Kamal speaks to TNM about why he made 'Vishwaroopam', the risks involved, and his entry into politics.

I got bored by the usual stories in Tamil cinema Kamal on Vishwaroopam 2 to TNM
Flix Interview Thursday, August 02, 2018 - 12:56

Take a look at the world and bring up five names of people who know each and every aspect of filmmaking, and it’s impossible to stray away from the man Kamal Haasan. The actor, is considered by many to be a boon to cinema, and it is an experience of a lifetime to interact, exchange thoughts, learn and explore his vision.

TNM spoke to Kamal ahead of the release of Vishwaroopam-2, which will hit the screens on August 10. Contrary to popular belief, Kamal says that Vishwaroopam was a script that he had locked more than ten years ago, including its premise and character sketches.

“And right from then, I had decided that the film would be made in two parts. So much of research and homework had gone into the writing phase that we didn’t want to squeeze it into a 3 hour film. It required a lot of detailing and heart, which could only have been done in a two-parter," he says.

Kamal also recalled his meeting with The Lord of the Rings producer Barrie Osborne, who had lauded him for this ‘decision of passion’, saying that it was a huge gamble to bring about a single story over the course of multiple parts, hoping that the first film will succeed and hold the interest of audiences all the way. The first part of Vishwaroopam is majorly remembered today for the fantastic action sequence that arrives at the 45th minute of the film. It was definitely a huge turnaround which organised a large amount of shock value for the viewer.

Asking the actor about the high action screenplay in Vishwaroopam, he cites an example, "After close to 90 minutes in Enga Veetu Pillai, we get an eye-opening moment when MGR is hit with a whip. Until that scene, our mind is travelling in a different direction and we are brought to an exciting juncture where the film breaks another door. In that film it was just a whip, but in today’s world, we’ve increased the danger and stakes to up the standards of our stunt-work. Eventually, it becomes easier for the audience to invest their attention in the film, the interest level gets better.”

Even at the age of 63, the actor has taken the plunge to do all the stunts in the film by himself, without using body doubles.

“Training regularly is important to keep oneself in shape. Due to air-conditioned sets everywhere, it is tougher for an actor to keep himself fit because the muscles get cold really fast. This wasn’t happening in the early days," he shares.

At a time when mainstream heroes fear to touch delicate subjects, Kamal Haasan has opted to talk about terrorism, the Al Qaeda and play a Muslim protagonist in this film. Isn’t it risky? We ask him and he replies, “I got really bored of the usual stories in Tamil cinema. A majority of love stories in our industry are centered on a single question – will the father agree? Trust me, I was really shocked when my friend told me that even Thevar Magan revolved around the same question. Cinema is a representation of our society, but there are many more things than what meets the eye. When people in Hollywood are easily churning out spy thrillers, why is that genre so rarely accessed in our land? Through Vishwaroopam, it was my wish to bring in a gritty, gory espionage thriller that hasn’t been done in India. My most important thought, was to not dilute the material. Many films have done it in the past.”

Playing the role of a producer apart from a writer, director and actor in Vishwaroopam-2, Kamal has various things to take care of, right from the birth of the idea to the smooth screening of the film in theatres. With such added responsibility, it must be getting harder to concentrate on the film’s core?

Commenting on this, he says “Market factors aren’t a chemistry thing, they keep changing. People here are trying to formulate it, and that’s not what’s right. The aesthetics won’t work out if you try to look at multiplying money, you will get crass movies if you try to simplify the modus operandi. It’s important to crack that one single idea that will convert into something big. The industry has lost the respect between engineering and reverse engineering. The latter is easy to do, the former not so much. You make a dwarf film after 30 years, it is still relatable. And that’s why, I strive for uniqueness.”

Vishwaroopam-2 is undoubtedly one of the actor’s last films, as he will be taking the jump into his political career after Indian-2, the upcoming venture with director Shankar. The pre-production and casting work is currently underway, with the shoot planned to go on floors by the end of the year. Speaking about his exit from cinema, he says “Nobody in politics will work for a salary of a rupee, that’s all true lies. I’m accumulating money for my future and the road hereon. People believe me right now because they know that I will not steal from them, and have a place of my own. Once I take up a responsibility, even if it is the seat of an MLA, my film cycle has to be stopped.”

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