There is no doubt that Kamal Haasan is an actor par excellence. He has essayed different types of roles in his career spanning more than five decades and is still going strong. However, I feel that it’s his passion for filmmaking that is being empathized by the critics and audiences alike more than his works. Well, let me be more clear..
In his initial days, Kamal Haasan had acted in Malayalam films too and carved a niche for himself. Also, while his Tamil films are dubbed into Telugu, they have a direct release in Kerala. Kamal Haasan has tried his luck in Hindi too and had few genuine hits like Chachi 420, Saagar, and Ek Dujhe Ke Liye. Well, but that’s not the topic of concern here because he is a distinguished personality from this angle.
As far as direction is concerned it is something of an irony that Kamal Haasan’s directorial ventures were not embraced by the masses totally, an exception being Chachi 420, which was directed by him in Hindi. He also went on to receive the award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for that film of 1997. But that is not the case with his Tamil films that he directed.
Virumaandi, Hey Ram, and Vishwaroopam that were directed by Kamal Haasan may show reports of being box office hits (I am not very sure about the box office results so not delving too much into that) but to the tell, the truth these movies were incomprehensible in the first watch. They had to be watched again and again to get the essence of the movie. But generally, audiences don’t prefer to watch those films that are of heavy stuff again and again. After all, most of the times people watch films for entertainment! However, there are certain films with strong messages and those that are offbeat that strikes the chord with the audience.
On the whole, I feel that Kamal Haasan was at his best with his very own mentor K Balachander and later under the direction of K S Ravikumar. With Ravi Kumar, he had worked in movies like Thenali, Pancha Thanthiram, (Thenali and Panchathanthiram worked for its comedy) Dasavatharam (again Dasavatharam is not his finest work), etc.
So, I will not do justice to this article if I don’t list the bests of Kamal Haasan not considering their box office collection. The list is as follows:
Most of the works with Kamal associated with K Balachander, Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu, Nammavar, Kuridhi Punal, Thevar Magan, Apoorva Sagotharargal, Nayakan, Papanasam, Anbe Sivam, Ek Dujhe Ke Liye, Moondram Pirai, Michael Madhana Kamarajan, Sagara Sangamam, Avvai Shanmugi, Chachi 420, Mahanadhi, Swathi Muthyam, Indian, Thenali, Panchathanthiram, Apoorva Ragangal, Sigappu Rojakkal, 16 Vayathinile, Vasool Raja MBBS, Pammal K Sambandham, and Vikram.
Well, I didn’t find Guna that appealing so didn’t include it in the list!
So to sum up, I feel the best of the iconic Kamal Haasan is yet to come keeping in mind that nothing is permanent except change!