Celebrating Ulaga Nayagan: Five times Kamal Haasan came out of the box in his world of cinema!

(This article is authored by Alar) 

With his charisma and subtle acting, legendary actor Kamal Haasan has captured the hearts of millions for decades. The actor continues to astound moviegoers with each new film and despite having delivered a number of critically acclaimed films, he never stops to surprise his fans and exploring new revolutionary film-making trends.

For the fans of Kamal Haasan and Tamil cinema, the actor is an icon for millions and undeniably, an architect for the Tamil cinema industry as he has been instrumental, in pushing Tamil cinema to where it is today. Acting from his childhood, he has presented top-notch techniques and films that go across ages. Kamal Haasan has had a career spanning more than six decades and has taken on a variety of unusual roles. Here are the actor's top five movies where Kamal brought the world towards Tamil cinema, to binge-watch on his 68th birthday. 


The film was directed by K S Ravikumar, but Kamal Hassan's ten different personas naturally gave birth to the story, which concentrates on a natural disaster, a deadly virus that has broken out in the world, and terrorist activities. The main character is a research scientist who creates a bioweapon and makes sure that it is not acquired by a terrorist nation. The story spans from the 12th century to the 21st century. 

Following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, many individual stories begin to connect. This introduces philosophical viewpoints into the mix. The movie, which had a 70 crore budget, was released in June 2008 in about 1300 prints across the globe. The film was ranked No.7 in the opening week, becoming the first Tamil film to reach the Top 10 at the International box office. 

Hey Ram 

It is the first movie to feature Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in Tamil, before Manirathnam's Uyire. This movie is a surprise and a very gutsy endeavor by Kamal Hassan to cover the sensational, mysterious story of Nathuram Godse's assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. This movie's simultaneous release in Hindi and Tamil brought together audiences from both sides of the aisle, and it also won three National Film Awards. The movie was shown in other countries at the 2000 Locarno Festival and the 25th Toronto International Film Festival. 

Pesum Padam 

After the "silent era" of cinema, Pesum Padam became the first full-length dialogue-free movie in India. Given the lack of dialogue in "Pesum Padam," the movie was effortlessly made to appeal to all linguists. Singeetam Srinivasa Rao wrote and directed this 1987 Indian black comedy, and Kamal Haasan agreed to star after reading the script and finding it captivating. He claimed that the story was originally intended to be a tragedy, but he and Rao decided to change it to a tragicomedy after being inspired by Charlie Chaplin. 


An adaptation of Kamal Haasan's 1984 novel Dhayam, which was also the title of a story by Ulaga Nayagan for the journal "Idhayam Pesugirthu" in the 1980s, was made into a movie in 2001.  When this legendary star discussed turning this tale into a movie, K. Balachander said that it was "ahead of its time."   Haasan played two different roles in the movie, one of which required him to lose ten kilograms and shave his head completely. 

He took a crash course at the National Defense Academy and spoke with his co-actor Major Ravi, a former officer in the Indian Army, to prepare for his role as the other in the movie. He brought Grant Page, a stunt coordinator who had previously worked on the American movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. 

A record was impressively set by the Tamil version of the movie's album, which sold over 2,000 copies in less than eight hours after release. Despite the movie's lack of success at the box office, it received positive reviews over the following few years and went on to become a cult classic, according to some critics. The movie was screened at the 2016 Fantastic Fest, where American audiences praised it.


With a budget of 95 crores, Vishwarapoom is a 220 crore box office smash. Kamal Hassan, who also plays the lead role, directed, produced, and wrote the film. After the 2010 release of Haasan's Manmadan Ambu, when several of the crew were brought in from the United States to lend their technical expertise, this project was put on the table. 

The first Indian movie to use the new Auro 3D sound technology is Vishwaroopam. The movie was also supposed to be the first in India to be broadcast via direct broadcast satellite, also known as direct-to-home (DTH), but this idea was abandoned due to theatre owners' objections. 

As several Muslim civic organizations protested the movie's release in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu government officially banned the movie for 15 days in the state due to legal controversies surrounding the movie's plot, which involved India's foreign intelligence service Research and Analysis Wing's involvement in America's war on terror following the 9/11 attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda agents. Despite its patchy release, Vishwaroopam received favorable reviews and peaked as one of the highest-grossing Tamil films at the time of its release.