This time, he was launching a book. Ashok Banker’s Ten Kings.
News spread of Kamal’s appearance at the private hotel where the event was held. Soon enough, we saw scores of men and women waiting to get inside the hall where he was seated. A few bold ones even managed to get close enough to take selfies surreptitiously.
The event was different on other counts as well. The host of the evening was the debonair Anant Mahadevan, who shares screen-space with Kamal in Vishwaroopam 2 and Papanasam. He complained about the difficult task he had been given – that of introducing Kamal. Nevertheless, he gave it his best shot and introduced him as the man ‘who challenged all writers to create stories that would define his gigantic talent’. Though it was quite a mouthful, he managed to rattle it off with the ease of a veteran and made way for the Ulaganaayagan.
Kamal began by thanking the organisers for inviting him to the event. “I love reading these kind of books and it is very heartening to see writers take up re-telling the Ramayana and Mahabharatha. It must have been an uphill task for Ashok Banker to write this story in a linear manner as it is very easy to digress. While writing epic novels, there is a tendency to write about smaller stories, but no such compromise has been made here. I applaud Ashok’s effort and I am very privileged indeed to be a part of this launch.” The first copy of the book was given to veteran filmmaker Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, followed by Subbu Panchu, Janaki Viswanathan and lyricist Madhan Karky.
After a while, the group was made to stand still for a good five minutes for a brief photo opportunity. Kamal looked a little discomfited by the whole thing, leading Anant Mahadevan to remark, “Kamal Haasan gives the perfect first take. He’s not used to doing it over and over again.”
He was a quick learner though, for Kamal was mobbed yet again on his way to the lift. But this time around, he obliged his fans by taking selfies with them. The lift was a mere hundred feet away.
And, Kamal took an hour to reach it.