Dasavathaaram: Ten 'anti-establishment' avatars of Kamal Haasan

Dasavathaaram: Ten 'anti-establishment' avatars of Kamal Haasan

Deccan Herald here aggregates Kamal Haasan's memorable anti-establishment roles from ten movies

Dasavathaaram: Ten 'anti-establishment' avatars of Kamal Haasan

Superstar Kamal Haasan is now making headlines in Tamil Nadu as well as all over the country with his announcement of a new mobile app to directly interact with his fans.

Known for versatile performances in films throughout his career, Kamal has excelled in roles where he took on the status quo. Kamal's anti-establishment characters were a big hit on the big screen and some of them continue to do well on streaming sites like YouTube and Hotstar.

Deccan Herald here aggregates Kamal Haasan's memorable roles from ten movies where he was either activist, ideologue, angry citizen, rebel, misfit, or a memorable character offering commentary (and action) against the establishment.

1. His character Saket Ram has conversations with Mahatma Gandhi's character essayed by Naseeruddin Shah in the film 'Hey Ram'. Saket Ram undergoes various transformations before ending up a Gandhian.

2. West-educated Saktivel is reluctant to live in a village where his father is a landlord in the film 'Thevar Magan'. The incidents around him compel him to enter the day-to-day happenings of the village and he emerges a saviour to the villagers. This was a powerhouse movie boasting of giants from the Tamil film industry such as Sivaji Ganesan, Nasser, Kaka Radhakrishnan, Gautami, Vadivelu, Revathi, etc.

Here is one scene from the film where father Sivaji Ganesan attempts to convince his son Kamal Haasan about the joy of living for people in their village.

3. 'Nayagan' is a film about a common man's struggle against a corrupt police force, that leads him to be a hero to fellow citizens. Coincidentally, in this movie as well, Kamal Haasan is called Saktivel.
Here is the climax of the movie.

4. In 'Anbe Sivam', we see a socialist-humanist Kamal Haasan in a series of conversations with a young Anbarasu (R Madhavan), both of whom are co-passengers in a cancelled Bhubaneswar-to-Chennai flight, and take an adventurous route to reach Chennai.

Here is one conversation between Nallasivam and Anbarasu.

5. The movie 'Unnaipol Oruvan' is about the revenge of a common Muslim man, who is fed up of the witch hunt of innocent Muslims due to terrorist acts by a few. The unknown man (Kamal Haasan) uses an encrypted network to reach out to the City Police Commissioner of Chennai and prompts the police officer to release the dreaded terrorists. His plan is executed well and Kamal ends up killing the terrorists eventually. This was eventually remade by Bollywood as 'A Wednesday'.

Here is a scene from the movie.

6. A black comedy movie without any dialogues, 'Pushpaka Vimana' tells the story of a penniless and unemployed youth (Kamal Haasan) with aspirations to be filthy rich. Superbly acted without the aid of
dialogue, this movie is a testament to Kamal Haasan being the gold standard in intuitive and spontaneous acting in the country.

In this hilarious scene, Kamal tries to one-up a beggar, only to end up upstaged and outclassed in every way possible.

Later in the movie, the stash of money accumulated by the beggar is exposed to people upon his death on the pavement, allowing Kamal to show us the other side of his emotional range.

7. The 1988 movie 'Sathya' also shows an unemployed youth Sathyamurthy who fights against injustice in the society. After working as a henchman to influential Dhandapani (Kitty), Sathya realizes his boss is a corrupt person who masquerades as a social worker. His quest then turns to seeking justice for society.

In this scene, Sathya explains his reasons for working with Dhandapani to his lady love.

8. In the movie, 'Avvai Shanmughi', inspired by the runaway Hollywood hit 'Mrs. Doubtfire', Pandian (Kamal Haasan) tries not to get divorced from his wife Janaki (Meena) by masquerading as an old lady Avvai Shanmughi.

Avvai Shanmughi reveals his real identity to friend Basha in this scene from the movie.

9. Rogue Virumandi Thevar (Kamal Haasan) going through a familial feud in a Tamil Nadu Village is the story of 'Virumandi'.

This scene shows Virumandi's fight of words with the village headmen.


10. 'Viswaroopam' is the story of a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent who hides his real identity from even his wife so as to be able to dismantle the terrorists' plan of using bio-weapons in the war.

In this scene, Vishwanath (Kamal Haasan) reveals his hitherto hidden identity to his wife.

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