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Kamal Haasan Biography

Kamal Haasan (Tamil : கமல்ஹாசன்) (born November 7, 1954, in Paramakkudi, Tamil Nadu, India) is a highly acclaimed and highly versatile Indian film actor whose work is mainly based in the south Indian film industry. Kamal Hassan is also a critically acclaimed actor and also a box office hit maker, his recent films from the year 2000 to 2006 such as Vettaiyaddu Villayadu (Rs 450 million), Vasool Raja MBBS (Rs 400 million) and Thenali (Rs 300 million) are money spinner's at the box offices not only in India but Internationally too.

Early life

Kamal was born to Srinivasan and Rajalakshmi as their fourth and youngest child. His father gave all three of his sons the suffix of "Haasan" as a sign of his friendship to one Mr. Haasan. Kamal entered the film world as a child actor at the tender age of 6 in the film Kalathur Kannamma and has been associated with the film world since then. Kamal learnt the fine arts in his early years instead of school work. As a teenager, he started working as an assistant choreographer in movies and it was during this time that his long and fruitful association with notable Tamil film director, K. Balachander began.

alised films for a major portion of his career, but then moved away from the purely commercial ventures. He is also a trained playback singer and sometimes pens the lyrics for the soundtracks of some of his recent films. He is an able performer of the Bharatanatyam dance form. He had assisted in choreography early in his career. He is easily the greatest actor Tamil cinema has ever produced.


Kamal made his screen debut with Kalathur Kannamma at the age of six and it won him the first National Award for Best Child Artist. He followed it with appearances as a child actor in movies that featured MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Nagesh and Gemini Ganesh.


In seventies Kamal entered in to cinema at full swing. Apart from acting in Tamil films, he was also cast during this period in Malayalam films directed by some of the leading Malayalam directors of the day. Though he was already introduced as an adult hero in earlier films like Avargal, Aval Oru Thodarkathai, Solla Thaan Ninaikkiren, Maanavan and Kumara Vijayam, it was in the film 16 Vayathinile, with Sridevi, that established him as a popular teen idol at the age of 23. Kamal Haasan and Sri Devi were a popular acting pair and have acted together in 23 films. The year following his appearance in 16 Vayathinile, Kamal Haasan acted in director K. Balachander's Telugu hit Maro Charithra.

During the 1970s, he has played a host of characters that include:

* a ventriloquist in Avargal
* a village innocent in 16 Vayathinile
* a disco jockey in Ilamai Oonjaladugiradhu
* a psychopath serial killer of women in Sigappu Rojakkal
* a buck-toothed villager in Kalyanaraman
* Aladdin in Alavudheenum Arpudha Vilakkum


His first attempt at direction came through an unfortunate turn of events with the demise of director T.N. Baalu during the filming of Sankarlal in 1981. Kamal reached superstardom in 1979 with multiple classics and mass blockbusters which coincided with the decline of MGR/Sivaji era in movies (MGR quit movies in 1977 while Sivaji, nevertheless continued to act till the 90s). Kamal has managed to hold off competition successfully till date by differentiating his films in scripts, roles and get-ups.

In this period, he has played amongst other roles, :

* a blind violinist in Raja Paarvai at the age of 27 (first screenplay by Kamal)
* a classical dancer in Saagara Sangamam
* a mentally challenged man who falls in love in Swathi Muthyam
* an undercover cop in Kaaki Sattai
* an underworld don in Nayagan (Leader) at the age of 33 (directed by Mani Ratnam)
* an unemployed youth who chances upon a week of opulence in the silent movie Pushpak
* an honest cop, a dwarf circus clown and a fun-loving mechanic in Apoorva Sagodharargal at the age of 35 (screenplay by Kamal)
* a corrupt mayor in Indrudu Chandrudu, Telugu

Apoorva Sagodharargal, which released in 1989, was the first Kamal film to gross almost Rs.100 million at the box office.


Kamal's second attempt at direction came through another unfortunate turn of events when the original director Shantanu Sheroey failed to do a good job while filming Chachi 420 in 1997. Inspired by the European style of closer-to-reality docu-dramas, Kamal moved decisively towards making films for select classes in the 90s, isolating some of his ardent fans.

