I’m ‘Made in Kerala’, says Kamal Haasan at ‘Indian 2’ promotions in Kochi

Kamal Haasan claimed he belong not only to Tamil Nadu but everywhere and that was why he could become a pan-Indian actor.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Jul 11, 2024 | 12:07 PM Updated Jul 11, 2024 | 6:26 PM

Team Indian 2 in Kochi for promotions

Kamal Haasan’s most-anticipated action drama, Indian 2, is all set to hit the screens worldwide this Friday, 12 July. In this pan-India film, the actor returns as Senapathy, a freedom fighter-turned-vigilante fighting against corruption.

Directed by S Shankar, Indian 2 also boasts an ensemble cast, including Siddharth, SJ Suryah, Rakul Preet Singh, Bobby Simha, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Gulshan Grover, Samuthirakani, Delhi Ganesh, Vivekh, Manobala, and the late Nedumudi Venu. As part of promotions, team Indian 2 visited Kochi on Wednesday, 10 July to share its experiences working on this sequel to the 1996 blockbuster hit, Indian.

I come with ‘Made in Kerala’ tag: Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan addressed the media mostly in Malayalam. He said every time he visits Kerala, he becomes nostalgic.

“I have many friends and critics in Kerala, who sculpted me into what I am today. If I am a product, my name tag would claim: ‘Made in Kerala’. I belong not only to Tamil Nadu but everywhere. This is why I could become a pan-Indian actor,” he said.

Actor Kamal Haasan at Indian 2 promotions in Kochi

Actor Kamal Haasan at ‘Indian 2’ promotions in Kochi. (Supplied)

The veteran actor thanked the audience for making his journey (in films) fruitful and cherishing. However, he hastened to add, “I’m still a student of cinema. Nevertheless, we didn’t think we would do Indian 2. The movie boasts many skilled technicians. I am also a part of this endeavour.”

About Senapathy’s makeup, the actor noted that the makeup department progressed rapidly in the past 28 years, since the release of Indian. “Moreover, we made immense efforts to meticulously design not just Senapathy but other characters. Even stunts, dialogues, and artwork saw a sea change in these years and we tried to catch up with the new technology.”

Recalling the hardships he went through for his makeup, Kamal Haasan said people in Kerala, especially those who perform Theyyam, know the travails well since they spend long hours on makeup.

The actor explained that the shooting happened for 70 days with the prosthetic makeup and it was not too hard to do. He thanked the new technologies in makeup, which helped reduce the time.

Malayalee make-up artist Pattanam Rasheed worked for Indian 2. Rasheed has been in the Malayalam industry for a long time and worked on several films with international standards. He won the Kerala State Film Award six times.

Indian 2: We will continue to make political films regardless of who holds power, says Kamal Haasan

About the late Nedumudi Venu

Kamal Haasan turned emotional while talking about the late Malayalam actor Nedumudi Venu, who was part of the Indian franchise.

Venu acted in major portions of Indian 2, but he passed away during the shooting.

However, director Shankar took the aid of ageing technology to complete the portions of Nedumudi Venu, who played the pivotal role of a CBI officer in Indian.

“I met Nedumudi Venu four years ago. Working with him has always been a moving experience. He was one of my favourite actors and I told him this while we were filming Indian. While dubbing for Indian 2, I felt like he was there in the studio, but he wasn’t!”

To a question, the Vikram (2022) actor replied that while writing the story of Indian 2, Shankar included only elements relevant to this era, and hence the film would strike a chord with today’s audience.

Ever wondered how he manages to promote his films aggressively? “Well, the enthusiasm of the audience to watch him on screen is the source of my energy for promotions and stage appearances,” Kamal Haasan quipped.

When asked about his interest in doing futuristic films, the iconic actor felt that it was not the right way to put it and clarified that nobody can see beyond.

“In this (film) business, it takes us time to understand a concept. For instance, some viewers understand Christopher Nolan’s films but not everyone gets them. The same applies here, too. We are all clever people but nobody can see the future.”

Also Read: Indian 2 audio launch highlights

Expect Indian 3 within the next 6 months: Shankar

Shankar addresses the Kochi media

Shankar addresses the Kochi media. (Supplied)

Director Shankar recounted that whenever he read about the growing corruption in government offices, he wanted Senapathy to return to the screen.

“After Jeans (1998), I was thinking what I should do next. When I read about media reports on bribes, I always wanted Senapathy to return and wondered what would happen if he did. But I couldn’t develop a story. The idea struck me during the production of Rajinikanth’s 2.O (2018). When I narrated it to Kamal sir, he liked it.”

The filmmaker revealed that during Indian pre-production, they shared the art director with the photos of Kamal Haasan’s father and brothers so he could come up with the sketches of Senapathy.

“I had goosebumps when I saw the final look of Senapathy in Indian. It happened again when Kamal came to me as Senapathy on the sets of Indian 2. I’m sure the film will give goosebumps moments to audiences, too,” Shankar added.

Replying to a question on when Indian 3 could be expected, Shankar said it could be released within the next six months since only VFX work needs to be completed. He added that the trailer for Indian 3 will be released at the end of Indian 2.

Also Read: Siddharth speaks about Kamal Haasan, Shankar and Indian 2

Indian 2 will connect with all’

Remembering Nedumudi Venu, Shankar said, “He was a dedicated and wonderful actor. Though he was down with a fever, he shot for Indian 2. He told me that the (particular) scene had a punch and he won’t be affected by the fever.”

About Kamal Haasan’s dedication, Shankar said, “Kamal sir couldn’t even eat properly on the sets because of the prosthetics. However, he never complained. A particular scene demanded him to speak Punjabi and he learnt the language. No other actor would have done what Kamal sir for the film.”

The maverick filmmaker also appreciated music director Anirudh Ravichander, cinematographer Ravi Varman, and stunt choreographer Peter Hain for their sheer talent.

He oozed confidence that Indian 2 would be connected to all sections of the audience.

About using RK Laxman’s “Common Man” cartoon in the film, Shankar said the cartoon was a tool for him and he developed the character in 3D. Actor Guru Somasundaram performed the “Common Man” cartoon character in Indian 2 and dubbed his lines as well.

When asked why most of his films have corruption as a core theme, the director replied that he made movies like Kadhalan (1994), Boys (2003), and Enthiran (2010), which dealt with other subjects.

“I like to do films of all genres. I consider myself a common man. I still remember the struggles I went through to get an income certificate, community certificate, and other documents from the government offices. Hence, I consciously include such themes in my films,” Shankar concluded.

(Edited by Y Krishna Jyothi)

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Also Read: Fresh legal trouble brews for Indian 2 over the use of Varma Kalai