K Balachandar

Distinguished people on the dais, Members of the film fraternity, Ladies and Gentleman, Good evening.
I have stopped traveling because my bones protest. I have stopped speaking at public functions, because my memory betrays me. I have stopped attending film related functions, as I find that I am not in sync with the content and character of current day cinema and so feel out dated and even out of place.
So somewhere in the twilight zone, between a retiree and a recluse, I just watch the world go by, nursing my groans and grievances.
But mention, Kamaihasan’s name, – somehow my years drop, my weariness dries, my back straightness, my knees heal, my heart lightens, my smile widens, my spirits soar
– so why only beautiful Trivandram -I would willingly go to even — Timbuctoo — if only to sing Kamal’s praises.
I would like to be present in every platform, every podium, every stage — why every show in every theater that a Kamalliasan film runs, as long as my breath lasts.
Every creative personality — whether actor or technician — has five stages, with respect to his popularity and demand.
Using my name as an example — The first stage is ‘Who is Balachander’?’
The next stage, is ‘Give me ONLY Balachander’
The third stage is ‘I want SOMEONE like Balachander’.
The fourth stage is ‘Give me a YOUNG Balachander’.
The Last stage is ALAS! ‘Who is Balachander?’ once more.
But Mr. Kamalhasan has ensured that I will never ever reach that fifth and final stage in my life and career, because of what He has achieved.
I have to admit that I have long ago run out of personal laurels to rest upon. Now I gratefully rest on the laurels of Rajini & Kamal. Rajini has grown beyond imagination, but Kamal has evolved into everything that I have dreamt he would be. Indeed I should never be surprised by anything he achieves, yet I am constantly amazed!
Rajini stands tall, for all the world to see. Kamalhasan however, straddles the whole world. Rajini is a phenomenon. Kamal is an Icon, a monarch of all he surveys!

So in the evening of my life, I have come to praise the LIFE of this eveningKamaihasan! a person who has been the sunshine of my life and career so much so, that my sunset is still bright and shining because of his reflected glory.
Before I forget, let me say a few words about the significance behind this function.
The first observation is that, although the seed of Kamal’s career was sewn in Tamilnadu, it germinated and took roots, only in the fertile literary landscapes of Kerala where the likes of THAKAZHI SIVASHANKARAi% PILLAJ, VAIKKOM BASHEER, M.T. VASUDEVAN NAIR, P. BHASAKRAN, stood like colossuses! It is from their stories that directors like Sethumadavan, I.V. Sasi and many more, drew inspiration to make films. Kamathasan learnt the basics of underplaying and the nuances of melodrama — in the formative initial years of his career in a wide variety of roles in over 50 fihns! Thus it was the Malayalain film industry that kindled his creative fires, fanned the flames of his ambition and gave him the direction of what has been a very eventful and triumphant journey.
The second point is, – – –
education creates knowledge Knowledge creates awareness Awareness creates rationalism Rationalism creates equality
Equality creates grace
Grace creates humility
Humility creates reverence
And reverence creates a culture of acknowledgement without envy!
And so it is no wonder that the most educated and literate state in the country is among the first to recognize and appreciate greatness when it sees it.
My applause and my appreciation to the Kerala Government and the organizers of this function for their gracious decision to celebrate SO years of Kamal in cinema.
There have been many great Indian cricketers — but Sachin stands out. Likewise in every field of activity there are the special few — and a chosen one among the special. Be it business, art, technology, religion, industry, philosophy — whatever be the vocation. What sets them apart? What is that quality in them that never tires, never gets bored, that sets them not merely apart, not merely above — but alive for eternity! In that list, it would not be exaggerations or flattery to say that Kamal is the haloed king!

