CHENNAI: As he continued to remain in the red zone at Kauvery Hospital’s ICU, filmmaker K Balachander developed an urinary tract infection. Kauvery’s Director of Medical Services Dr T Venkatachalam, in a brief statement, said : “He is still critical, but we have managed to keep him stable. He is receiving the best of care.” Beside him stood Dr Lakshipathy Ramesh, who is constantly on call in this bid to stabilize and revitalize the 84-year-old veteran.
The absence of Kamal Haasan, who has often spoken of how close he is to KB, would have been noticeable, had the actor not explained his absence in a scripted video, released online early on Tuesday. In a part-nostalgic, part-explanatory statement, Kamal Haasan said, “I am here in LA, as important finishing portions are being shot, I received word that KB was critical. I called his assistant Mohan and he said, ‘He is awake but he hasn’t spoken to anyone in three days. Why don’t you try talking to him,’ he said and handed me the phone, without warning. ‘Hello, Kamal’ came the
faint voice, that I have come to recognise over the last 43 years. No matter how weak, I will always recognise his voice. I told him that the movie work was going on, so I would finish it and visit him. After a long pause of one-and-a-half minutes, I did not understand what he tried to tell me. But I kept saying ‘yes’ and ‘let it be sir’ at regular intervals. After some time, we both realised that I was responding at the wrong instances and he laughed gently, before handing the phone back to his assistant.”
Explaining his absence, Kamal said, “Returning without finishing my work is something that not just I, but the man who taught me this trade - KB, will not desire. My only desire is if possible, to play the movie for him and more importantly, to ask him what he told me during those 1.5 minutes. If neither come true, then I will ponder over what all he might have said in those precious minutes and the experiences I have had with him will help me do that.”
The Apoorva Ragangal star is currently shooting for Ramesh Aravind’s film Utthama Villain, which he recalled, KB asked to watch a while ago. “’Kamal finish the film fast, I will watch it and leave,’ he told me without a smidgen of double meaning, he told me. My thoughts are always with him,” he said. As a clincher Kamal said quietly, “If it is possible, please rise up again.”