The versatile and much loved Kamal Haasan turns 59 today!
Kamal Haasan was born to criminal lawyer D Srinivasan and wife Rajalakshmi in the small town of Paramakudi in Tamil Nadu.
Kamal Haasan has three siblings, Charuhasan, Chandrahasan and Nalini Raghu. He is the youngest of all.
As a child, Kamal was noticed by AVM production house owners A V Meyappa Chettiar and A V Saravanan and they cast him in their home production. In 1960, he debuted as a child artiste at the tender age of seven in 'Kalathur Kannamma' with Gemini Ganesan.
Kamal in 'Ananda Jyothi': He acted with Sivaji Ganesan and MGR as a child artiste in several films.
After a break of seven years, Kamal returned to films, but as part of the technical crew. He also acted in several cameos and supporting roles. Here he is with Jayalalitha.
His first film as a full-fledged hero in Tamil was in K Balachader’s 'Apoorva Ragangal', which saw him romance a much older heroine, Srividya. He is supposed to have learnt to play the mridangam to give credibility to his role. '6 Vayathinile' was a major hit in which Kamal starred along with friend and contemporary Rajinikanth and Sridevi and won his third consecutive best actor award.
Kamal won his first National Award for his sensitive portrayal of a school teacher taking care of an amnesia patient (Sridevi) in 'Moondram Pirai' directed by Balu Mahendra.
Kamal Haasan’s portrayal of an underworld don (inspired by real life don Varadaraj Mudaliar) in the Mani Ratnam directed film 'Nayagan', won him his second National Award. It was his second film as India’s entry to the Academy Awards. The film also made it to the Time's All-TIME 100 Movies list.
In the drama-comedy 'Apoorva Sagodharargal', Kamal appeared as a dwarf in one of the three roles that he played. He also sang of the most popular songs of the movie. The movie was a colossal hit and was dubbed into Telugu and Hindi too.
The Crazy Mohan scripted hilarious comedy 'Michael Madhana Kamarajan' saw Kamal donning four roles. His role as a Palakkad Brahmin cook was bang-on, with the perfect accent.
He went a step further and transformed into a woman in 'Avvai Shanmugi', inspired by the English film 'Mrs Doubtfire'. The makeup alone would take Kamal a grueling five hours every day and would last only for five hours. People loved him more than ever and the film was big hit.
'Hey Ram', another movie from the Rajkamal stable, starring Kamal, Rani Mukherjee and Shahrukh Khan, did not do too well at the box office. He penned the lyrics for this film and 'Virumaand'.
Kamal scripted 'Anbe Sivam', starring himself and Madhavan in the lead was another important film in his career. The film showcased his views on atheism and communism. The movie was to be directed by Priyadarshan initially, but was later done by Sundar C.
Kamal’s home production 'Alavandhan', dubbed in Hindi as Abhay, failed to impress people. He compensated the distributors for their losses.
'Mumbai Express', a film written by Kamal, was released along with Rajini’s 'Chandramukhi' and Vijay’s 'Sachien'. It was a huge letdown at the box office.
2008 saw Kamal re-invent himself by playing ten roles in the film 'Dasavatharam'. Though the film received mixed reviews, it went on to become one of the most highest-earning films of Tamil cinema.
Kamal produced and starred in the very successful 'Unnaipol oruvan', the Tamil remake of the Hindi hit, 'A Wednesday'. The film saw him pair up with the Malayalam actor Mohanlal in Tamil and Venkatesh in the Telugu version.
He starred with Trisha in 'Manmadhan Ambu'. The film had an average run.
Kamal is currently busy with the sequel to his controversial magnum opus 'Vishwaroopam'. Audiences wait with bated breath for its release, as they know that their idol is sure to come up with something worthwhile.
His next venture will be with the Hollywood movie 'Moghul', Barry Osborne, who produced the 'Lord of the Rings' series.
Though born into a Brahmin family, Kamal Haasan is an atheist, a non-believer and has projected his religious views in his films like 'Anbe Sivam' and 'Dasavatharam'.
Kamal has not endorsed the views of any political party so far. He has kept himself away from the political scene.
He was one of the first celebrities who converted his fan clubs into welfare organizations and had done a lot of charitable work through them.
Kamal married Vani Ganapathy, a dancer and model, at the age of 24. The marriage lasted for ten years, after which they got divorced.
Kamal started seeing the light-eyed Sarika from Hindi films soon after his divorce from Vani. They lived together for eight years and had two daughters Shruthi and Akshara before tying the knot.
Kamal and Sarika split over his much publicized affair with the considerably younger Simran. But the affair did not last long and Simran went on to marry her long-time friend.
Kamal now lives with his co-star of several films, Gautami. She is a divorcee and has a girl child from her earlier marriage, who also lives with them.
Gautami, in her candid interviews, has talked about how Kamal helped her cope and beat breast cancer.
Kamal’s elder daughter Shruthi is into films and is a singer too. Younger daughter Akshara is studying at Bangalore.
Kamal is the most celebrated actor of Indian cinema, winning over 200 awards for his vast body of work. Kamal won President’s gold medal at the age of six for 'Kalathur Kannamma'. He received the Padma Shri award in 1990. He has won three National Awards in the best actor category and one as the producer of the best film.
Kamal has won a record 19 Filmfare awards in all, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. In 2000, he wrote to Filmfare and requested them to not give him any more awards.
Seven of Kamal’s films have been official Indian entries to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It is the most films ever submitted for any actor in India. Kamal is one of the esteemed few, who has completed 50 years in the film industry. He is also all set to become the youngest recipient of the Mumbai academy of moving image lifetime achievement award.
Kamal was given the title "Indian of the Year" in 2010 for completing 50 years in the film industry by CNN IBN television network. Kamal was also given an honorary doctorate from Sathyabama Deemed University.
Did you know that Kamal has sung over 65 songs in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and English?
Here's wishing the much talented Kamal Haasan a very happy birthday!