Kamal Haasan’s new avatars

The superstar’s multiple roles are not just for the camera, as he splits time between his political party, Bigg Boss 2 and Vishwaroopam 2

Fans of actor Kamal Haasan have been waiting nearly a year for the release of Vishwaroopam 2. More than the fans, Kamal himself is anxious to deliver the release of the movie so he can move on to his political avatar.

Which is why the relief on Kamal Haasan’s face was palpable as the trailer was released in three languages — Hindi by Aamir Khan, Tamil by Shruti Haasan, and Telugu by Jr NTR — in Chennai on the evening of June 11. He now has its release on August 10 to look forward to, and as its producer-director, Haasan has enormous responsibilities at the studios for the next 45 days at least.

Meanwhile, office-bearers and workers of his new party, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), are jostling with the film unit to try and complete the exercise of finalising names of district-level leaders and committees.

Also waiting in the wings are the representatives of Star Vijay, which is all set to begin Bigg Boss 2 in Tamil, with Haasan as the anchor. Bigg Boss 2 kicks off next week, and Haasan needs to handle the show over the next month or so. From the timeline indicated, he clearly wants to get Bigg Boss 2 over and done with, even while he gives finishing touches to Vishwaroopam 2 for the August release.

Vishwaroopam 2 is Haasan’s first film after his political entry. He’ll want to make a success of this movie to lay a solid foundation for his new party.
Kamal Haasan has always timed his movie schedule in a way that suits his aspirations. He would always make a quickie — a regular masala film — to earn bucks for his own productions. It appears that Bigg Boss 2 is also part of this strategy. Having spent a considerable amount of his fortune on Vishwaroopam 2, Haasan has been struggling to raise resources for three of his home films, including Sabaash Naidu and Marudhanayagam, now on the back-burner.

The money earned from Bigg Boss 2 will clearly go into the final post-production work of Vishwaroopam 2, including the logistics for its global release. This explains why the much-delayed release — nearly three years — has been pushed to August 10.

Haasan says the movie will hit thousands of screens across the world and will be on a par with any Hollywood film release. All this requires enormous funding.

Meanwhile, work on his party at the grassroots is stuttering, given the limited time that Haasan is able to provide. To be fair, he has done really well in the last few months: galvanising the party in several districts where he held conferences and met with party workers, stimulating the membership drive, and working on issues facing the people in those areas.

He also found time to visit the families of those who died in the police firing in Thoothukudi, and call on Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru twice in one month.

Haasan is grappling with time and space management: shuttling between Vishwaroopam 2 and Bigg Boss 2, even while taking his party forward. He’s juggling time for the small screen, silver screen, and the political screen. This triple role is for real, not for the cameras.

Will Vishwaroopam 2 be a political film in tune with his political party? Not at all, says Haasan, who maintains that films and politics are two different worlds. There is no need to mix the two. Second, Vishwaroopam 2 has been in the making for nearly two years, well before his decision to enter politics.

So, will his next film Indian 2 be an out and out political film? Haasan maintains that the first movie, Indian which came out in 1996, was itself a political film, about a man angry with what was happening in the country. There’s a hint that therefore Indian 2 will have political elements.

Meanwhile, at Kamal Haasan’s residence, you can find three groups waiting for a discussion with him: party office-bearers, representatives of Bigg Boss 2, and the Vishwaroopam 2 unit. Not to mention the media, wanting a byte on something or the other. It’s a four-way split of his time and space.

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