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 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@ thehindu.co.in