People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 03

January 19, 2003

Kamal Haasan Pays Tribute to Safdar Hashmi

Anbe Sivam Film Preview Show Held By SAHMAT

ONE of the greatest actors in Indian cinema, Kamal Haasan, paid glowing tributes to Safdar Hashmi at a special preview screening of his latest Tamil film Anbe Sivam  in New Delhi on January 9. He said that the main protagonist’s role in the film, which is played by him, was inspired by Safdar’s life. He also announced that he is against globalisation, and that his opposition reflects in the film.

Kamal Haasan wrote the story and screenplay for this film, which is scheduled to be released in January second week.

The screening was arranged by SAHMAT in Delhi. Before the start of the film screening, Kamal Haasan told the gathering at Siri Fort Auditorium why he chose not to go for the usual commercial type of preview, full of star invitees. He said it would be only befitting that this film’s preview had this sort of audience.

Post screening, he took questions from the audience on various aspects of the film. When questioned by a person as to how could he make a film about strikes, communism and street theatre in year 2003, Kamal Haasan replied by narrating a scene in the film:

When asked by his friend why he was talking of communism when Soviet Union was no longer there, Sivam poses a counter-question “If tomorrow there is no Taj Mahal, will people stop falling in love?” The friend replies: “But that is about human feeling”, to which Sivam says: “Communism is also about human feeling.”

While referring to the street play scene in the film, which is in the form of an eight minute long song-dance sequence, a questioner asked whether it is proper to criticise globalisation. To this Kamal Haasan replied in an emphatic manner saying “I wanted to make a personal statement against globalisation. That is how I feel about globalisation. One need not be an ex-President of India to take a stand on globalisation.”


In the madness of life, one man has the clarity to seek out the wonders of the next moment! He is NallaSivam – a man whose life takes dramatic turns and poses challenges – both of the physical and emotional kind. However, his love for humanity triumphs over many a heart – including that of Anbarasu, a yuppie, ad-filmmaker. Ars, as he always insisted to be called, is a role model for those with an ‘Eldorado Dream’, and Sivam, an activist-artiste is the voice of toiling masses.

While Sivam carries a cheque of Rs 32 lakhs, which is the compensation money for the families of workers from Tamilnadu, who died/got injured during a dam construction site in Orissa, Ars, on his way from Bhubaneswar has to carry himself to Chennai for his marriage to Saras!

The narrative is in the form of a journey – Sivam’s Marxist ideals and street theatre background being a direct contrast to Ars’s capitalist beliefs.

Their series of experiences makes Ars realize Sivam’s concept of universal love and he begins to see the world with a different perspective. This feeling of friendship culminates in Ars offering Sivan, a place in his home as well – as his brother! Anbe Sivan attempts to project man’s ability to find higher values in humanity.