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November, 2010:

Crank’s News: No visuals in Kamal’s new film

Chennai: It is well established that novelty and surprises from Kamal Haasan never cease. Especially since he deals with Tamil cinema, where, going by the prevailing standards, even movies with a bare outline of a story is deemed outstanding.

Anyway, typically of the man, pushing the frontiers of his excellence, Kamal is said to be planning a project to provide a never-seen feel to the audience across the globe. The news from his camp is this new film will have absolutely no visuals, no story, no screenplay, no music and, more importantly, no Kamal in any manner.

Kamal will not produce or direct, act or sing in the movie. ‘This is Kamal’s most ambitious and outrageous attempt till date,’ confirmed a source close to the actor. ‘Since there are no visuals or story, it will cut across international boundaries and hold appeal to not just to viewers across countries but also to those who are not viewers across countries,’ the source added.

It is also learnt that Kamal will send the film for the Oscars, winning which he is not all interested in, as the ‘Alwarpet Oscar-Nayagan‘ feels that the award is meant mainly for them — US, that is.

If Kamal is going to play no part whatsoever in the film, which in any case will have no visuals or story, what is the whole thing all about. Our curiosity suitably kindled, we sought out Kamal for his views on his pioneering attempt.

As is his wont, Kamal spontaneously and precisely got to the point by invoking poet Bharathi. ‘Well, to me the best poems of Bharathi were the ones he never wrote,’ Kamal explained his new project with utmost clarity. ‘The beauty was that it liberated the readers who could make whatever meaning of the unwritten poems. It also liberated language from the suffocating clutches of grammar and syntax. If you get down to it, musical metre is in mind. Why parade prosody?’

Kamal pointed out that he was fortunate to have seen Sivaji Ganesan read those unwritten poems while relaxing. ‘I used to be perched on Sivaji Sir’s lap when he was sleeping. The rest of the world may have thought he was sleeping, but I understood he was only reading those unwritten poems. Sivaji Sir was one person who could not be caught napping even when he was sleeping,’ Kamal explained with unerring accuracy.

When the reporter interrupted and asked, ‘but Kamalji what we want is answers to the questions on your new project’, Kamal said, ‘well, we should also remember that we still have to answer the many questions that the gent named Mohandas Karamchand raised.’

But how is Gandhi relevant in this context, the reporter asked. ‘Mohandas Karamchand is relevant even tomorrow or the day after or on 18 December, 2076. It’s our responsibility to find a context. For example, in my film, okay, when I say my film it does not mean my film, it means the person who directed the film,Unnaipol Oruvan, we had a line, ‘the real answer to violent terrorism is violent terrorism’. In my humble opinion, this was the right context to invoke the ahimsa of Mohandas Gandhi,’ Kamal reasoned admirably.

But how can you talk of and prescribe violence when you are talking of Gandhi’s ahimsa, the reported asked. ‘Well, you can if you have read and understood Ramasamy Naicker. I have. I would not be Kamal Haasan if I had not read his writings. Ramasamy Naicker rationally fought against the caste oppression through caste. If there are no people, will there be caste? That is why he went after people as against caste,’ Kamal said with impeccable logic.

But what about your impending project, the reporter persisted.

‘Well, a film is a team effort. It’s a joint attempt. I will not be in my team if I don’t enjoy a good rapport with myself. I tell this to people who keep asking me personal questions. I also tell them: Don’t look into my bedroom. Look into your bedroom: Perhaps you may find me there’.

But sir, your new project, which is said to not involve you at all in any capacity, which is also supposed to have no visuals…, the reporter drawled.

‘Kamal Haasan is how people call me. But I don’t call myself that way. When I don’t involve myself in myself why should I involve myself in my project,’ he explained his reasoning.

‘The best visual is the one that is experienced when your eyes are closed,’ Kamal said and added ‘colours provide a meaning when it’s absolutely dark. My new project will be a humble tribute to the unwritten poems of Bharathi. To the ahimsa of violence. It’s also a strong statement against the castes that continue to oppress despite the fact Ramasamy Naicker had thoroughly abolished them’.

Late News: The film without Kamal, without story, without screenplay, without music and without visuals may be dropped because of budget constraints. The news from Kamal camp is that the US production company has backed out of the project at the last moment. But Kamal was hopeful. ‘The project will go ahead when we reach the rich stage of having no currencies’, he is reported to have said.

(Disclaimer: As Kamal will say, what is there to claim in the first place)