Kamal Hassan Seeks Arvind Kejriwal’s Help to Wear a Crown of Thorns

Kamal Haasan and Arvind Kejriwal should get married.

Both are accomplished practitioners of the same profession of playacting. The former has honed his onscreen acting skills over years while the latter is a natural. And now in a bizarre political reality show of sorts, the former is learning from the latter.

If and when this grand wedding will occur, the world will heave a sigh of relief because it’ll permanently end the painful task of having to repeatedly call out their bluff each time they emerge from the woodworks.

This is my honest and well-considered prescription upon reading the news of their recent meeting at Kamal Haasan’s residence.

After the luncheon meeting at the actor’s Eldams Road residence, Kejriwal, with Kamal Haasan by his side, told the media that it was important that when India was battling corruption and communalism, all like-minded people should talk to each other and work in tandem.

Translation: Nobody will support either of us, so we’ll support each other and wage war against reality to remain relevant.

Don’t get me wrong. I used to admire Kamal Haasan for his acting prowess till he slithered down that oily well of megalomania beginning roughly at the period of the insufferable Hey ̶K̶a̶m̶a̶l̶ Ram. Multiply this insufferableness by a factor of ten, you get Dashavataram. Multiply this by a cosmic factor, you get a Viswaroopam.

But multiply this by the factor of real life, you get Kamal Hassan the wannabe politician who’s busy scripting his destiny of certain failure. Nothing else explains his choice of meeting the extreme-Communist Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan and the permanent troll of Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal, another Far-Left failure of a Chief Minister.

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But then it’s entirely consistent with and characteristic of Kamal Hassan who’s declared on numerous occasions that he’s an “atheist” Leftie, proclaiming recently that “”left leaders are my heroes.” That’s a long list of leaders including mass-murderers like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Che Guevara, and Fidel Castro. And that’s typically how Leftist deception works: admire Left leaders without naming them.

The other time-tested Communist deception is to always speak the language of compassion and service en route to appropriating political power. Quoth Kamal Hassan:

Actor Kamal Haasan has made clear his political ambitions, indicating that he is ready to serve as chief minister of Tamil Nadu…“Someone has to wear the neta’s cap. It will be a crown of thorns. Someone has to clean the quagmire and make this place habitable for people. I’m not hungry for power but we will seize the opportunity if that’s the only way to deliver for the people.” [Emphasis added]

There you go. “Ready to serve” but ready to serve only as the Chief Minister. Gaffe-factory Rahul Gandhi too speaks the same lingo: I promise to serve the people of India but only as Prime Minister. That’s the lust-for-power lingo.


Post Jayalalithaa’s death, there’s a deluge in Tamil Nadu of actors who want to become Chief Ministers. Rajinikanth has so far played his moves smartly. Whatever his mass appeal, it’s nowhere as close to what it used to be in the 1980s and 90s. And Kamal Haasan’s is far lesser. Even worse, he has absolutely no political track record to speak of. But there’s that thing about fools rushing in where angels fear to tread.

It’s going to take a significant period before the political leadership vacuum in Tamil Nadu is filled. And so the aforementioned deluge is actually a case of the worms emerging from the woodworks. This becomes crystal clear when we observe that the selfsame Kamal Haasan who didn’t dare utter a single word criticising either Karunanidhi or Jayalalithaa, is now trying his onscreen heroism in real life, the worm analogy sounds rather apt.

Equally, his phony rants against “communalism” and the mention that his “political colour is not saffron,” the same worm-like cowardice becomes clearer. He’s scared to even mention the names of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. But there’s a small problem there: while his colour may not be saffron, the BJP is embedded in his very name.

But it’s rather easy to understand Kamal Haasan’s extreme self-loathing because he belongs to the generation that failed us: the generation that brainwashed itself or compromised or didn’t protest against the Nehru Cult that shredded this country’s self-respect on the global stage and deracinated millions of its own people, an unparalleled, self-inflicted cultural assault.

This fallen Iyengar thrived and flourished for most of his cinematic career through overt and covert Brahmin-bashing because it was not only immensely profitable given the political monopoly that the self-defeating Dravidian ideology had in Tamil Nadu but also because Kamal Haasan was himself enamoured by Leftism, a byproduct of which is his slavish fascination and imitation of the West.

One can cite two prominent examples for this. His media statement after meeting Pinarayi Vjayan where he declared that

“My admiration for him is not blind, it is a sensible one. Look at his statistics, look at the funds he has and what he has managed to do with it. you should be proud of him. Doesn’t matter if he is left, right or centre, there are Western standards of living here.” [Emphasis added]

This isn’t the place to debate about the merits or otherwise of Western living standards but Kamal Haasan’s uncritical admiration for them. Why does it escape his Left brain that India has enough talented people who are definitely capable of crafting good living standards? While a benchmark is good, a blind aping of what works for others is not a wise way of doing things: sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah.

The second example vividly illustrates the workings of Kamal Haasan’s mind-set apart from his undying fascination for Hollywood:

[Nayagan] was completed and released in October 1987. After 25 years Kamal Haasan has suddenly chosen to talk about it, distorting the facts for reasons best known to him, and undermining the contributions made by everyone…I felt that Velu Naicker did not need a “Hollywood” makeup man and costumer. In fact it was Kamal Haasan’s idea to bring such people in. Our company had a makeup man and costumers who were all paid by me. To state that there was no budget for makeup and costumes is absurd…As far as using international artist Jim Allen, he was charging a huge amount (almost Rs. 2,00,000 per day), that too in dollars, which was not feasible in those days. I could not concede to this request, since it meant engaging in illegal and unethical hawala transactions. Moreover, the stunts that Mr. Allen suggested were already in vogue. Mani would have come up with a better scene had Kamal not insisted on copying from The Godfather….To call the movie his “baby” and not be bothered about its release is a reflection on Kamal Haasan’s ‘sincerity’…The scene where Kamal Haasan cries on seeing the dead body of his son is copied from The Godfather, and he imitates Marlon Brando…I have nothing against Kamal Haasan taking credit for the success of Nayakan. But not at my cost, please. [Emphasis added]

This is the same man who now wants to wear a “crown of thorns” to serve people. Pigs can fly. Fishes can perform breakdance. Kamal Haasan can become Chief Minister.

Here’s a parting dialogue from the same Nayagan, a rather childish scene but a question that wannabe saviour-Chief Minister of the poor, Kamal Haasan needs to ask himself: Nee nallavara kettavara? (Are you a good man or an evil man?)

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Sandeep Balakrishna
Writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. Author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." He has translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.
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