16 Vayathinile (1977)
A spate of movies followed in Tamil, Malayalam and even Bengali before the cult classic 16 Vayathinile.
1977 marked the year of director Bharathiraja, and his portrayal of authentic rural villages, with characters so real and multi-faceted that they ceased to be cinematic. The best of them, unarguably, was Chappani, from 16 Vayathinile (At Sweet Sixteen...).
For Kamal, this was a landmark role for several reasons: he played a cripple with less than stellar good looks, appeared mentally disabled, spoke with a whine, and romanced the heroine, Sridevi from afar, with no hope of winning her love.
The role was played to perfection, and covered such a wide range of emotion that viewers were stunned.
A milestone in Haasan's career, indeed.