Movies

Kamal Haasan responds to Alphonse Puthren’s request, gives a masterclass on ‘Michael Madhana Kama Rajan’

A few weeks ago, Kamal Haasan took to Facebook to share a series of posts on what went into the making of Dasavatharam, his magnum opus which completed 13 years recently. In the comments section, Malayalam filmmaker Alphonse Puthren requested Haasan to give a similar “masterclass” on Michael Madhana Kama Rajan (MMKR), often regarded as one of the best comedies in Tamil cinema. Upon Puthran’s request, Haasan recently took to his social media page to share interesting anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from MMKR, directed by veteran Singeetam Srinivasa Rao.

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Recalling the meeting he had with Singeetam during the filming of the Malayalam film Chanakya, Haasan said that the seed of thought for MMKR came when the duo was making Pushpak, another classic from the Haasan-Rao combination. The plot, which revolves around quadruplets, was inspired by films such as Yaadon Ki Baaraat (Hindi), Sivaji Ganesan’s Deiva Magan and MGR’s Nadodi Mannan. “The idea itself was decades-old. I drew a diagram and explained the plot with a sketch I made, which was full of arrows and squares and a high point which we call the climax. Mr.Singeetam understood it and said ‘okay’ right away,” said Haasan.

The screenplay was written by Haasan and Rao and it was only later that they roped in ‘Crazy’ Mohan for dialogues. In another post, Haasan recalled how the now-popular Kameshwaran was initially conceived as a scientist. “I wanted Kameshwaran to be a genius. Then I came up with the character of a Palakkad Brahmin. My experience in Malayalam films and my friends from Kerala helped me understand the language better. That is how Kameshwaran was born,” he added.

Kamal Haasan responds to Alphonse Puthren’s request, gives a masterclass on ‘Michael Madhana Kama Rajan’

In the series, Haasan remembered and acknowledged the contribution of his start cast comprising Nagesh, Manorama, Kushboo, SN Lakshmi and Rupini to mention a few, and the crew including maestro Ilaiyaraaja, cinematographer BC Gowrishankar and stunt director Vikram Dharma.

About the climax, which became one of the highlights of the film, Haasan wrote, “The climax rocking hilltop set was built in three locations. The first was inside a studio to capture the “rocking “ effect; second in the actual location at Coonoor and then we created a 30-feet model after a lot of mathematical calculation at “campa-cola grounds” where Kameshwaran and other characters were made as little puppets. There were two people who really enjoyed working with the miniature building and they were none other than Mr.Singeetam and me, as we believed in ‘make believe’.”

Thanking his teachers which include K Balachander, Ananthu and Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, Haasan had a word of advice for today’s new-age filmmakers. “I have always had gurus who only gave and I am trying to emulate the same quality and share my experiences during my learning process. New-age filmmakers should move beyond being awed by what we did 30 years ago and create their own classics now.”


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 10:17:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/kamal-haasan-on-mmkr/article35166010.ece

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