MUMBAI: South film star Kamal Haasan may have worked with many great performers throughout his acting career, but one artist he desperately wanted to team up with was cinema icon Dilip Kumar.
Haasan, a self-confessed fan of Kumar, was keen to work alongside the late acting great in the Hindi remake of his film "Thevar Magan".
The film was later adapted by Priyadarshan in Hindi as "Virasat" with Anil Kapoor and Amrish Puri playing the father-son duo.
Written and produced by Haasan and directed by Bharathan, the 1992 Tamil-language drama revolves around a respected village chieftain's son (Haasan) who wants to open his own business, whereas his father (Sivaji Ganesan) wants him to return to his roots.
"There's one actor whom I miss and I really wanted to work with. I really held his hand and begged him but he had decided not to act, Dilip Kumar sahab. I wanted to make 'Thevar Magan' with him," the actor said at the promotional event of his upcoming film "Vikram" here.
"It didn't happen so I gave it to another friend and he made it with Anil Kapoor sahab and Amrish Puri sahab," Haasan said. "Vikram", the much-anticipated Tamil drama directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, features Haasan alongside superstars Fahadh Faasil and Vijay Sethupathi.
The 67-year-old star may have missed the chance to share the screen space with Kumar but feels happy he was working in the Hindi cinema when the late actor was also active.
"I never thought I would meet him. He came and shook hands at the silver jubilee of 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye'," Haasan said recalling the success of the 1981 film.
The National Award winner, who has been part of the film industry for close to five decades and has worked across languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, and Bengali, said it is his love for cinema that drives him to work even today.
"I never went to any university so when I speak English, it is what I learnt out of school. I am always nervous and I go back and check. In those days, we didn't have Google or Wikipedia to check, so you have to be right. I am still learning and that's why it is a holiday for me. I never threw my hat off and said I am a graduate," he said.
Haasan calls himself a film buff and said if not an actor, he would still be watching movies as an audience. The actor is also happy with the boom in digital space as it gives him an opportunity to revisit old classics.
"With OTT, my life has become better because I go back to old films and watch films that I enjoy. We don't realise the kind of values that we have. We make fun of our films, saying what films the West makes. They also make silly films (but) what we remember are the great ones."
"We keep comparing their best in the world. Compare our best with their best and then you will realise that 'Mughal-E-Azam' is no less than a David Lean film. You will see the core seed for 'First Blood' came from 'Achanak'. I am that kind of film buff," he added. "Vikram" is set to release theatrically on June 3.