It’s a YouTube video. A sketch of the child Kamal Haasan in Kalathur Kannamma segues seamlessly into another of the young actor being carried by Sivaji Ganesan. A voice in the background tells the story of Kamal’s life before he became ‘Ulaganaayagan’. The three-minute video is just the first episode of a documentary called The Master and the Masterpiece now on YouTube.
The makers are Arun and Rajesh, two corporate guys who could not afford to take a break from their jobs to pursue their filmmaking ambition. Their Eureka moment arrived when they discovered that Kamal would soon be celebrating his 60th birthday. And, as if the universe was conspiring, they met and befriended Lakshmanan (Latchu), an artist famous for making sketches of people in the news. And when Karthik Srinivas of Noise and Grains Productions stepped in to bring the team together, they finally got their big idea. They decided to make a video documentary on Kamal Haasan to be released in parts on YouTube. The idea was easy, the execution wasn’t. As this wasn’t an official documentary, they had to rely mainly on YouTube videos, old newspaper stories, and TV interviews to piece the actor’s life together. “For instance,” says Arun, “we learned that Kamal was introduced to K. Balachander by Gemini Ganesan from an old interview of AVM Saravanan.”