Malaysia: I’ve lost count of the number of Tamil newspapers in Malaysia. Occasionally I buy a Tamil paper. I seldom buy the same masthead twice in a row. This allows me to get a sense of what each masthead reports, the tone it uses, and its depth of coverage.
They cover socio-economic developments in Tamil Nadu, and in the rest of India. They also report news about Indian movie stars and singers.
The Tamil papers are valued by many Indian businessmen in Malaysia, both Hindus and Muslims. The death notices are also valued by readers.
Since there are so many Tamil papers, each one has limited circulation and, therefore, limited resources. Their reporters are concentrated in the big cities; they depend on stringers, so there is little first-hand Malaysia news.
When I’m in India, I often read the newspapers. Every day there is some mention of caste. On my last trip to New Delhi, I read about the Jat caste in Haryana state – they rioted and destroyed property to press their claims for more seats in institutions of higher learning and in government – called “reservations” in Indian English.
In Malaysian Tamil papers, I do not recall reading reports or discussions of caste. It seems Malaysian Tamils have overcome a still-common feature of society in India.
Professor R K Jain – whom I mentioned in my previous article – says Malaysian Tamils offer “a message for India: in [the] caste war the tables are turned through socio-economic and political mobility of the traditionally downtrodden without . . . caste enhancing . . . political bait of Reservations for the Dalits [the ‘untouchables’].”
After seeing my previous article, Jain sent me his most recent analysis of the Malaysian Indian over-representation in the catalogues of misery. His analysis is structured around three key words: ascription, aspiration and achievement.
“Ascription” means attributing something to a cause.
Jain draws on social and anthropological studies of Indians in Malaysia, including his own work. He says the evidence says the cause of income and wealth inequality amongst Hindu Indians in Malaysia is not the Hindu caste system (as in India with its riots and reservations), but in class. Kudos to Malaysian Indians!
“Aspiration” means ambition, the hope of achieving something.
The aspiration of Malaysian Indians is to reduce the incidence of gangsterism, chronic disease, slum-dwelling, etc. Jain warns Malaysian Indians not to think like a persecuted ethnic group or minority (often based on gossip and perceptions). He urges them instead to look for and latch onto chances for betterment, for instance in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
“Achievement” doesn’t need definition.
Jain notes that Malaysian Indians have contributed beyond their numerical strength to Malaysia’s present success. He adds that though they have succeeded in defining themselves as “Malaysian,” they are still Indian. He urges them to network inter-ethnically with Malaysia-based and India-based businessmen to conduct business.
Jain, ever the scholar and sociologist, suggests a framework for analysis.
After noting that Malaysian Indians have “creatively destroyed” the stifling caste features inherited from their Hindu ancestry, he urges them to use “the canons of social scientific comparison and contextualization” to chart the way forward.
He recommends a three-component framework of analysis attributed to Max Weber (1864-1920), a renowned sociologist and political economist:
Market forces (for life chances or opportunities in the economy). Status considerations (the choices of life-styles, in other words, consumption and culture), and The play of power (as in the negotiations of political processes).
I find the framework attractive because it is neither overtly religious nor political.
It takes account of market forces, just as business and government policies do. It acknowledges personal responsibility for life-style choices which may hamper or hurry the process of rising from the ashes. It recognizes the need to leverage power.
Those who are active in working to reduce income inequality in Malaysia can learn from Jain: are you using the cannons of provocation? If yes, Stop! Are you using canons of sociology? If no, Begin!
The next time I read a Tamil newspaper, I’ll evaluate it using the Weberian canons.
(The article was first published in hornbillunleashed.wordpress.com)
Kamal Haasan started his career as a child actor in the 1960 Tamil film Kalathur Kannamma
Kamal Haasan’s one of the movies, Nayagan got included in NDTV’s list “India’s 20 greatest films”
As a producer, Kamal Haasan won a Filmfare Award and National Film Award for his movies Apoorva Sagodharargal and Thevar Magan
Kamal Haasan is a renowned Tamil actor, director and producer, who works primarily in the Tamil film industry. He has also tried his hands at screenwriting, playback singing and choreography. He started his career as a child actor in the 1960 Tamil film Kalathur Kannamma, which won him the President’s, Gold Medal. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and went over to act in over 200 films in several languages including Malayalam, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali.
After completing few projects as a child artist he took a break to continue his education. Later, he concentrated on dance choreography and worked as an assistant choreographer. At the same time, he made some unaccredited appearances in a few films which he worked on.
In 1973, Kamal got his first adult role as Thiagu in the film by K. Balachander, whom Kamal Haasan considers as his mentor. He kept on doing small roles in several films such as Sollathaan Ninaikkiren (1973) and Naan Avanillai (1974), most of which were directed by Balachander.
The movie, which got him immense recognition and accolades as an independent lead actor came with the 1974 Malayalam film, Kanyakumari. His acting skills in this movie won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Malayalam). After this success, Kamal Haasan starred in a series of films in both languages—Tamil and Malayalam. His second breakthrough came in Tamil cinema with Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal. This movie helped him to pocket his second Filmfare Award, his first in Tamil.
