Kamal Hassan & his Avataram

He was blessed to be an actor and started young, actually very young, when he was six years. He handled the camera as a pro, and unlike many child prodigies he did not disappear from the screen but over the years adapted himself to the demands of the film world and public expectations. His ability to subtly move away from established formulas yet give entertaining & commercially viable cinema is a tribute to his acumen as a business man producer and to his acting talents. He has established a unique slot in the cinema world on par with other greats of Tamil Cinema like superstar Rajinkanth, and former actors (late) MGR, & Shivaji.

His movies captured the overtones of politics of the Indian landscape which are reflected very subtly in some of his movies. The latest in that series is his movie Dasaavataram. Let’s look into the controversy.

Mr. Kama Hassan had attempted to hit multiple birds with this single stone called Dasaavataram
a) He wanted to do one better then the great Tamil actor Shivaji who donned nine roles in his film Navaratri. So career wise this was a good move.
b) He was trying to point out the differences between various Hindu groups. Note the starting line of the movie which says, that long before Allah and Jesus came to India Hindus still had religious grounds with in their own religion to fight with each other. Was he trying to give a message to Hindu groups to awaken before it’s too late?
c) In a graphic description of the fight between the Shiva and Vishnu worshippers in that movie he shows this real disturbing scenes like the big statue of Lord Vishnu being dug out of its foundation. With Anti-Hindu forces making lot of effort and succeeding in isolation of digging their claws into the foundation of Hinduism this scene was like driving a psychological nail into the minds of an Hindu in Tamilnadu who is already trying it recover from the acts of the confused atheist Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi and the Impulsive former chief minister Ms.Jayalalitha.
d) As a shrewd investor in the world of film financing he knew that there is no better advertisement then a good controversy. And his style of controversy means triggering it in favor of the any political establishment which is in power. Presently Hindu bashing is a rewarding option with both the central and state governments and he felt it was in his financial interests with no personal risks to him, and like any business man in India he took advantage. It was a financial success.

Congratulations to Mr. Kamal Hassan as all the birds he aimed to hit got hit hard.

Reasons for protest:
a) Title: Dasa-avataram as every Hindu knows is the tenth impending incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Hindu God Vishnu has taken 9 avatars the last one being lord Krishna and the word Dasaavataram is much revered. It is just not fair that he uses a revered Hindu name as a title for his movies to attract millions of Hindu movie goers and then trick them into psychological subjugation by showing scenes which belittle Hinduism. There is a lot of anger kicked off in Hindu minds because of this cheap promotion strategy of Mr.Kamalhassan. Though this anger is genuine it cannot be justified legally. If Film makers, writers & artists, wish to have their freedom of expression untouched they should be neutral or bold enough to portray intra-religious clashes of all religions. There would have been no protest from Hindu groups if at some part of the movie showed a Muslim vs. Muslim issue or Christian vs. Christian issue, as it would mean that the movie was fair to all faiths.

b) A helping hand to anti Hindu forces: Another primary reason of ire of Hindu groups, is that in the present special political dispensation in India today this movie is an invitation for trouble makers who are working overtime in harassing Hindus on various fronts. When there are so many anti Hindu forces right from the central government, state government and not to mention the thousands of “NGO’S” who are always itching for action, why should Mr. Kamalhassan attempt something like this. To justify our point check the response of the movie director who was suggesting that the petitioner’s against the movie should be booked under goonda act. That was a backdoor attempt to silence the petitioners. Illegal use of Law of the land has gained credence ever since the revered Sankaracharya was arrested. Foisting false cases and sending them to prison seems to be a better option then resorting to throwing stones. This seems to be a set pattern where “Public personalities” would offer “suggestions” to the government which the secular government would “value” and react to in a positive way.

The movie has successfully overcome the protests of the various Hindu groups and had its run with both the producer and actors making a good return on investment. Let’s look into the political mind set of Mr.Kamal Hassan. His pattern of movie releases is such that a controversial subject is portrayed periodically with clear but subtle political overtones. It was his sense of timing and his ability to be on the right side of the political dispensation which makes him a success. An example. He made the movie Hey Ram which had strong anti-Muslim undertones. But then BJP was in power in the centre and he had little difficulty in passing through the censors boards. He has this ability to gauge the political currents and make movies which would sail through with the current trends. He can switch sides as skillfully as an Independent politician does. But he does it with great grace and poise that he emerges the winner all the time and escapes that stigma which a low and middle level Indian politician cannot shrug it off.

If you look back into religious history of any religion of the world, there are a rich collection of clashes within themselves. Various sects in all religions have clashed big, the most notable being the protestant and catholic clashes in Ireland, the Iraq Shia and Iranian Sunni clashes in the Muslim world. There are equally good numbers of intra religious clashes in India and we don’t recall Mr.Kamalhassan make movies on any of those clashes.

We leave it to gossip magazines to write on other topics about him like his spat with fellow artists from Rathi agnihotri, Amitabh Bachan, Rajinikanth, the reasons for shelving of his big budget movie Marudanayagam, his interview in a television channel where he spoke about sexual preferences & his personal divorce life.

He has however provided some nice entertainment over the years to millions of film goers. A few picks,
a) Michael Madan Kamarajan
b) Virumandi
c) Avvai Shanmugi
d) The silent movie
e) Thevar magan
f) Sathya
g) Ek thuje ke liye
h) Sagara Sangamam
i) Meendum Kokila
j) Raja parvai
k) And some classic movies by the director Mr.K.Balachander.