Kamal Haasan says ‘pan-India films’ like KGF and RRR are nothing new

Veteran actor Kamal Haasan on Thursday said the term ‘pan-India’ film was nothing but a “new coinage”. The actor argued that Indian cinema–regardless of language–has always churned out films that have worked across the country. The actor said that K Asif’s 1960 classic Mughal-e-Azam and the 1965 Malayalam hit Chemmeen were examples of the earliest pan-India films. Also read: Kamal Haasan says he is glad audience is awaiting his comeback: ‘They could have just shrugged and looked the other way’

Kamal Haasan has worked in over 200 films across several languages. While he has been very successful in Tamil cinema, he has done a large body of work in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and Bengali film industries as well. Speaking at an event in Delhi on Wednesday, Kamal said the success of a pan-India project depends on its universal appeal and quality of filmmaking.

“When you pan for gold, you pan for new words, coinages. Pan-India (films) have always been there,” the 67-year-old said in response to a question from PTI. He was speaking at the promotional event of his upcoming film Vikram, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj.

The actor gave some examples of films that he considered pan-India, since they were successful across the country. He said, “Shantaram ji (V Shantaram) did pan-India films. Padosan is a pan-India film. Mehmood ji almost spoke Tamil in the film. What do you call Mughal-e-Azam? It’s a pan India film for me. It’s nothing new. Our country is unique. Unlike America, we speak different languages but we are united. That’s the beauty of this country. We will always be making pan-India films. It depends on how good and universal the film is. Then, everyone would like to see it. Chemmeen, a Malayalam film, was a pan India film. They didn’t even dub it, there were no subtitles and people enjoyed it.”

The veteran actor also spoke about the recent success of south films like RRR and KGF: Chapter 2, both of which have grossed over 1000 crore worldwide and done better business than most Bollywood films in the Hindi belt as well. Asked to weigh in on the north and south cinema debate, the actor simply said, “I am an Indian. What are you? Taj Mahal is mine, Madurai temple is yours. Kanyakumari is as much yours as Kashmir is mine.”

Kamal is returning to the screen after a four-year hiatus with Vikram. Billed as a high-octane action drama, the film also stars Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil along with Kalidas Jayaram, Narain, Antony Varghese and Arjun Das in supporting roles. Suriya also has a cameo in the film.

Asked about working with Faasil and Sethupathi, Haasan said the experience was like “a good meal best shared”. He said, “My guru Mr K Balachander taught me how to enjoy sharing the screen space and not to steal the show. Both the brothers were admirers of mine, so it felt like a felicitation.”

Though its plot details are scarce, the actor described “Vikram” as a “responsible” film that was not a fairy tale. Kamal has also backed the movie via his production banner Raaj Kamal Films International. Vikram is slated to be released worldwide on June 3.

(With PTI inputs)



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