I like God but I don’t like his fan clubs… Same can be said about our stars. I find it funny the way the fan clubs goes on war every time a movie of their favourite hero gets released. Still funnier is the way a reviewer gets trolled if he dissects the movie bad. I get to realise how weak I am in Tamil when I get to read the jargons that are used by these so called fans. But seldom have these fans realised the kind of healthy relationships their stars share.
My Dad’s (Director Mahendran) relationship with Kamal Haasan Sir goes way back from his Ilayaangudi days, during when our grandfather Joseph Chellaiah was teacher to Chaaruhaasan. As a writer my father Mahendran has written many scripts to Kamal sir. Movies like Mogam Muppathu Varusham, Aadu Puli Aattam, Paruvamazhai needs special mention. Both Mahendran and Kamal sir took frequent trips to Bangalore and were in awe of many Kannada movies and constantly discussed and shared their desire to make about good cinema.
But life was writing a different screenplay, Mahendran’s Debut movie Mullum Malarum as Director had Superstar Rajinikanth as the lead. Mahendran was offered this movie because of the admiration the producer had on him as a writer. Thangapadakkam, Vaazhvu En Pakkam, Vaazhndhu Kaatugiren, Aadu Puli Attam were some his best works as dialogue writer. But Mullum Mallarum was altogether a different movie where Mahendran used Rajini and Shoba’s eyes to speak volumes than his pen. There were moments throughout the movie where Mahendran felt Ilayaraja’s background score will speak better than his dialogues.
Shocked seeing the movie with very less dialogues and more of silent visuals, and Rajinikanth, who was very popular for his stylish hand mannerisms who was here with one hand and covered by a shawl for most of the movie, apparently the producer refused to complete the movie which had scenes yet to be shot.
Accusing Mahendran for letting him down as a writer, and despite repeated pleadings producer just brushed aside the movie as a disaster. Shell shocked by his desire to make a good movie getting shattered and his entire future in question, Mahendran met Kamal Haasan and poured out his despair as a friend. The evergreen song Senthaazhum Poovil’s lead scene was to be shot along with few more portions.
Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth
Kamal Haasan who was a strong competitor to Rajinikanth, and someone who knew the potentiality of Director Mahendran long before anyone else, instantly said to Mahendran, that he will bear the expenses of the balance shoot of Mullum Malarum. A star comes forward to complete another star’s movie, a movie which is going to showcase the stylish actor Rajinikanth as a great performer.
It were not just soothing words, but he made arrangements for the shoot in Karpagam Studio, and saw to it Mahendran completed the shoot to his satisfaction.
Till today Mahendran strongly believes, If not for Kamalhaasan his career would not have blossomed with Mullum Malarum. Till today Rajinikanth’s favorite movie is Mullum Malrum, favourite character Kaali, favourite director Mahendran.
Such was the respect these stars showed for each other’s talent. I honestly feel this is what a real fan should learn from his hero.
Film Director, Writer, Author, Currently teaching Film Making in BOFTA