A Blog on Cinema

Letter to Kamal Hassan


Dear Sri Kamal Hassan,

Finally we saw Unnaipol Oruvan. After seeing A Wednesday, we had low expectations of your movie since A Wednesday was perfect and we were sure that you could not top it. After seeing the movie, our opinion has not changed.
One reason for this failure is casting. Especially casting Mohanlal as Raghava Marar. It is not that we hate Mohanlal, but we were sad that he was given a role in which he had to speak Tamil when he is not a native speaker. You tried to fix that loop-hole by making him a Malayali, which was the trick used by Ram Gopal Varma in Company as well.
But in Company, Mohanlal did not have much speaking to do and that role came out well. Whereas in this movie, when he yells at for example Lakshmi, it seems as if he is self conscious not to mess up his dialogue. All throughout the movie he seemed uncomfortable. And this is from a man who did Narasimham.
Watching the movie, we felt as if Mohanlal was asked to act with his hands tied behind. So it would have been better if you had cast Vikram or Prabhu or Sharath Kumar or your old buddy Arjun in the role. What would have been even better was if Rajnikanth was in this role.
In the last Asianet-Ujala award, we heard you mention that you will act with Mammotty soon. So we have one request. Please do it in a Malayalam film as your Malayalam is more tolerable than Mammotty’s Tamil.


  1. Interesting view point and personally in agreement with you. Mohanlal was awkward from beginning to end and movie was no great shakes either. Whereas Naseer gave a searing performance in the original, Kamal’s act was somehow forced, especially when he mouths those English dialogues in that posh, pristine accent. Hard to believe that he is a representative of the common man that he claims to be in the movie. And the setting of Chennai did not have the same impact as Mumbai as the latter had the backdrop of being a real victim of terrorism.

    But i have to say this; Mammotty’s Tamil is any day more bearable than Kamal’s Malayalam.

  2. UPO was awesome!…it improved on the (small) flaws in the original!…Kamal, Mohanlal, Lakshmi, and Ganesh were great!…also….most of the tamil reviews gave a lot of props to Lal for his perf.

  3. There is a limit to which you should criticize things..! I felt Mohanlal was apt in the role and he delivered his lines with conviction and it was really a good understated performance.

    // All throughout the movie he seemed uncomfortable. //
    Isn’t that exactly how a police commissioner , who’s city is about to be bombed should be..

    Recently I see only negative comments and celebrity bashing in here.. It’s really depressing!.

  4. I completely agree with Filmbuff and Srijith;initially i didn’t feel like watching the film since i had seen “A Wednesday” before;but its the acting of Mohanlal and Kamalhasan that made the film work even thought a majority of us knew the story before.Just surprised to see the complaints about lal’s acting;i thought it was really good;just to see his facial expressions and the body language of a desperate police officer was really amazing;and its a joke to see the letter asking sharathkumar,vikram and rajanikanth to act this role;wah rajani; can any of these actors have the abilities to underplay as mohanlal did for a middle aged police officer;just understand that actors like kamal hasan .mohanlal etc are a different league;its not their stardom its their acting caliber that has taken them to such top league.

  5. @srijith,

    completely agree with u man..this blog is way too negative

    also…i think they should post original reviews on here…like i dont like the concept of judging a movie by simply showing web reviews from various indian sites…that works more for american critics as the critics there are trained in journalism/film history…

    also..i dont like the over emphasis this site gives to awards…i think it would be better for people to describe their own personal encounter with a film…rather than worry about what some bribed or psuedo intellectual jury awarded!

  6. @Filmbuff

    “rather than worry about what some bribed or psuedo intellectual jury awarded!”

    It hasn’t been long since you expressed your opinions on the awards that the ‘bribed or pseudo intellectual’ jury awarded. I guess the issue must have worried you enough to express an opinion at least?

    Regarding the negative bit, this is one of the few blogs that calls a spade a spade. And DOES NOT bow down before that star charisma that has so many eyes blinded all over. No wonder then that it’s seen by some as ‘negative’; especially the ones who hate to see those idols come crashing down.

