The ‘Vishwaroopam’ star, Kamal Haasan appeared to be full of smiles, but what everyone could clearly observe was the sadness they seemed to contain, conveying how he was weighed down by circumstances in the recent past.

“I am not angry, only feeling bad and sad that an artist can be insulted in a great country like India. I am the son of Socrates. Give me a cup of poison and I will sip it and still speak my freedom. I am the grandson of Gandhi,” he said. One of the very few actors whose eyes actually beam in tune with the grin, Haasan minced no words pouring out his feelings as he took people on a journey.

People at a hotel here on Friday evening seemed to instinctively understand his trauma since the Tamil Nadu Government clamped a ban on the film, only to be revoked later. It was yet another show of solidarity from the Telugu film industry. Among those present were filmmakers K. Viswanath, Dasari Narayana Rao, D. Rama Naidu, K. Raghavendra Rao, directors S.S. Rajamouli and Trivikram Srinivas and actors Akkineni Nagarjuna and Prabhas.

“I am sad that the freedom of an artist was stifled. I hope politics and religion will allow me to be ‘Me’. I am just a flower on the banks of river. Do not push me into the water. Even then I will swim with the swirling waters, but remember I am not a politician. I am just a sand particle on a sprawling beach,” he said in a voice filled with the myriad emotions that had described his being these past few weeks. On his first trip to Hyderabad since ‘Vishwaroopam’ made news, Haasan did not field questions. He, however, repeatedly conveyed his gratefulness to the media, that he said, was with him at every step of the arduous journey. He went down the memory lane, in a narration of his life in filmdom that started with Rs. 250 as a ‘Dance Assistant’ and how each film doubled his remuneration, to how he became a lead actor. “Yes, you can expect a Part Two of Vishwaroopam,” he told The Hindu as he made his way out. His eyes flashed that smile again.