'Books can go a long way in blurring global borders,' said the Indian superstar Kamal Hassan at the Sharjah International Book Fair.
On Thursday night at the Sharjah International Book Fair, thousands strained to catch a glimpse of the superstar Kamal Haasan. The veteran Indian actor and filmmaker was in town to release the screenplay of his recent hit film Vishwaroopam in book form.
Haasan, who addressed more than 2,000 fans at the fair, said film screenplays should be given the same respect as any other form of literature: “I want my screenwriting to be respected as literature because I truly believe that as a versatile medium, it demands that respect. And I’m not talking about my work.”
A lover of literature, Haasan said books are great teachers.
“I’m a high-school dropout … and books and films have been the kindest teachers. Books can go a long way in blurring global borders.”
Having debuted as a child actor at age 4, Haasan has acted in nearly 185 films in languages including Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi. Besides acting, he has also been a successful screenwriter, director, choreographer, singer and poet.
Haasan’s landmark films include Moondram Pirai (1982), Nayakan (1987) and Dasavathaaram (2008), where he played 10 different characters.
Asked to describe his cinematic journey of 53 years, Haasan said with a laugh: “Bumpy, but safe so far.”
Questioned about the elusive Academy Award despite seven of his films having represented India at the Oscars, Haasan said winning the prestigious trophy has never been his dream.
“The Oscars are not the epitome of everything in the world of cinema. It is an award for American excellence. It excludes and, at times, gracefully includes other countries, but it’s not a level playing ground. I have great respect for it but it’s an institution created by Hollywood to promote itself.
“I dream of a time when Americans will be honoured in India, because India is the largest film producer in the world. I dream of a time when Americans, English, Swedish will feel proud being honoured in India,” he said to huge applause.
* Malavika Vettath
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