A statue of the legendary director and Dadasaheb Phalke-award winner K Balachander, weighing 60 kilograms, was unveiled at the new Raaj Kamal Films International (RKFI) office in Alwarpet recently, as a part of Kamal Haasan’s 65th birthday celebrations.
Speaking at the event, Rajinikanth confessed he has caught Hey Ram almost 30 times. “I don’t watch many films, but The Godfather (1972), Thiruvilaiyadal (1965) and Hey Ram (2000) are close to my heart. Also, Apoorva Sagotharargal (1989) is my favourite Kamal Haasan film. In fact, I went to his home in the middle of the night to congratulate him after watching it. Likewise, Thevar Magan (1992) is another such timeless classic,” he noted.
Further, Rajinikanth added how Balachander was instrumental in his growth as an actor. “KB sir insisted that I learn Tamil. Though he cared for me, I have always felt he was closer to Kamal Haasan. They both shared a very special bond,” Rajinikanth said.
Kamal Haasan, in return, heaped praise on the Superstar, congratulating him on the IFFI’s Golden Jubilee award. “This honour is delayed by forty-three years,” he remarked. “Though we are seen as rivals, Rajinikanth and I have been there for each other. Fans will get shocked if they know what all we discuss in person,” said Kamal Haasan, with a burst of laughter.
Speaking about Mani Ratnam, who was present, Kamal Haasan added, he was stunned by the Roja director’s clarity of thoughts. “I am sure even Rajinikanth would agree on this. Many ask why I prefer to make challenging films like Hey Ram. Though Mani Ratnam and I didn’t work post-Nayagan, we share a similar vision. We are making our dreams come true today.”
On a parting note, Kamal Haasan hinted at RKFI’s 50th film, which will be announced soon. “It’s going to be a mega film, but I need not act in it. The statue of KB sir is here to supervise my work,” he concluded.
K Balachander’s daughter Pushpa Kandasamy, KS Ravikumar, Ramesh Aravind, Santhana Bharathi, Nasser and lyricist Vairamuthu were among the several other film personalities who graced the occasion.