Kamal Haasan was born and raised in Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

Haasan was born into a wealthy Tamilian family.1 The Tamil are a Hindu people native to Southern India.2

Though born a Hindu, Haasan is now an outspoken atheist and his questioning/denial of the existence of God is often a topic of the films he writes/directs/produces/stars in.3 But it’s not something he really wants to talk about–unless under duress. He once said:

Religion should be treated as personal as sex. People should consider the question ‘What religion do you follow?’ as awkward as ‘How well did you fuck your wife last night?’4

He will occasionally point out what he sees as religious hypocrisy, such as saying:

Strangely, one of the greatest rationalists of this world has been turned into a god: Buddha.5

During a press conference at his house after his film, Vishwaroopam, was banned in numerous Muslim communities in India for what they considered to be offensive material,6 Haasan–clearly upset–lashed out at India, religion and his society’s religious leanings:

I only want to stay in a secular state, that doesn’t mean I will not make Tamil films. I am not angry with my people… If I cannot find in India, I will find hopefully another country that is secular.7

So, you can see, religion can be a point of contention for Haasan, particularly as he is a resident of a highly religious, traditional and ancient culture.

Not explicitly political, incredibly implicitly political

Haasan insists that he is completely non-political, saying things like:

I am godless, without religion and without [political] party. And I think all the parties should work for me and not vice versa.8

But his fans and critics often disagree. His films, such as Anbe Sivam often glorify far-left ideologies and a line from that film was even picked up by India’s Communist Party newspaper:

The ‘Soviet Union might have disintegrated but Communism as an ideology will never die or disintegrate.’9

And many an article has been written delving into the communist/socialist/leftist ideas in Haasan’s films. India’s centrist and right-leaning demographics seem to take it as fact that Haasan is a communist.10

Haasan is a vocal admirer of Mahatma Gandhi11 and occasionally speaks at anti-war rallies.12 And he has been pressured to enter India’s political arena–but he’s not interested:

No, it is too demeaning for me. In this scenario, the kind of politics I want to indulge will get me killed in 365 days. The rest of them fight for seats, they don’t fight for ideology. They cannot be my leaders.13

It sounds like an admission of some extreme political views to me.

Ultimately, Haasan seems to be an artist, with ideals and visions that would not be accepted in the mainstream. What are your thoughts?

  1. Kamal Haasan Biography. One India Entertainment. []
  2. Tamil people. Wikipedia. []
  3. Dasavathaaram is spectacular. Rediff. []
  4. One of the famous atheist, Kamal Hasan, said about religion. Atheist Nexus. []
  5. Kamal Hassan – Biography. IMDb. []
  6. Kama Haasan threatens India with self-exile over Vishwaroopam row. Indian Express. []
  7. Kamal Haasan – I have no religion, no caste, perhaps no money now. AP Herald. []
  8. Just A Minute With: actor Kamal Hassan. Reuters. []
  9. Kamal Haasan sees red. Rediff. []
  10. The Politics of Kamal Haasan. Cetre Right India. []
  11. The Politics of Kamal Haasan. Cetre Right India. []
  12. The Politics of Kamal Haasan. Cetre Right India. []
  13. Just A Minute With: actor Kamal Hassan. Reuters. []