In this period, he has played:

* as a Doctor in hilarious tamil movie "Sathy Leelavathy"
* as quadruplets in the comedy Michael Madhana Kamarajan
* as an old and highly-corrupt mayor in Indiran Chandiran
* a mentally-challenged man in the romance Guna
* a modern youth turned villager in Thevar Magan at the age of 38 (written and produced by Kamal)
* a hapless villager who lost and re-discovers his family in a metropolis in Mahanadhi
* a revolutionary lecturer in Nammavar
* a special police squad officer against terrorism in Kuruthipunal
* a righteous old revolutionary as well as his corrupt son in Indian
* an old au pair nanny in Avvai Shanmugi (an adaptation of the film Mrs. Doubtfire) at the age of 42

Unlike the eighties, Kamal films in the nineties lost sheen and were less successful. However, Indian and Avai Shanmugi which both released in 1996 grossed almost Rs.200 million at the box office marking a new peak in his career.


Kamal's multi-faceted talent came to the fore in off-screen departments like direction, scripting, screenplay, special effects and these reached full bloom in this decade.

Again, he has played diverse roles in this period, which include:

* a pair of twins (one of which is a deranged psychopath) in Aalavandhan
* an ardent bachelor turned lover in Pammal K Sambandam
* a randy pilot in the comedy caper Panchathanthiram
* a disabled altruist in Anbe Sivam
* a rustic wrongly jailed for the murder of his lover in Virumaandi (directed by Kamal)
* a deaf circus stuntman in Mumbai Express at the age of 51
* an old age student of MBBS degree, Vasool Raja M.B.B.S, a remake of Hindi film, Munna Bai M.B.B.S
* as DCP Raghavan, a smart and suave policeman with his "Raghavan instinct" out to trace a serial psychopath killer duo in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu

Thenali, which released in 2000, was the first Kamal film to gross almost Rs.300 million at the box office. Vasoolraja MBBS grossed almost Rs.400 million and Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu mopped up Rs.450 million at the box office. These back-to-back blockbusters proved his persistent hold on Kollywood and silenced critics.


Kamal is a three-time winner of the National Film Award for Best Actor for the films Nayagan, Moondram Pirai, and Indian. He also won the national award for Best Child Actor for his performance in Kalathoor Kannamma. He has also received the best actor award at the Asian Film festivals held in 1983 and 1985 for Saagara Sangamam and Swathi Muthyam respectively. Six of his movies have been sent as India's official entry to the Oscars- The only actor to achieve this feat in the sub-continent. Kamal has won the Filmfare awards 18 times. He was awarded the fourth highest recognition given to Indian civilians - the Padmashri in 1990. He was conferred an honorary doctorate by Sathyabama Deemed University, Chennai in 2005. Kamal haasan has won a total of 171 awards which is more than any other actor in the world living or dead. He was named as "kalaignani" meaning - an idol of art, by M. Karunanidhi for his classical work towards tamil cinema. In his upcoming film Dasavatharam, he is playing 10 different roles, an act which is the second of its kind in the world, after the Tamil movie Dambachari (1936).

Career as a film producer

Owing to his immense popularity in the Indian film industry, Kamal began producing films. He began with Raja Paarvai in 1981. A more recent production was the film Virumaandi in 2004. His privately held production house Raj Kamal Films produced several classics like Apoorva Sagodharargal, Thevar Magan, Kuruthipunal etc. His more recent production ventures include the films Virumaandi and Mumbai Xpress.

His magnum opus, Marudha Naayagam, is a period film set in early 18th century Madurai about a warrior/freedom fighter Yusuf Khan Sahib or Muhammed Yusuf Khan. The film's launch was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II. However, the film is yet to be made.

In 2005, he launched a new business unit called Raj Kamal Audio in a drive to corporatise all his film commitments. In 2006, he purchased prime real estate for a state-of-the-art multiplex cinema.

Personal life

Kamal Haasan was married to Vani Ganapathy. He later had a live in relationship with Sarika with whom he has two daughters (Shruthi and Akshara) and with whom he is now separated.


Kamal is the first actor to turn his fan clubs into registered non-profit service organizations.He indulges in many charity work through his fan clubs by helping the needy. Fan clubs all over celebrate his birthday with some or the other charity work across the state.


Listed below is the best guesstimate available of Kamal's 240-odd releases till date in at least six regional markets.

* 1960 - Tamil debut
* 1962 - Malayalam debut
* 1977 - Bengali debut
* 1977 - Kannada debut
* 1977 - Telugu debut
* 1977 - Hindi debut


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