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    Dec 2008

    Default I have a dormant market in Bollywood: Kamal Haasan

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    With the Hindi version of his Tamil blockbuster Dasavathaaram set to hit the screens, multilingual actor Kamal Haasan says he is back to reach out to a wider Hindi-speaking audience.

    "The success of the film made the producers so happy, and it being the biggest hit in my career, I had to tell them that the rest of the country should also see it. It's my selfishness that I am bringing it here. I want to reach the audience," Kamal told IANS in an interview.

    The Hindi version of Dasavathaaram is releasing April 17.

    "I have a dormant market in Bollywood. I'll have to make use of that. There is a certain amount of acceptance for me, thanks to the Hindi audience. So I have an opportunity here and that is the reason I am back," said the ardent Dilip Kumar fan.

    Directed by K.S. Ravikumar, Dasavathaaram scorched the screens with fiery collections worldwide when it released in Tamil and Telugu June 13 last year. It is also said to be the highest grosser in Tamil cinema so far.

    After starring in a string of Bollywood hits like Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), Sadma (1983) and Saagar (1985), Kamal stepped away from the Hindi film industry. After Dekha Pyar Tumhara (1985), he made a comeback with Chachi 420 in 1998.

    "The films were taking too long to make in Bollywood. Vis-a-vis now the films were made over a period of two to three years there (Mumbai) and I thought by that time I could have made about seven films in the south. So I went back.

    "Now there are some very sensible films being made in Mumbai - much better than what is being made in Chennai."

    Kamal has set a record by playing the maximum characters in Dasavathaaram, but says it was not a cakewalk because of the rigorous make-up sessions.

    "Making Dasavathaaram was the most tedious in my career courtesy the make-up sessions. In mirror, the shortest span it took me for a character was around three hours and the rest ranged from five to six. Once I was in the make-up, I had to go and then dry it," he said.

    "The most difficult was the kind of tasks where I had to play with size, character, and age. There is a difference in the characters as they are not of the same size," he added.

    But he says it was worth the effort as the movie turned out to be the "biggest hit" of his career.

    The 54-year-old plays 10 characters in the film - US President George Bush, an ex-CIA agent, a scientist, an old woman, a terrorist, a Dalit activist, a medieval Vishnu devotee, a Punjabi pop singer, a Japanese martial arts leader and a tall Muslim.

    "We spent the first 25 days before the shoot in Los Angeles just testing out the different looks with prosthetics and the outcome was indeed satisfactory."

    Produced by Aascar Ravichandran, the 165-minute science-based thriller is shot at an approximate budget of Rs.1.3 billion.

    The actor admits he has always had an inclination towards playing multiple roles.

    "I love to portray different characters - the bahurupi (harlequin) tradition is very natural in an Indian actor. It's just like in Bharatanatyam. It's exposing your capabilities," said the actor who was first seen in more than one character in films like Apoorva Sagodharargal/Appu Raja (1989) and Michael Madhana Kamarajan (1990).

    Kamal, who has also written the story and screenplay for the film, has teamed up with Asin Thottumkal and Mallika Sherawat in it. The music was scored by Bollywood composer Himesh Reshammiya.

    His future projects include 19 Steps (in Tamil, English and Japanese) and Thalaivan Irukkiraan - his home production Rajkamal Films International's remake of A Wednesday in Tamil and Telugu with Mohanlal and Venkatesh respectively.

    Kamal's much-hyped productions - Marudhanayagam and Marmayogi - have been deferred due to financial constraints.



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