Kamal Haasan chats with Subhash K Jha on his new film Paapnasam.
Paapnasam your very important Tamil film about a common man’s attempts to protect his family releases this Friday. Your thoughts?
Thank you for calling it an important film. I did the film only because I thought as one too. I always hated calling films big and small while still being made. I am a product of many so -called small films that later became big. The biggest example being Ek Duuje Ke Liye itself.
Paapnasam is about a man preserving his family from extraneous threats. How much of a threat do you feel has ‘civil’ society got to endure from lawless forces?
All families face extraneous threats. Today any family kitchen is threatened by spurious cooking material. The children’s education is threatened by dubious education which has lost its integral standard and also costs an exorbitant amount. The whole country is threatened by substandard politics irrespective of their brand or philosophy.
Since you play the father of two daughters, which you happen to be in real life, how much did you identify with the character?
Even if I had three sons instead of three daughters I personally would feel threatened in this intolerant country. I am fortunate that I at least have a voice that I can raise for causes I believe in.
Incidentally you have played a father looking to protect his daughter from danger in Mahanadhi. A sense of deja vu?
Mahanadhi is a trend setter and many filmmakers have been kind enough to openly express desire to make similar films. I don’t know if Mr. Jeetu saw Mahanadhi but I would put this film in the same genre but with a more positive approach and hence more populist.
What was it like working with Gautamiji again? Your dispassionate assessment of her performance?
I am capable of decrying Kamal Haasan‘s bad performance fearlessly and supporting good ones shamelessly. So it would be unjust not to laud Ms. Gautami’s performance. She has done very well and has grown in understanding of her craft better in absentia. I think the distance and years have helped her get a vantage view. The tragedy with actors who are female and are learning on the job is this. When they fully grasp their craft it will be time for them to retire. G has beaten that tragedy, thanks to Drishyam alias Paapanasam.
Drishyam the Hindi version of your film Paapnasam features Ajay Devgn. Headlines in Mumbai scream you’ve stolen a march over Devgn by releasing first. Your comments?
Whatever the tabloids scream, the fact is …if at all someone stole the march they were my friends Mohanlal and Jeetu. They stole the march from right under the Mahanadhi writer’s nose. Mr. Devgn and I are not even marching through the same market places. So his goods and march stay unstolen. If at all the success of Paapanasam would fuel the success of Drishyam Hindi version. When that happens Mr. Devgn and team should include me as a silent spectator at least in their celebrations. All the best to Paapanasam and Drishyam in Hindi