When half the shooting for his upcoming flick Papanasam was done, Kamal Haasan had a look at the rushes. As he ran through the footage, possibly comparing it with the performances in the original Malayalam film Drishyam, he had only one regret, "I felt guilty when I saw the rushes half way through that I had kept a good actress locked at home," he admitted on Thursday, nearly a year after Gautami and him had completed a bulk of the shooting. "I'm saying this not out of personal interest but as a fan. She has really excelled herself by coming back to the screen now," said Kamal, who has been in a relationship with Gautami for over a decade now.
Gautami quit films in 1998, after she completed Seeman's Iniyavale and hasn't acted in a full length feature film since. Papnasam marks her return to the big screen as she plays the role of Kamal's wife on screen - a role made famous by Meena in the original Drishyam. "As far as I'm concerned she is a top actress," said Kamal who has acted with both the ageing starlets years ago, "It's up to her about when she wants to act. I can assure you it won't be in my next because the cast has been fixed for that already," he laughed.
Gautami was a little surprised at all the praise - because all he'd said till then was 'it was ok. You didn't make any mistakes'. Reflecting on her self-imposed hiatus, a period during which she battled cancer, she said, "I haven't had any regrets for not acting all these years. I've had a few other priorities. It's a comeback in so many ways for me," she said quietly.
Three things you probably didn't know about Kamal Haasan that people realised when they made Papanasam:
He can actually say 'I don't know'
Writer Suka who worked with Jayamohan to get the Nellai accent bang on for the cast - seeing as how Kamal's big on authenticity - said that was stunned on the first day of the shoot, "Kamal came up to me and said 'I don't know this. Tell me exactly how to say it and I will repeat it like a parrot.' It was a humbling experience for me to watch his do it exactly the way we suggested and get the slang right," said the writer who was roped in for creative enhancement. Though people say that Kamal cannot help but get extremely involved with the script and direction of any film he's involved with, Suka said that his experience was the exact opposite of that notion.
He shoots super fast and wrapped it up in 39 days
When Sripriya canned the Telugu version of Drishyam in 40 days, she said that she had a huge chip on her shoulder about the speed with which they'd managed it. Producing Papanasam along with a host of others, she said that she was shocked when Kamal and the crew managed to finish a longer version in 39 days flat, "You couldn't let me have even this? You had to beat me by one day and steal my thunder," she said jokingly to the actor, with whom she had acted in her heyday.
He doesn't like people taking photos of him on their mobile phones
Kamal isn't camera shy. But he is impulsive when it comes to people taking camera pictures of him without asking for permission. With Papanasam dealing with how things can go wrong when a young man shoots a clip of his daughter bathing, Kamal spoke about the intrusion principle, "Technology will keep coming, we've got to use it for good. The one thing I don't like is that everyone takes pictures of people all the time. And I think it's because of the ads. It's a nuisance, people just infringe on my piracy. They take pictures before asking. It's like they're infringing on my space," he said strongly.