The command of commerce over art in cinema is an ongoing debate, but few stars admit it. South superstar Kamal Haasan though has no qualms confessing that actors in cinema are nothing but players for the market. “Be it any Hindi actor or us, we’re all playing for the market. We’re not happy but we behave according to the market,” he says.
Kamal believes that one of the core reasons is that people are not educated about films. “Film is a language and some people are not literate in it. A film by Michaelangelo Antonioni will not work here until people can comprehend the nuances of such works,” he asserts.
In the course of the conversation, he admits being unable to adapt many scripts he liked. “I would rate that as one of the biggest regrets of my life. Over the years, I have liked many scripts but they just couldn’t materialise into films. I feel sad that many times I couldn’t do films due to market demands; there were scripts begging to be made. I think not doing those good scripts amounts to infanticide,” he says.
His film Unnaipol Oruvan has just been released in the south to enthusiastic response. The film is a remake of A Wednesday and has not been released in Mumbai yet. “The film is not a complete remake. It has been tweaked to suit the taste of South Indian audiences. Naseerbhai has played his role brilliantly but I’ve done it in my own way.” On working with another star, Mohanlal, he says, “I like working with good actors.”
His last film Dasavathaaram broke box office records in the South but failed to do well in Mumbai. “It was one of the biggest hits of my career. It didn’t do well in Mumbai because it was dubbed. A film like Mughal-e-Azam did not work in the South, but you can’t take away its due just because it didn’t work there,” he asserts.
The actor also reveals that he was offered Quickgun Murugan, the cowboy comic caper which created a stir with its clever packaging. “I didn’t do the movie because though the concept might be new in Mumbai and the Hindi belt, it holds nothing interesting for the South. These kind of movies have been done and I myself have acted in two movies like that. There was no novelty factor,” he signs off.