Edison has been credited with discovering electricity. Alexander Bell the telephone. RL Stevenson the Steam Locomotive. Marconi the Radio. The Lumiere brothers the moving picture to tell stories.
No matter how much technology advances in the above disciplines, these names will forever be remembered for their foresight and pioneering intelligence. In this illustrious list I too am fortunate to find a place! Because I am credited with discovering Kanial.
In truth, 1 did not discover Karnal. lonly gave him the platform and the opportunity to discover himself. Inthe process, I was blessed enough to discover myselfi
He only let me hold his hand., while he learnt to walk on the lanes of cinema. Then – – THEN — he let ME hold HIS mind, while I thought. Then he showed me the extent of his imagination while I explored, and when his range and hunger for creativity became insatiable – – – I gladly gave him up, and let him FLY away, and fmd himself
Yes, I own Kamal. Yet he does not belong to me – he belcmgs to the world of cinema. It is often argued that had he been born abroad, he would have won the Oscar many times over. Maybe. But I do not subscribe to that train of thought. He would never have done either the quality or the quantity of roles that he has played. A few Oscars maybe. But what value are a few Oscars in front of the adulation and warmth of a billion smiles and the awe and respect of a billion salutes?
I have never ceased to be amazed by the limits and standards he sets himself — standards that nobody else imagines even exists.
He follows no rules. Instead he makes his own — only to break them and begin all over again!
His presence in Indian cinema is proof of its integrity.
His progress is proof of its ability.
His position is proof of its sanctity and superiority.
Because his path in Indian cinema is what he created himself, he leads not by emulation but by example, he lives not for a mere living but for cinema and only for cinema. Cinema is not merely his bread and butter. Cinema is his breath.

I did not teach him every thing he knows. He just absorbed every thing Lknew. The rest he discovered himself by, asking, probing, begging, watching, observing, reading, demanding, investigating, improvising, experimenting, experiencing, learning and not being afraid of stretching himself beyond his own limits.
To a director —- he is both a dream and a devil — for you tend to get carried away by
his charm! a
He is both a vice and a virtue — for he can become extremely addictive!
He is both a champ and a challenge — for he has no limits, and does not expect you to have them!
He is both a penance and a prayer, for he sees no other religion — other than cinema!
Nobody has staked his reputation, repertoire and resources for the cause of cinema as much as Kamaihasan has. It is not mere pursuit of fame or fortune. In fact, he has lost more than he has gained. It goes beyond that. Again drawing a comparison with Sachin Tenduilcar — he is beyond competition. He is beyond rivals. He is motivated only because of his passion and love for India and everything that is Indian. That is what keeps his anger and hunger fed. It is his dogged perseverance of his beliefs both in himself and in the power and influence of cinema that motivates him, makes him set his own standards, his own horizons, his own goals, his own finish lines.
He stands apart and above.
He stands high and mighty.
He stands unique and incomparable.
Yet he stands with his feet and heart firmly on Indian soil, his shoulders rigid, fighting through the temptations of glamour and fame searching for a more truthful and lasting creativity – – –
And indeed emerging a bit bloodied — but never beaten.
A bit bruised — but never bowed.
Hey man! Kamal — I am proud of you my son.
(ii wei, Qijruàu QLJfltDWfl çLrTI(!
From babyhood to childhood, from adolescence to youth, from manhood to middle age — I have been a part of this magician’s life.

