TR (2008). “Wasn’t Ranjith telling Sreevidya’s tale?”. Nowrunning.com. http://www.nowrunning.com/news/news.aspx?it=18176. Retrieved 2009-06-30. | 8. ^ “Slrrp! Slrrp!”. The Telegraph. 2005. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050304/asp/etc/story_4440550.asp. Retrieved 2009-06-30. | 9. ^ Jha, Subhash K. (2003). “‘My main concern is the kids’”. Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/231833.cms. Retrieved 2009-06-30. | 10. ^ The Hindu. “Life beyond labels”. http://www.hindu.com/mp/2008/07/05/stories/2008070551281200.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
* Kamal Haasan at the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0352032/
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamal_Haasan )