Clearly making an effort to hold back tears, Kamal Haasan said he was seriously considering relocating to another country to pursue his art, like the late M F Husain who accepted Qatari citizenship in the final years of his life after facing repeated opposition from Hindu groups over his paintings.
Speaking at his Eldams road office, a dilapidated house which once belonged to his father, the actor’s voice was choked and his eyes bleary. “Tamil Nadu does not want me. I am a proud Tamilian, but people do not see my films with a secular eye. I will search for a secular state from Kashmir to Kerala. If I can’t find a place where my art is accepted, then I will scour the world till I find a secular country,” he said.
“Haasan will become like M F Husain,” he said. How seriously he was considering the move was revealed when he said his brother Chandra Haasan had urged him to resettle. “He told me that I’m an ulaganayagan (the sobriquet given by his fans, meaning universal hero) and could go make a life abroad where I am appreciated,” he said.
That Kamal has been grappling with financial insecurity through a large part of his career, is something of an open secret, courtesy his love for ambitious movie projects. So moved was he that he made a clean breast of everything. “I have made lots of money and let it all become zero thrice in my life—first, when I made Rajapaarvai, second, in 1986 (when he produced the ambitious spy-thriller Vikram) and third, now (with Vishwaroopam),” he recounted.
“I have no shame in telling you this, but I have pledged all the land and property I have around Chennai and invested it in the film. And it still wasn’t enough,” he said, referring to the `95 crore budget for Vishwaroopam.
He said he would lose it all if he is not able to pay it back in a short time.