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20 Things To Remember As ‘Hey Ram’ Turns 20

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1. The movie begins with a dedication to Kamal’s mentor Ananthu.

2. The film was a family enterprise — Kamal’s then wife, Sarika, handled costumes while daughter Shruti Haasan had a cameo in the film; she also worked in the sound department.

3. Ilaiyaraaja stepped in at the last moment as the music composer when noted violinist L Subramanian opted out.

4. The period drama fetched three national awards for its crew — Sarika bagged one for costume design, Atul Kulkarni for supporting role and Manthra for visual effects.

5. Kamal Haasan reportedly said that he’d pursue direction full time if Hey Ram became successful. It was critically acclaimed but saw a below-average run at the box office.

6. Shah Rukh Khan acted as Kamal’s bestie in the film for free. At a special screening of Hey Ram for ‘Gandhi 150’, last year in Chennai, Kamal said that for him, SRK was the hero of the film. It was Amjad’s story all the way.

7. Rani Mukherjee played Aparna, a teacher in the movie, and was also part of a bittersweet romantic track with Kamal Haasan.

8. Shadaab Khan, son of famous villain Amjad Khan, played Altaf, the tailor who rapes and murders Rani’s character in the movie. Amjad Khan memorably played the baddie in Vikram, which also had Kamal in it. Also, Altaf’s debut film — Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat — had Rani Mukherjee in the lead role.

9. The Delhi hotel in which Kamal’s character Saket Ram stays in the film is the same in which Nathuram Godse stayed before he assassinated Gandhi. It is said that Kamal stayed in this place to understand the character better.

10. Hey Ram was India’s official entry for the 2000 Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

11. Naseeruddin Shah fulfilled a lifelong dream when he played Gandhi in this film. The actor had earlier unsuccessfully auditioned for the titular role in the Richard Attenborough directed biopic, Gandhi.

12. Hey Ram was supposed to be Kamal’s debut directorial effort. But due to several unforeseen reasons, that did not pan out. Chachi 420 was his debut.

13. Through Hey Ram, Kamal Haasan brought Hema Malini back to Tamil cinema.

14. Kanchi Sankaracharya was also supposed to be a part of the movie. An interview segment with the Godman was shot to be used in the movie. But according to reports, the Kanchi Mutt supremo got cold feet and asked the makers not to use his portions in the film.

15. The English version of the film titled Confessions of an Assassin was announced in 2004, but it is yet to materialise.

16. When the first poster of Hey Ram was released, Tushar Gandhi called Kamal Hassan and asked him to stop making the film. He said if Kamal played Gandhi’s killer people would sympathise with the killer. Kamal explained the film to him and later roped him in to play a part in Hey Ram as well.

17. Hey Ram set before and after the partition, spans across multiple regions from Mohenjo-Daro, Calcutta, Thanjavur to Madras, Bombay, Varanasi and Chandni Chowk, and features characters who speak Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, English, Hindi, Malayalam, making it a pan-Indian film, where the actors all spoke Tamil and Hindi in Live Sync Sound.

18. Kamal Hassan has said that Hey Ram was the foundation that led him towards his political journey.

19. Shah Rukh Khan only got a wristwatch for acting in Hey Ram because, by the end of it, Kamal said in an interview, ‘I had nothing left in hand.’

20. Shah Rukh Khan has bought the Hindi remake rights of the film.

Hey Ram is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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