This dynamic star was born on 7th November 1954 in Paramakkudi of
Ramanathapuram District to an orthodox brahmin couple Mr. Srinivasan and Mrs.
Rajalakshmi. His father was a freedom fighter. Kamalahaasan was the youngest of
the Haasan brothers, Chaaru and Chandru being the other two.When his family
moved to Madras, he was spotted by director Trilokachander who introduced him as
a child artist in "Kalathoor kannamma" (Tamil-1960). Although his
father and his brothers were qualified as lawyers, Kamal was not interested in
studies. He showed interest in classical dance, for which he quit studies.
Experienced in films as a child artiste, he was interested in joining the film
industry, which inspired him to join the drama troupe of "Avvai
Shanmugam". After joining the stage his career was shaped as an artist,
which has different dimensions as a dancer, assistant director, dance director
and story writer. It was in 1973 that he was introduced by director Balachandar,
as a hero in his film "Arangetram". This was his first film as an hero
and today he has acted in more than 170 movies.
Kamal played a variety of roles ranging from a ventriloquist in "Avargal" to a rebel who falls in love with an older woman in "Apoorva Raagangal", co-starring with Rajinikanth. He was in danger of being typecast in character roles of a rebellious image, but director G.N.Rangarajan realized that he had star potential and sought to cast him as a commercial hero. Kamal initially disagreed, but later gave in, realizing this was the way to superstardom, fame and fortune, after which he could really make films that he enjoyed. A string of hits followed with "Guru", "Sattam En Kayil", "Ellam Inba Mayam".
Then came Barathiraaja who cast him in "16 Vaiadhinile", to catapult himself to fame and along with him Kamal, Sri Devi and RajiniKanth attained fame. Ilayaraja, whose music won the hearts of the people, ensured the films success at the box office and changed the course of Tamil cinema which until then had a stage like setting lacking in the ingredients that make a fine movie.
Another of Barathiraaja's movie "Sigappu Rojakkal" enhanced Kamal's image at the box-office and showed he wasn't apprehensive to play a negative role at the cost of success, since his charactor was portrayed as a deranged psychotic killer, who killed women. In the character he was sexually abused during childhood and witnessed his mother suffer injustice at his father's hand. These were powerful roles he played that established his acting prowess.
A.V.M., the largest studio down south and probably in all of India, decided to recast him as an action hero in "Sagalakala Vallavan". It was the biggest box-office hit for some time. By then, Kamal was a darling of the crowds, especially college-girls. His other phenomenal box office success around the same time was "Kalyanaraman", playing a village bumpkin.
Meanwhile, Kamal made brief forays into the world of Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam cinema. But one of the biggest grossing films of all time in Indian cinema, which marked his debut in Hindi was "Ek Duje Ke Liye ", directed by K.Balachander, a remake of his Telugu hit "Marocharitra". "Moonram Pirai" directed by Balu Magendra, won him his first National award. "Sagara Sangaman" in Telugu was a box-office success where he displayed his dancing skill. This was an era that saw Kamal in a wide variety of roles. There was no comparison between the characters that he chose to play and each of them displayed a new facet of his abundant talent.
"Punnagai Mannan" followed, where he imitated Chaplin. He also started his own production company with "Vikram" and has been quite successful as a producer too. ("Apoorva..","Devar Magan") Then came "Nayagan", a movie that changed the course of Tamil cinema, the story of a famous underworld don of Bombay, Vardaraja Mudaliar. "Nayagan" is a landmark in Indian cinema, and changed Kamal's image completely.
People now wanted to see him in various guises and it became a journey of experiments for Kamal. He became the Lon Chancey of Tamil cinema. He played a dwarf in "Apoorva Sagodarargal", a Mayor in "Indiran Chandiran", a deranged obssessive lover in "Guna" and essayed four different roles in the comedy "Michael Madana Kama Rajan". A truly talented actor, he put his efforts towards screenplay, editing, and scripting.
What next? He is all set to make an epic "Maruda Nayagan" ,and has been working on a script for two years. Its a costume drama, set in the time of the British Raj. Its been his dream project for time to come. He also wishes to make a serial of a Tamil epic story called "Ponniyin Selvan" for TV, since his efforts to film it with Mani Rathnam at the helm did not materialize.
Meanwhile, Kamal will continue to sing, dance and act to entertrain his fans and people of the world. He has set standards by which all future actors will be judged. A unique actor and truly one to reckon with, he is married to Sarika, who was also an actress from the Hindi industry, and has two daughters There has been a consistent growth in his career from his venture in the silver screen at the age of four.
In 1989 he started a social welfare movement called Kamal Hassan Narpani Iyyakkam, a nonpolitical movement, which organises medical camps for tribal people, donates blood and eye, conducts seminars on national integration of various villages, schools and colleges. This movement has so far donated more than 10,000 pairs of eyes. Well there is another side of this man who has spent most of his life offering entertainment and joy to thousands at a time.