  7. Agree with Mohanlal and Unnaipol Oruvan.

    But Mammooty’s Tamil is worse than Kamal’s Malayalam???

    Shows the credibility of the writers are pretty limited to a small world(of Malayalam cinema!). Because Mammooty rocks in Tamil films. Yeah, he has got a very slight accent, but otherwise, Mammooty speaks better Tamil than most Tamil heros. He can take Kamal anyday. Comparing Mohanlal’s Tamil with Mammooty?! Mammooty did so many solo films as a hero in Tamil.

    Now, the problem is, getting people to watch a Kamal film(people other than his hardcore fans and media supporters)

  8. @Vinu you must have something original before simply accusing;some points to criticize; how easily could you judge that others who post comments are merely fan followers;the performances in the films by its lead actors was really good and you can keep on saying that the accent was not rite blah blah blah etc ;whether it is Lal,mammootty or kamal hasan when them do good performance it has to be agreed that its a good performance rather than telling anything just to sound different from others.its not that mammooty or mohanlal doenot have bad films but lal’s performance in unnaipol oruvan was really a benchmark and was also praised by the tamil media.

  9. VC,
    I too felt that Unnai Pol Oruvan did not match up to Wednesday but I would attribute it more to Kamal Hasan’s acting methods and perhaps the script (Many things that were ‘implied’ in the Hindi version needed to be put in dialogues in Tamil ). Kamal did not come across as ‘just another normal man from your neighbourhood’ as Shah in the original. Perhaps the Tamil industry demanded that or perhaps Kamal is not so great in ‘subtle’ performances (I agree more to the latter).

    Lal did a great job in the movie but language indeed was a handicap. But as you rightly pointed out, he was featured as a Malayalee officer; that is good enough a reason to justify that. “when he yells at for example Lakshmi, it seems as if he is self conscious not to mess up his dialogue”: Don’t you think a real-life malayalee officer would be conscious in real life in a similar circumstance. As a malayalee, working in Chennai, I would vouch for it. I did not see anything there that is worth being sarcastic about.

    Your words like ‘the man who did narasimham’ comes across as just another line to ‘prove’ that you (also) appreciate Mohanlal. The same with the comment on Mammootty’s tamil: that you (also) dislike Mammootty in a similar situations.

    Perhaps, you wanted your post to attract more comments and hits, just like it happened previously when you bashed out against Mohanlal. And if so, I think you have hit the bull’s eye: Many Mammootty and Lal fans would not be able to resist commenting on this.. just like me 😛

  10. @Visakh

    “but lal’s performance in unnaipol oruvan was really a benchmark and was also praised by the tamil media.”

    Benchmark? Says who? You? So it is just your opinion, right? Similarly others have different opinions. You don’t need to get defensive over it.

    Praised by Tamil Media? So what? Really so what? Most the world thinks Aamir Khan is a great actor. I absolutely don’t like him. Am I supposed to like him because the “media” or “everyone” thinks so? From your comment it seems that people are supposed to hide opinion behind “media” opinion.

    I agree with Vinu regarding VC, but I wish there were more original reviews of both good and bad films.

  11. @Visakh

    I think you got the wrong wall to bang your head against this time.

    I mean I simply don’t understand why you should be upset about the fact that there are people out there who hate to hear a word being uttered against the demigods. Is it because you belong to one of them, that you took it quite personally?

    And what on earth do you mean to say when you suggest that I need to have “something original” before accusing?? If I remember right, mine was not even an accusation. It was defence rather; defence in support of a website, that a few others accused, was getting too ‘negative’.

    For you, Unnaipol Oruvan might be a benchmark or whatever, but for me it was just another cop role for Mohanlal. And to set things straight, I would prefer anyone else in the role of a cop. For many obvious reasons. As for the media, I still remember the euphoria regarding Bhramaram. So I am not one who would get bowled over by it. If you are, well so be it.

  12. Thats rite Razak;may be according to you Aamir khan is a bad actor and may be the good ones are Tushar Kapoor and Fardeen khan;may be it will help you dare against the media opinion

  13. Visakh,

    Let me explain this in simple words.

