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INTERVIEW: Shruti Is Both Star & An Actor - Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan, who took over the reins of trilingual comedy Sabaash Naidu after director TK Rajeev Kumar fell ill, says he has spent a gruelling 25 days, shooting the film, which also stars his daughter Shruti Haasan.

Speaking to IANS, the actor-filmmaker has revealed some interesting facts about the film. Excerpts from the interview...

Shruti & Kamal Haasan In Sabhash Naidu

Q. How are you coping with the unexpected responsibility of directing 'Sabaash Naidu'?

Thanks to my friend late RC Shakti, I am coping quite well, thank you. Shakti made me a co-writer and director in my first film as a hero. It took me a long time to realise only a person who loved you like a brother would do such a thing. I was 18 years old when he offered me that exalted status.

Q. You've ghost-directed many number of films and please don't pretend otherwise.

Throughout my career, I have been trying to prove I deserve the trust that my friends placed in me. Taking over the reins of 'Sabaash Naidu' is no cakewalk. It came with its intrinsic problems. But I pulled it off. It was a gruelling 25 days but now while editing the film in Los Angeles, the pain vanishes.

Q. You are co-starring with and directing your daughter Shruti for the first time. How's the experience?

Shruti is a professional and a star-child. Both Sarikaji (former wife) and I were actors from our childhood. Unlike her parents who walked with apprehension, Shruti is a surefooted star already. I have never directed stars before. This was a new experience. I am only used to directing actors. Shruti is both a star and an actor, to my surprise.

Q. Are there any how-will-I-tell-her-to-do-this moments on the sets between you and Shruti?

Even in life, there were no how-will-I-tell-her-this moments. During her growing-up years, all that was needed to be told was told to her in the right time. Likewise in the film. By the way, for the Tamil version of 'Dasavathaaram', she was my coach for my American accent.

She had just returned from the US and was the perfect medium to help her father's Madrasi accent to be transformed into a Yankee accent. She was a bully. She made me do many retakes. And after the dubbing, she wanted me to correct some more of my accent. Everyone thought that was taking it a little too far (laughs).

Q. Has 'Sabash Naidu' fallen behind schedule because of the director's illness?

The film is behind schedule by about a month. That too because I refused to shoot the film in different schedules. I have shot the entire film on schedule. If all goes well, we should be done by August or September.

Q. Are you enjoying the return to comedy?

I can never leave comedy. Even Vishwaroopam has comedy elements in it. I enjoy it when my actors and crew laugh in spite of the work stress. It is a great indicator of laughter in the theatre. 'Sabaash Naidu' had moments like it while shooting and more so during editing.

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