I Have to Achieve Enough to Deserve Padma Bhushan, Says Kamal Haasan - The New Indian Express

I Have to Achieve Enough to Deserve Padma Bhushan, Says Kamal Haasan

Published: 27th January 2014 02:58 PM

Last Updated: 27th January 2014 03:02 PM

Kaamal Haasan
Exactly a year ago, actor Kamal Haasan sat on the same old flight of stairs in his home-turned-office in Alwarpet with a grim expression, talking about the travails of his film, Vishwaroopam. But it was a more relaxed Kamal who spoke from the stairs on Republic Day 2014, expressing happiness and humility over being awarded India’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan.

No stranger to controversy, Kamal had faced a particularly tough one last year, when Muslim groups objected to the release of Vishwaroopam, which featured a Muslim Indian intelligence operative infiltrating the ranks of a ruthless warlord of the Al-Qaeda. Whether experience taught him is anybody’s guess, but Kamal painted a picture of humility over the Padma Bhushan.

“I love my country, and it has given me this honour. There are thousands who are more deserving than I in receiving this award. It is too kind. I do not consider this an award for the work I have already done, but am going to think of it as an incentive to work in a way that justifies the award,” said Kamal. “I have always been slow, right from school. So, I now have to catch up to the award I have been given,” he added.

He dedicated the award to all those around him — his colleagues in the film industry, his family and his fans. “I haven’t done anything by myself. Everything that I am seen to have achieved has been done with the effort and toil of hundreds of others. I have been given this award before it was given to those who taught me everything about what I do,” Kamal said.

This was a message he obligingly repeated in Tamil, English, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. He also expressed great happiness at having to accept the award ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with lyricist Vairamuthu, and conveyed his regards to him.

“For an artiste, it is not awards that bring satisfaction and happiness, but the practice of their art. I want to help take India to the International stage in my field. India has reached that in a number of fields. But, mercantile success is not everything. Cultural success is important too, and I do not mean the rituals,” said Kamal.

“What I actually want is to earn an unshakeable place in the hearts of fans. I do not think I have achieved that yet. I at least want to figure in a long list of that account,” he added.

Kamal also ruled out a possible autobiography in the pipeline. “I am against autobiographies. They are an attempt to tell a story in a particular way, and that usually ends up offending everyone else. In that sense, autobiographies always lie. No one experiments with truth,” he declared.

Kamal also revealed that his next project, Viswaroopam-2, is nearing completion and can be expected to hit screens in a matter of three or four months. He said he had been awaiting permission from the military to shoot a song sequence, and that it had been granted recently. He said the post-production and computer graphics work would start after the shoot.

Kamal also tiptoed around questions over protectionist tendencies, in the context of bans on dubbing, that are creeping into the many film industries, saying they had drawbacks as well as merits. “Protectionism is not going to save the industry. But, not protecting is also not the answer. I am not able to give a clear answer because I stand to gain from both propositions,” he said.

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