    You justify UPO because “it was praised by tamil media”. I dislike Aamir Khan because I dislike him. Tushar Kapoor and Fardeen Khan maybe your fantasies, but I don’t want to be part of it.

    +1 to Vinu.

  14. @Razak Another easy conclusion;”praised by the tamil media” was not my reason for liking an actor’s performance or the film;i just added it to back my on personal opinion about the movie and the cast;anyway no hard feelings ;stopping the words just by telling one thing;if viewers like a performance of an actor in a movie its not necessarily because they are their fans or that they idolize them ;its purely based on performance in the particular film concerned;

  15. Am from TN. I am familiar with Tollywood. I would say this is one of Mohanlal’s best. His performance was better than Kamal, which most of the Tamil media agreed.


  16. only freshness in UPO is lt col mohanlal. otherwise who will watch this stupid remake stuff.

  17. Very well made Movie.Both Kamal G and Mohanlal G have done their best.And fine peace of acting from both.What really happened is KamalG carried the movie to his side by his great acting techniques in the climax.Wonderful Movie , I have seen The Wednesday also but I liked UPO the best.It was far more superior and interesting.

  18. Great Acting from the World Class Actor Dr Padmashree Ulaganayagan Kalaizhani Kamalhassan G and another BlockBuster after Dashavatharam.Kamal G you rock , and waiting for your Marudhanayagam.Trailer magnificient awesome great and sure you will get the Oscar if the movie is released.

  19. Hi, Mohanlal is good for Malyalam based roles. Every region has their own body language and expression towards the surrounding. Mohanlal can act well as Malyalam based charecter not in all. He can not do a role with netural body language. in the movies like Iruvar, Siraichalai, he did malyali charecters. He did well on those roles. He can not do like How Kamal does in movies. Mohanlal long way to go to reach Kamal.

  20. Kamal is one of the best actor India. No doubt about it. In this movie he could not impress the people because he is not look like a man next door. Mohanlal suits only for Police and Army officer role. Other than than Drunken role. This is the first time I am seeing a police officer with 200 Kg weight and He spoiled the move to the core. Mamukka could have done a good job for these kind of roles.

  21. Nassar would have done the role better than Mohanlal. Mohanlal carries Malyalee body language everwhere. He has to learn how to do Netural acting. He suits well only for Mallu charectors.

  22. The above comments are pretty disconcerting. Kamal and Mohanlal did just fine. People forget that Naseerudin also had dialogues not befitting a common Mumbaiite in A Wednesday. You think any old person in India (unless highly educated) would use words like “resilience” or speak in English when in an emotionally charged situation? Unnaipol Oruvan also had superior production values to A Wednesday and lacked the asinine comedy track with the UTV reporters. It was just as good or even better than the original.

  23. Above i have seen some of my friends criticizing mohanlal , mammoty and even the movie – unnnai pol oruvan. i would like to say only one thing – are they eligible to criticize or i have the merit to say anything about these legends who have proved that they are the best in the industry for many years and the public need them very badly.
    only one thing to say – Mohanlal, the flexible actor in the world.what a body language, what a presentation – reaaly unbeleivable and the film prooved in the box office . crores and crores showering to the producer’s pocket.
    Kamalhassan – no doubt – he is the ulakanaayakan. brilliant selection of artist for this movie. he had done it cunnigly and smartly, eventhough the fact remains that mohanlal ate the complete scenario in the movie, it’s kamal’s consent and brilliant thought towards Mohanlal- Who can see both tamilnadu and kerala as his own state and that is clear in his dialogue in the movie. HATS OFF TO KAMAL JI – WE NEED MORE LIKE THIS FROM YOU.

  24. i do not agree with your opinion…..actually mohanlal was perfect in the cool cop character..he did it very well, rather effortlessly ….he came out better than anupam kher in the hindi version….kamal hassan also did a great job, but to be frank nasuredeen shah was just a treat to watch in the hindi version, that his performance was better than kamal hassans..!!!

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