Kamal Haasan's speech at Indian 2 audio launch: From Gratitude to politics, 5 key takeaways

    Here are the five key takeaways from Kamal Haasan's speech at the Indian 2 audio launch event. 

    Kamal Haasan at Indian 2 audio launch.

    Kamal Haasan at Indian 2 audio launch.

    Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan delivered an impactful speech at Saturday's grand audio launch event for his upcoming movie, Indian 2. The event was held at Chennai's Nehru Stadium, in the presence of the who's who of the Tamil film industry.

    Young directors like Lokesh Kanagaraj and Nelson, along with stars such as Silambarasan, Kajal Aggarwal, Rakul Preet Singh, and Aditi Shankar, were present at the event. The music launch also turned into a live concert with performances from composer Anirudh Ravichander, Shruti Haasan, and Mouni Roy.

    At the end of the celebrations, Kamal Haasan took the stage to make a lengthy speech. Here are the five key takeaways from Kamal's speech, filled with gratitude, and remembrance, and laced with political innuendos.

    Kamal Haasan Rejected Shankar's First Film

    Kamal Haasan recalled that he was director Shankar's first choice for Gentleman. The 1993 movie marked Shankar's directorial debut and delved into the idea of vigilantism. However, Kamal didn't like the idea and the movie's political stance, so he turned down Shankar's offer, but not before suggesting changes to the script. Shankar apparently made the changes that Kamal wanted and roped in Arjun Sarja to play the lead role. When the movie came out, it was a big hit at the box office.

    Kamal revealed that he didn't think Shankar would come back to him. "Directors usually don't go back to the stars who rejected them," he noted. The second time Shankar pitched Indian to Kamal, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Sivaji Ganesan Encouraged Kamal to Do Indian

    Kamal revealed that when Shankar came to him with Indian, he was basking in the success of Thevar Magan. The 1992 rural drama was a commentary on issues of caste discrimination and how it evoked baser instincts in humans. Kamal played Sivaji Ganesan's son in the movie. The film became a landmark in Tamil cinema. Following that, Kamal recalled he wanted to do another film with Sivaji Ganesan. But, that story was similar to Shankar's Indian.

    When Kamal told Sivaji about Indian, the latter remarked, "Dai! We both have acted as father and son already. This film will have you as both father and son. So, do it." Kamal thanked Sivaji for helping him make the right choice, claiming that without his guidance he might not have acted in the movie.

    The Budget of Indian 2

    Indian was touted as one of the most expensive films of its time. Kamal Haasan's prosthetic makeup and the sheer scale of the movie were considered path-breaking in the 90s. The industry, however, has undergone a massive change now. Kamal claimed that the cost incurred by the producers to organize the music launch of Indian 2 was equal to the entire budget of Indian. Kamal wanted to establish the sheer size of the project and its mammoth budget, which is pegged at more than Rs 300 crore.

    Kamal praised the courage of producer Subaskaran Allirajah of Lyca Productions in making such a massive movie and also expressed deep gratitude to Udhayanidhi Stalin for helping the project restart at a time when it was reeling under several issues.

    Remembering Vivek and Nedumudi Venu

    Kamal Haasan remembered late actors Vivek and Nedumudi Venu. He appreciated Shankar for making the movie in a way that the audience would not feel their absence while expressing regrets over their untimely passing.

    Nedumudi Venu played a key role in Indian. He died in 2021 at the age of 73. Vivek also died the same year at the age of 59 following a massive cardiac arrest. Indian 2 was Vivek's first onscreen collaboration with Kamal Haasan. Both actors passed away when Indian 2 was stuck in production hell.

    Kamal Haasan's Politics

    Kamal Haasan's speech wouldn't be complete without touching upon burning political issues. His speech at the Indian 2 music launch event was no different. He claimed that the "divide and rule policy of the British will no longer work in India." Without taking names, Kamal cautioned those who engage in such politics. He noted that the British had a home to go back to when they were chased out of India. He reminded those who engage in such politics that they would have no place to go like the British. While suggesting that he will work with DMK in the future, he also left the audience with a question to ponder, "Why can't a Tamilian rule India?"