Kamal Haasan who earlier won the Padma Shri is happy to have moved forward in the Padma hierarchy, more so since he rubs shoulders with the likes of painter Ghulam Mohammed Shaikh and scientist Padmanabhan Balaram.
Kamal said, “I’m happy to have got it during my lifetime. Sometimes achievers are forgotten in this country. I am humbled that I’ve been chosen.”
Kamal is doubly happy as he gets to share the Padmabhshan honour with educationist and poet Vairamuthu Ramasamy Thevar. “He’s my colleague. He has written the lyrics of many of my chartbuster songs. The honour was long overdue. He could’ve disappeared 20 years ago and he would still be the legend that he is today. For me to rub shoulders with Vairamuthu is a dream come true.”
He’s also delighted to share the honour with Hindustani classical vocalist Begum Parveen Sultana but he is saddened by the lack of encouragement for talented professionals. “So many poets and scientists are languishing. Poetry is to this day not regarded as proper vocation. In Chachi 420 I had this dialogue where I tell someone I am an assistant choreographer. ‘Who toh theek hai lekin aap kaam kya karte hain?’ was the reply. We have to learn to grant respect to every field of activity. That would be the real test and strength of the Padma awards.”