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Kamal Haasan says he held Dilip Kumar’s hand, ‘begged’ him to work in Thevar Magan Hindi remake: ‘I wanted to but he had decided…’

Kamal Haasan has been touring the country to promote his upcoming film Vikram. The Lokesh Kanagaraj directorial releases on June 3.

Written by Komal RJ Panchal | Mumbai |
Updated: May 29, 2022 9:48:31 am
Kamal HaasanKamal Haasan spoke about the time he asked Dilip Kumar to work with him. (Photo: Kamal Haasan/Twitter)

Kamal Haasan has been actively promoting his upcoming film Vikram all over India and in a recent event in Mumbai, the actor-filmmaker said that films speak a universal language and unite people from all walks of life.

The actor said, “Films speak a global language. We are a country with such diversity and fantastic unity. We, as a country, don’t speak one language but sing the National Anthem with pride. There is one sensibility that unites us all. Films participate in the duty of uniting people. This is the only place you don’t check the caste and status of the man sitting next to you in the cinema hall. You buy a ticket and that’s it.”

Kamal said that as long as an Indian film was succeeding, no matter what language, it is a cause for celebration. “It is not a South film that is succeeding, it’s an Indian film succeeding. That’s always better than a Hollywood film succeeding. Mughal-E-Azam, Sholay and so many others have seen national success. Mughal-E-Azam is not just intelligence, it’s guts. It took decades to make the film. We should respect each other. Films don’t have a single language, films always unite,” he said.

Haasan worked in many Hindi films in the 1980s namely Ek Duje Ke Liye, Saagar, among others. Here, he was asked what has changed since those times in the workings of both industries and the actor said, “nothing.” Talking about the success of RRR, KGF 2, Pushpa The Rise in the Hindi speaking belt, the actor recalled that even a film like Sholay had a similar effect in the Tamil film industry. “Like when Sholay came, some of the Tamil filmmakers said they will never let these (Hindi) films come here because they will never be able to make these movies so why should we allow them. They got scared of films like Sholay and many others,” he said.

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Kamal recalled that it was Gulzar’s 1973 film Achanak that inspired him to become a director. He recalled that watching films like those, even when he did not understand the language, had a profound effect on him. “I wanted to become a director and not an actor when I saw Achanak, what a great film. I didn’t speak the language but cinema spoke to me. It doesn’t matter whether it is Mughal-E-Azam or Achanak or Padosan, it touches my heart. Nothing has changed except the audience having newer experiences and forgetting the older memories. I am closer to the audience today than my predecessors,” he said.

Kamal Haasan started his career as an actor in 1973 with K. Balachander’s Arangetram and next year, he will complete 50 years in the film industry as an actor. When asked if his process of signing films has changed that actor casually said, “I am on a holiday and they pay me for it. I love my work, I love cinema as much as you do.” He added, “I sign it (film) with the same love as I sign an autograph. I live up to the promise whether or not I have signed on that paper. I am a lawyer’s son so I do understand the importance of papers otherwise the papers don’t matter. My paper is my tongue and my pen is my mind.”

kamal haasan vikram trailer Vikram is helmed by Lokesh Kanagaraj.

The Vishwaroopam actor opened up about his one regret in nearly 50 years of working in cinema and shared that he really missed Dilip Kumar and had missed working with him. Remembering the legendary actor, he said, “I love acting with actors. There’s one actor whom I miss and I really wanted to work with, he was Dilip Kumar. I really held Dilip saab’s hand and begged him but he had decided not to act. I wanted to make Thevar Magan with him and me, but it didn’t happen so I gave it to another friend and he made it with Anil Kapoor saab and Amrish Puri saab (as Virasat).”

Vikram, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, also stars Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil. The film will release in Tamil and Hindi on June 3.

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