He has held my flag aloft when it sagged.
He has held my spirits up, when it lagged.
He cleared the stones when I stumbled.
He erased my frowns when I grumbled.
He earned me my trophies, my bouquets, my applause.
He was the armour I wore against mediocrity.
He shielded my pride, from those wreaths.
He was the wheel where I honed my competence.
He was the sword with which I slew my insecurities.
Yes, he may have held my hand when he started to walk — but today he flies. He learnt
that by himselfi Nobody taught him!
He is not merely the jack, but the king and the queen and also the master of all trades pertaining to cinema.
Which other actor, whether in India or anywhere abroad — can claim that he can hold his own, against any of the best in any discipline pertaining to cinema. He writes greats stories, amazing screen plays, superb dialogues, as well as lyrics. He is also a very talented poet. He is more than a good singer with extensive knowledge of music
– both western and classical. He is an accomplished Bharathnayani dancer, with an in- depth knowledge and a natural grace in western, eastern as well as folk dances. He is an excellent makeup wizard. He can do his own editing for which he has undergone training abroad in premium institutions. He has more than a working knowledge of the camera — both still and moving. He reads, spealcs and writes fluently in atleast five lounges. He is upto date with the latest technological advances in computer graphics and other associated engineering aspects of film making. He is obsessed and extremely passionate about the importance and use of sound in films, and was the first to use LIVE sound recording for his film ‘HEYRAM’ which he wrote and directed. He frequently attends and conducts workshops on cinema. He regularly addresses seminars and lectures connected with all types of artistic activity all over the world!!
And yes — he also acts!!!
Kamaihasan as a film actor will be always remembered — as a film maker he will be revered! As an actor he will always be applauded — as a writer he will be adored! Kamal the dancer, the singer, the social worker will always be sublime — Karnal the director – will make films that will defy and define TIME – HIS TIME!
Someday his films like ‘MAHANADHI’, ‘NAYAGAN’, ‘NAMMAVAR’, ‘HEYRAJ4’, ‘GUNA’, ‘ALAVANDAN’, ‘DEVARMAGAN’, will be studied and referred as all time classics by students as well as the connoisseurs of international

cinema, and will be compared and considered on a par with CITIZEN KANE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, GoNE WITH THE WIND, GOD FATHER ETC. some of his comedies Like ‘MAICHEL MADHANA KAMARAJAN’, ‘PANCHATHANThJW4’, ‘PAMMAL K SAMBANTHAM’, are laugh riots that will keep several generations amused. Kamal’s films will some day be the bench mark and identity of Indian cinema allover the world. He would have set standards that others will find difficult to emulate.
No matter how much you are mentally prepared to be surprised by the incredible genius and immense versatility of this man — he will still manage to somehow ASTONISH you!, in film after film, constantly raising his creative bars.
Every great prominent and, famous personality can be caricatured by emphasizing on any one single attribute or virtue. Thus, Gandhiji was symbolically identified by just round glasses and a walking stick, Bharathiyar by a curled mustache, MGR by his fur cap, Periyar by his beard. Nehru with his rose, Churchill with his cigar etc. which represents the single most characteristic of that individual .that immediately brings that person to mind. By extension if we were to want to define Kamalhasan by just a single stroke – it should perhaps be an EXCLAMATION MARK. !!! because he always astonishes!
So someday it would be unsurprising to see an exclamation mark replacing the name Kamaihasan!!!
Kamalahasan is at the same time a Sivaji Ganesan and a Fred Astaire. He is at the same time a Nagesh and a Nageshwar Rao, a Sathyan and an Eroll Flynn, a NTR and a Brando, a Dilip Kumar as well as a Charlie Chaplan. He is as much Stallone as he is TK Shanmugam! He quotes Bharathi as he does the Bard! Admieres Mai,c as much as he does the Mahathma! He is both a Woodhouse and a Wordsworth at the same time! He enjoys Beethoven as much as he does the Byla! He has the intensity of a Copalla, the imagination of a Cameron! The integrity of a Bergman and the cerebral honesty of a Ray!
No praise or comparison is misplaced where he is concerned. He is unique. He is gifted. He is one of a kind’
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I am very tired. I suppose even extreme happiness can exhaust you. So in conclusion – – –
Kamathasan is not what he is because of me. On the contrary, I am what I am because ofhim—oniymoreso!

He is today what I WAS. He is today what I AM, but he is today what I could never ever be.
He will be tomorrow what nobody else, can ever be:
I have long lost the taste, appetite and hunger for personal applause. All I wish for now, all my addiction now is to hear the applause, the cheers, the trumpets, and the music singing Kamalhasan’s fame and genius!
He is the biggest jewel in my fortuitous crown. Today that jewel stands bigger and brighter than the crown!
How blessed and privileged I am.
How proud and pleased.
Thank you Kerala for giving me the platform and space to speak my heart.
Thank you Kamal for ruling my heart!
Thank you God, for giving us Kamal.
Good Night and God Bless you.

K Balachandar

In letterhead

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Chennai, India