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Rediff.com  » Movies » Kamal Haasan: Robin Williams brought dignity to male tears

Kamal Haasan: Robin Williams brought dignity to male tears

August 13, 2014 10:34 IST

Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, Kamal Haasan in Chachi 420'His true art came alive on screen every time he cried. You can see it in his films.'

Veteran actor-director Kamal Haasan, whose Chachi 420 bore striking resemblance to the late actor's Mrs Doubtfire, pays tribute.

Comedians are social commentators who channelise their anger with the help of their sense of humour.

Keeping up that appearance for the outside world can be daunting and depressing, which probably took Robin Williams' life.

His true art came alive on screen every time he cried. You can see it in his films.

He could never become a star in the 1960s, a time in Hollywood when heroes were wary of crying on screen.

But the Vietnam war changed the American psyche -- Rambo was the first popular action hero to panic on screen, scream and cry in fear.

Robin Williams brought dignity to masculine tears. One of my favourite Robin Williams films is The Bird Cage.

Though a remake of a French film, it was an interesting take on the original. I thought Robin's work in a film like 1 Hour Photo was phenomenal. He has bid us goodbye too early.

Both of us played a man in drag (Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, Haasan in Avvai Shanmugi, Chachi 420).

Our  most unfortunate mistake was to keep a few scenes  similar to Mrs Doubtfire but we did have the idea for our film six years before Doubtfire released.

I guess we were both inspired from the same source.

My idea was  to do a  Kramer Versus Kramer-meets-Tootsie kind of a film.

A year before we decided to do Avvai Shanmugi, my friend Gigo, of Chota Chetan, had a subject about  a man disguised as a man.

I refused that film because I had to play a younger woman. I wanted my female character to be older so we eliminated the sensual side from the gender equation. To be honest, I like my Chachi 420.

Imgae: Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, Kamal Haasan in Chachi 420

Subhash K Jha in Patna