Kamal Haasan’s birthday: Here’s a list of his films on OTT
Kamal nostalgia? Want to revisit his films? We have you covered
The multi-talented Kamal Haasan, who has worked primarily in Tamil cinema, has influenced many actors and directors in Indian cinema. Besides being a fine actor, who does not resort to loud histrionics, Kamal has also written and directed, and produced films under his production company Raaj Kamal Films International. Restless in his creative quests, this National award winning actor has also trained as a makeup artist under Michael Westmore.
Kamal, who went into politics in 2018 has acted in more than 200 films. Here are some of his best films that can be viewed on OTT.
On Amazon Prime
In the mid-70s, playing the role of a brooding, passionate revolutionary in love with an older woman in K Balachander’s path-breaking film, Apoorva Raagangal, Kamal Haasan, skinny and wearing a woeful wig, had made his presence felt on celluloid in the mid-70s. This film, which is available on Amazon Prime, belong to his early days as an actor, but it is worth watching not for being a provocative film of that time but to also appreciate Kamal’s journey from a gawky, earnest romantic hero to a versatile actor trying to push boundaries and experimenting with cinematic form and technology.
In the 16 Vayathinile, Kamal, who was by then typecast as a romantic hero who had zillions of female fans, played the role of the village bumpkin in this realistic village drama. Reviewers praised his “tour de force” performance and commented that he is all set to displace the great actor Sivaji Ganesan in time. This 1977 film catapulted Sridevi, Rajinikanth and Kamal to the top league.
In this 1981 love story on an ill-fated pair, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Kamal had fans in a frenzy. The songs were a hit and Kamal as the ultimate lover boy, ready to sacrifice and do anything for love, was cast perfectly. In Moondram Pirai, it was more about the powerhouse performer that he was slowly developing into. His acting in the climax became the stuff of film lore. Many a tear was shed among fans for the tragic ending to the romance between a man and a child-like woman suffering from retrograde amnesia.
Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan in 1987 marked Kamal as the one of the finest actors in Indian cinema. One of his most memorable roles, Kamal plays Velu Nayakar, who becomes a crime lord due to a series of social circumstances. He is also a vigilante dishing out justice to the poor. It was an iconic role in a film heavily inspired by Godfather, and Kamal nailed it and walked off with the National Award, as well.
Kamal’s angry man phase in films was seen in the 1985 Oru Kaidhiyin Diary, a revenge drama, which went on to be remade in Hindi as Amitabh Bachchan’s successful Andhaa Kanoon and Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu, his 1980 satirical drama written and directed by K Balachander.
In the 1986 cult film Swathi Muthyam, Kamal’s acting prowess as a pure-hearted, innocent soul with low intelligence, is on full display, while in the 1983 Sagara Sangamam (Salangai Oli), Kamal had a chance to show off his dancing skills.
Kamal excels in comedy
To get a slice of Kamal’s talent in comedy, these two films are a treat. Michael Madana Kama Rajan—in 1990, in which there were four Kamals. Directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao and written by Kamal Haasan, with Crazy Mohan penning the dialogues, this is a laugh riot. Check out Kamal as the innocent Brahmin Kameswaran, who is adopted by a cook Palakkad Mani Iyer and his romatic shenanigans with Urvashi.
In the 1996 Avvai Shanmughi and the Hindi version Chachi 420 (which Kamal directed) Kamal scored a perfect 100 in this comic role, dressed up as a middle-aged Brahmin lady. This film can be watched a dozen times, as Kamal regales with his neat and cool portrayal of a woman. An unofficial remake of Mrs Doubtfire, reviewers praised Kamal Haasan for having few peers who can do the female role with such perfection.
Silent film: Pushpak
Instead of coasting along in his lover boy image, Kamal continued to experiment, pushing the envelope silently. In Singeetam Srinvasava Rao’s silent film, Pushpak is favourite of many in Kamal’s rich and diverse repertoire of films. It is believed that the actor delivered one of his most subtle performance in this comedy. In the film, Kamal plays an unemployed man down on his luck, who stumbles upon an alcoholic businessman and kidnaps him to impersonate him. Pushpaka Vimana was a huge hit at the box office.
Mahanadhi, directed by Santhana Bharathi and Anbe Sivam, directed by Sundar C, are also available on Amazon Prime.
Kamal's Indian directed by Shankar is landmark Tamil film. The hero is a vigilante who is on a mission to teach corrupt officials who take a bribe a lesson. This film was a huge success and now Indian 2 is in the making. This film is available on YouTube on rent.
More films on YouTube: Kamal’s debut film Kalathur Kannamma, 1991 Gunaa, 1992 romantic drama Singaravelan and the 2000 comedy Thenali.
For some of Kamal’s latest films like his much-talked about action drama Vishwaroopam I & II; his most hit film that was his comeback in Tamil cinema, Vikram (Lokesh Kanagaraj) and the 2015 crime thriller, Thoongavanam are all available on Disney+Hotstar.
On Eros Now
Kamal essays one of his most famous roles as a dwarf challenging his acting skills to the hilt in Apoorva Sagodharargal.
On MX Player
Punnagai Mannan is on SonyLIV; while Kamal's successful Manmatha Leelai and Sigappu Rojakkal (in which he plays a psychopath); Kalaignan, Guru, Sattam En Kayyil and Andha Oru Nimidam are on MX Player.