• Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
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Kamal Haasan prepares for new role - in politics

  • Published at 09:58 pm August 9th, 2018
Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan AFP

Haasan is one of the biggest names in Indian cinema and has appeared in more than 200 films since making his debut aged six over half a century ago

Indian movie star Kamal Haasan, whose latest film releases on Friday, enjoys causing a stir as an actor and now he is looking to shake up Indian politics as well.

Haasan is one of the biggest names in Indian cinema and has appeared in more than 200 films since making his debut aged six over half a century ago.

The 63-year-old, who has endured battles with censorship, recently formed his own political party and plans to fight for artistic freedoms that he says are being curbed.

The multiple award-winning screen icon is the latest in a long line of Indian actors hoping to transform their popularity at the box office into votes at the ballot box.

Haasan launched Makkal Needhi Maiam in February, a political party based in Tamil Nadu that translates to "People's Justice Centre" in the local language.

It will contest polls for the first time in India's next general election, likely to be held in spring 2019 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a second term.

Haasan, whose films have had a political hue since the 1980s, said his party's priorities will be to "defend freedom of speech, and maintain and safeguard the diversity and multi-religious quality of the nation.”

Haasan appeared in films across several Indian languages - Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi - making him a truly nationwide star.

He has picked up a number of awards throughout a glittering career including the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour, and was made a Chevalier of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Some of his most notable movies include "Vikram", "Mahanadi" (The Great River) and "Nayakan" (The Hero).