For actor and high school dropout Kamal Haasan, it is the rhythm of music that serves as the grammar for his writing, whether it prose or poetry. “I was trained in Bharatanatyam and learned to play the mridangam. I am mindful of the rhythmic pattern when I write,” Kamal wrote in a Tamil weekly that hit the stands on Thursday.
Recalling literary figures that influenced him, Kamal revealed a list of writers including Sujatha, Thi Janakiraman, Indira Parthasarathy, Ashokamithran, Magudeswaran, Jayakanthan and B Jeyamohan.
The national award winner wrote that director RC Shakti, who directed him in his first outing as a lead actor, was the first among his teachers. “RC Shakthi handed me a pen and told me that I am a writer. He gave me the belief and I started to believe it.”
The ‘Hey Ram’ actor said his friends had given him books that went on to influence him as a writer. “As my sister was a fan of Sujatha, I began reading his books as a child. Thi Janakiraman’s writings were too heavy for me at the time. The ideal age to start reading Thi Ka’s books is 18.”
The actor said that his meetings with Sujatha had introduced him to many who would go on to become successful directors. “When Sujatha was residing at the central government staff quarters in Bengaluru, I used to visit him often. Even a week after I returned to Chennai, I would go on telling my friends about what Sujatha told me of his upcoming novel.”
During his visits to Bengaluru, Kamal, who was in still in his early years as a film star, would go to the film festivals held there with friend and associate Ananthu.
Kamal said that Sahitya Akademi Award winner Indira Parthasarathy’s ‘Helicopters Have Landed’ affected him a great deal.
“One of the writers I sought to meet was Ashokamithran. I am also a fan of poet Magudeswaran.”
Kamal recalled Jnanpith Award winner Jayakanthan as saying, “Kamal knows me.” Jayakanthan attended events conducted by the Kamal Haasan Narpani Mandram (welfare association).
Among today’s writers, the actor holds Jeyamohan in high regard. “Jeyamohan’s imagination is magical. I do not know how he does it.”
Kamal said he had a great fondness for writers. “Back then, considering my affinity to the literary world, many in the film industry would comment as to why I am going in search of unknown writers when I have a high market value as an actor,” Kamal wrote.
Making a reference to a talk he had given more than 40 years ago at the MLA Hostel in Chennai, Kamal said, “I was to speak on the view that cinema and literature are not bridged well enough. It is disheartening that even today we have to hold talks on the same subject.”