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'Someone has taken a political ride on my vehicle'

Subhash K Jha | June 21, 2003 19:03 IST

The entire unit of Kamal Haasan's Sandiyar, which had to be recalled to Chennai from Madurai, will be returning in the next five days.

Kamal HaasanThe shooting of the controversial film was postponed after objections were raised by Dr K Krishnaswamy, leader of the dalit party Puthiya Thamizhagam, about the title.

A meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sorted the matter out.

"She [Jayalalithaa] spent 40 minutes with me for a 10-minute problem," Kamal Haasan said. "She assured me not to get worried. I asked her if there was any misunderstanding between us regarding the issue. She told me there was no problem at all. She said she didn't want the controversy to snowball in my face."

The actor-filmmaker said the chief minister asked if there was anything controversial in Sandiyar. "When I told her the film could have 20 other titles, she told me to change the title," he said. "I even offered to title it after one of my older films." 

Jayalalithaa, he said, was very helpful and offered to let him shoot anywhere in the state except where there is communal tension. "In fact there was communal tension where we were shooting two days after we packed up," he said. "So her advice is perfectly valid."

Kamal Haasan, however, still believes that changing the title is tantamount to infringing on his creative rights. "If they are fighting about my film's title, I can remove it without affecting the film," he said. "I lose nothing. Finally it's for the audience to decide the quality of the film. But someone has taken a political ride on my vehicle and I don't like it. I have to make the movie and I am going to."

About Jayalalithaa refusing the unit police protection, he said, "I never asked her for police protection. I just wanted crowd control."

Abirami and Kamal HaasanMeanwhile, Kamal Haasan's new Tamil production Nala Damayanthi featuring Madhavan in the lead is doing extremely well. "The collections are getting better by the day," he said. "We earlier produced a film called Sathi Leelavathi [remade as Biwi No 1 in Hindi by David Dhawan]. That was a superhit. Nala Damayanthi is expected to be as successful."

This time Kamal Haasan himself intends to remake the film in Hindi. The plot revolves around a Tamil cook abroad and will be called Maharaj in Hindi. 

Though originally written with Kamal Haasan himself in mind, he "never got down to it because we had to shoot it overseas and it wasn't cost-effective".

Madhavan, he said, has got some great reviews and has done complete justice to the role.

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