Mrs. Doubtfire (English) & Avvai Shanmukhi (Tamil)

February 13, 2007 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I never tired of watching the movie Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams, one of the veterans of English Movies, whose other movie Bicentennial Man is another memorable one.  I was watching this movie today and enjoying every moment of it.  Invariably while watching this movie everytime, I am reminded of the Tamil Movie Avvai Shanmukhi starring Kamal Hassan, one of the most versatile movie personalities of the Tamil Moviedom, who has also made a few remakes of his movies in Hindi too and found wide audience there.

Though both these movies deal with estranged life partners, the father’s affection and devotion for his children, and his cameraderie as a woman housekeeper to take care of the children and be near them.   Mr. Kamal Hassan has acquitted himself so creditably what with the services of a make up expert from the West, adapting the story to the Tamil tastes, and with total commercialism in his approach, acting  superbly and convincingly, that the movie stands on its own merits despite the fact that the central idea is borrowed.  Though the Tamil movie abounds with all the usual frills avidly expected by the target audience, yet you see the special stamp of Kamal Hassan.

I would like to linger on the career of Kamal Hassan in a little more detail.

“Kamal Haasan was born on 7th November 1954. In 1960 he starred as a child artist in ‘Kalathoor Kannammaa’, his first movie. Ever since, he has starred in more than 150 movies, in almost all the major Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. His trajectory in the Indian film industry is one prototypical journey, where he started as a child artist, then continued as a romantic hero, and finally evolved into one of the best actors India has ever produced. As most of his movies are in Tamil, he might not have numbers like Amitabh Bachan or the recent stars like Shah Rukh Khan, but very few actors have given such a wide array of versatile performances over the last two decades like Kamal. He had to occasionally work through the commercial roles and trashy movies to finance the movies he wanted to produce with his heart – but the movies that resulted out of his artistic potential – they were in a class apart. 16 Vayadhinilae, Nayakan, Guna, Mahanadhi, Hey Ram and Alavandaan are some of the must-watch among his movies. Had he been a star in Hollywood, he would now be effortlessly rubbing shoulders with extremely talented actors like Jack Nicholson of yesteryears and Tom Hanks of the present day.”

His innovative acting has earned him the title “the first, and perhaps the last, complete hero in Indian Cinema”

“Kamal’s hobby is magic

On April 27 2002 Kamala Haasan was detained at Toronto airport and denied boarding his flight to L.A. because he had an Arab name/look and was considered a potential terrorist.

Is the only actor to have earned a Best Actor in a Leading Role award and a Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination for the same movie (Saagar (1985)) at Filmfare Awards.

Is a very very strong fan of Ilayaraja and always ropes him as the composer for all his home productions

Has two daughters, Shruti K. Haasan and Akshara.

Gets his wife/girlfriend to do costumes for his films

Three movies that he has starred in have been sent to represent India in Oscars for Best foreign movie category, highest by any Indian.

Trained in the classical Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam.

Has acted in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi films.”

The above mentioned paragraphs in inverted commas are copied and pasted from IMDB.

He has acted in lead roles in over 140 movies, has produced 14 movies, scripted 12 movies,  as miscellaneous crew in 11 eleven movies,  directed three movies (statistics from IMDB).

You must know fluent Tamil to appreciate his nuances and subtle humour.  In dubbing most of these subtleties will not be lost.  His movie “Anbe Sivam” is a classic example.  You need a more than average intelligence to critically appreciate the finesse of this movie and  it must have  gone overboard for the common man.




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