The Golden (Jubilee) Child
The cinema industry is a notoriously unforgiving industry. Whether one is an actor, actress, director or any one of the innumerable people involved in the movie-making process, one is only as good as one's last success. Or maybe the last few successes. We've seen people reach great heights only to crash and burn soon after and the same people who pushed them up don't hesitate to pull them down. Examples are numerous as we've seen so many stars go from being ubiquitous to vanishing into oblivion in a very short span of time.
Longevity in such an industry is achieved by only a few and so surviving for 50 years in the industry is no mean feat. And when one does so at or near the top of the field without bothering about one's image, while constantly experimenting with one's roles, taking huge risks and striving to deliver good cinema, it is truly a phenomenal achievement that deserves huge accolades.
That is why the lack of recognition of Kamalhassan completing 50 years in cinema comes as a surprise. Sure there are the mentions - accompanied by eulogies - in the popular websites and e-zines, random top 10 lists, list of achievements etc. But there are no celebratory gestures from the film industry or the Government. I haven't seen any statements from the other actors; I haven't read about any felicitation functions organized by the Nadigar Sangam; and I haven't heard about the Government doing anything special to mark the occasion.
Then again, Kamal is not someone who needs something like that since his films, from Kalathoor Kannamma to Dasavathaaram, speak for themselves. So today, on the 50th anniversary of his entry into cinema, I'll just hope there are many more years and films left in him and look forward to Unnaippol Oruvan with the same excitement with which I look forward to all his films.