When Kamal Haasan led young Kalidas to the dais at the launch of his Kollywood debut, the moment seemed surreal to the youngster’s dad, actor Jayaram. “In my youth days, in the small village of Sirgudi, I would sneak off with friends to catch the latest movies in Kumbakonam, several miles away. We would watch three shows a day, in order to get our money’s worth for the trip we could not afford. When I first saw Kamal Haasan in Maro Charitra during those days, I was amazed by his acting. I never ever dreamt that I would act with him one day. And I could never imagine that he would be introducing my son to the industry,” said Jayaram.
Kalidas won a National Award and Kerala State award as a child artiste for the Malayalam flick Ente Veedu Appuentei. But now, Vasan’s Visual Ventures’ Oru Pakka Kathai (OPK) directed by Balaji Tharaneetharan, will be his Kollywood launch pad as an adult. Speaking in fluent Tamil, Kalidas says, “I’ve done my schooling at the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan school in Chennai. I just graduated in Visual Communication from Loyola College. I always wanted to act, but my parents insisted that I study first.”
Judging from his debut film Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, Balaji is going against the usual formula with OPK too. Ask Kalidas why he chose OPK as his launch pad?
He says, “I’ve been getting lots of offers. But I wanted to start with a simple, down-to-earth role which I could relate to, and not something larger than life. So, when OPK came my way, I thought it was the perfect launch. I’ve seen Balaji’s NKPK many times and loved it.”
And what has been dad’s advice? “He just told me to just be myself and not change,” says the soft-spoken youngster with a smile.
But Kamal did have a word of advice for the him. “I don’t believe that it’s the DNA that makes a good actor. Acting is all about hardwork. I’m glad Kalidas is familiar with cinema. That way, he’ll understand all the aspects . With an unusual name like Kalidas, he already has a good advantage,” he said.
Kamal left his shoot for the Tamil remake of Drishyam in Thoothukudi, just for the launch. “I have come here for the close relationship I share with Jayaram. Cinema is like a family for me. This is the least I can do,” said Kamal. OPK goes on floors in October. The camerawork is by Premkumar, while the heroine will be finalised soon.