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Updated: October 6, 2013 12:44 IST

‘I can’t afford to lose my sensibility in the name of religion’

Special Correspondent
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Kamal Hassan: as a business proposition, I feel Karnataka should open gates for dubbed films.
Kamal Hassan: as a business proposition, I feel Karnataka should open gates for dubbed films.

Actor-director-producer Kamal Hassan, who is the chairperson of FICCI’s Media and Entertainment Conclave to be held in Bangalore, shared his views on an array of issues on films, politics and his convictions at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Bangalore Press Club on Saturday.

Excerpts from the interview:

On the political controversies surrounding his films

How does one address political controversies and intolerance? I did not feel threatened or paranoid during the controversy over Vishwaroopam. The controversies started haunting since the day I made Hey Ram. Some opposed it even before watching the film and branded it an anti-Gandhi and rightwing product. This is nothing but intolerance and lack of humour. I don’t have differences with any political party, though I may have difference of opinion. You cannot be hated for that. An artiste is a product sculpted by society and the credit one gets will go to society.

About his reported statement of leaving the country during the Vishwaroopam controversy

I will not take back what I said. If I am threatened or troubled again as an artiste, I can leave the country. But will the country leave me? Will it go out of my mind? I made that statement out of anguish, as I was hurt. Religion has always been misused and misinterpreted in the country. I can’t afford to lose my sensibility, civil behaviour in the name of religion.

Will Vishwaroopam-2 make political headlines?

I hope not. It is a sequel, an espionage thriller.

Is piracy haunting the film industry?

Piracy is in-built in the system. The problem has not been addressed anywhere in the country. To some extent, Direct To Home (DTH) can act as a deterrent. I tried it, but could not succeed. We may succeed in years to come, as there will be need to balance demand and supply of entertainment products.

On dubbing of films

As an artiste I strongly believe original intent should be delivered. For the sake of understanding, films should be dubbed. Earlier, it was a protective measure.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. As a business proposition, I feel Karnataka should open the gates to dubbed films.

The alleged domination of Bollywood films

Actually, more than 50 per cent of films made in the country come from the southern part of the country and the film industry is known by one name — Bollywood — which I think is a misnomer. It is actually the Mumbai film industry. Hollywood is a small village, which became international, and we are one big country and we should become international.

Cinema of one region cannot dominate other language films. Make good films, naturally the problem will be solved. We came to Bangalore to watch film by Puttanna Kanagal, Girish Karnad. That is how it should be.


Those who vote in elections and get their fingers marked with indelible ink are all politicians. I don’t want to smear my entire hand with indelible ink!

New challenges

New audiences are a new challenge to me. In that context you have to accept me as a challenged person!

Do you agree with Kamal Hassan that ‘Bollywood’ is a misnomer? Send in your comments to letters.bangalore@

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We do agree that Mumbai is the financial capital of India ,but it is,
not Mumbai is India and India is not Mumbai. Even if we say Hindi is
our national language, how many south Indians prefer using Hindi over
English . In reality English is the language that bind Indians .
Coming to the matter ,Kamal Hassan statement is hundred percent
acceptable, Bollywood is really a Misnomer. I think heroes like Kamal
and all should put some effort to make Indian cinemas acceptable all
civilized Indians first and then let it go to International. My humble
suggestion is that why we can't make our films in English and
Hindi,the problem is solved,as we all have the legacy of English
too,why we can't experiment the same. It should be the art that should
bind a society first not the money ,i think.The only thing we accept
all ( Indians)is Indian Rupee.How the Indian rupee is printed, both
English and Hindi right?, Same way our films too,and can be dubbed in
other fifteen languages if required,.

Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 18:32 IST

I agree with Kamal Hasan on removing dubbing ban in Karnataka..this
undemocratic and unconstitutional ban on dubbing has made sure that in a
fast globalizing world, Kannadigas are left with very little choice of
knowledge and entertainment shows offered in Kannada.

from:  Jayanth s
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 16:34 IST

Very intelligent answers by Kamal Hassan. His "real" intelligence always amazes me.
Kamal, the idea of DTH is very attractive. Children and elderly people like my mother who can afford it are glad to watch the good quality at the comfort of their homes. She paid and got refunded for Vishwaroopam-1
and I hope she would be able to watch it on DTH for Vishwaroopam-2 in Chennai.
I look forward to watching it in the theaters too. I watched Vishwaroopam-1 twice in the theaters. I rarely watch any movie twice.

from:  Ashwin Seshadri
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 02:00 IST

I guess Kamal is right about the Bollywood business. It's a shame to shape your
name after the famous Bollywood. Why can't they say Bombay, or some street in
Mumbai or some street in Chennai or Hyderabad or Bengaluru.

There is a need to move from our pride in quantity to quality. Most of the film
industry behaves like an oligopoly with a few families which dominate the industry.

It has to be broadbased and ought to become democratic.

from:  soonya
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 00:21 IST
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