Between 1974 and 1978, Kamal Haasan won six Filmfare Awards including four consecutive wins for the Best Actor in Tamil cinema. Shortly after that, under the “Hasan Brothers” banner, Kamal turned producer for Raja Paarvai, in which he played the lead role of a blind musician. The “Hasan Brothers” banner which was later renamed as “Raaj Kamal Films International.”
Kamal Haasan made his entry into Bollywood with Balachander’s Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981). The movie was a remake of his 1978 Telugu film Maro Charitra. In Moondram Pirai, Kamal Haasan won the Best Actor honours at the National Film Awards and Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for his role of a school teacher who looks after an amnesic girl
As a producer, he also won a Filmfare Award and National Film Award for his movies Apoorva Sagodharargal and Thevar Magan. There are many films featuring Kamal Haasan which have been submitted by India to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, the most for any actor in India. Kamal Haasan produced and directed Vishwaroopam in 2013 and won two awards at the 60th National Film Awards.
In 2009, Kamal Haasan reached a new feat of only a few actors in India to have completed 50 years working in cinema.
Take a look at the top Kamal Haasan movies that helped him to reach the pinnacle of success.
Hey Ram is an Indian historical fiction-political thriller film made in both Tamil and Hindi languages. The movie is written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan, who also acted as the protagonist in the film.
Hey Ram was shown at the International Film Festival of India. It was also picked by Film Federation of India as its submission to the Oscars in the year 2000 but was not nominated. Till now, the movie has garnered three National Film Awards.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment owns the copyrights to this film
Nayakan is a 1987 Indian Tamil-language crime-drama film based on the real-life Bombay underworld don Varadarajan Mudaliar, and sympathetically depicts the struggle of South Indians living in Bombay.
The movie is written and directed by Mani Ratnam and starring Kamal Haasan. The actress in this movie is Saranya Ponvannan and it was her film debut. Nayakan was released on the occasion of Diwali and received critical acclaim worldwide.
The diligence performance of Kamal Haasan’s earned him the National Film Award for Best Actor. The film also got the National Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. In 1988, Nayakan was India’s pick for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 60th Academy Awards but was not nominated.
Even the magazine TIME included Nayagan in its list of “All-Time 100 Best Films”. Later on, Nayagan got included in NDTV’s list “India’s 20 greatest films”.
Thevar Magan is a Tamil film directed by Bharathan. The star cast of the movie includes Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, Revathi, Gouthami and Nassar in pivotal roles. Kamal Haasan has himself written the film’s script and produced along with his brother Chandra Haasan under the production company Raaj Kamal Films International. The story revolves around a person named Sakthivel, who returns home to meet his father Periya Thevar who is a respected village chieftain to marry his girlfriend.
The movie bagged a couple of National Film Awards, including the Best Tamil Film Award, Best Supporting Actress Award and a Special Jury Award. The Thevar Magan picked up for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 65th Academy Awards but unfortunately was not nominated.
Vishwaroopam is film written, directed and co-produced by Kamal Haasan, who’s also in the lead role. The movie is an Indian spy thriller. The star cast of the movie has Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah and Jaideep Ahlawat in supporting roles. The movie is filmed in simultaneously in two languages, Tamil and Hindi
The first teaser of Vishwaroopam was revealed in April 2012 and the theatrical trailer was revealed in June 2012. The movie is the first Indian film to utilize the new Auro 3D sound technology. Also, the film was first Indian film to be released via direct-broadcast satellite, also known as direct-to-home (DTH), but after protests of theatre owners, this plan was dropped.
Vishwaroopam got entangles in legal controversies, as several Muslim civic organizations protested the film’s release in Tamil Nadu, resulting in an official ban being imposed on the film in the state for 15 days by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The ban was spread in major overseas markets like Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore while the release was delayed in the south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
The story and the screenplay of Dasavathaaram were written Kamal Haasan. It is Tamil science fiction disaster film, directed by K. S. Ravikumar. Dasavathaaram stars Kamal Haasan in ten distinct roles. The film had been under production for nearly three years.
The story revolves around bringing together the lives of several individuals beginning with the 12th century and ending with the 21st century.
Anbe Sivam was written by Kamal Haasan, and Madhan provided the dialogues. It is a Tamil-language comedy-drama film directed and co-produced by Sundar C. The story is about an unexpected journey from Bhubaneswar to Chennai undertaken by two men of contrasting personalities, Nallasivam and Anbarasu.
Anbe Sivam was released on a positive count from critics but underperformed at the box office. Despite its failure, Anbe Sivam is now regarded as a classic and a cult film in Tamil cinema.
Michael Madhana Kama Rajan is a Tamil comedy film directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. Michael Madhana Kama Rajan was a blockbuster at the box office and completed 175-day run at the box office.
Mahanadi was directed by Santhana Bharathi and featured Kamal Hassan, Sukanya, and Cochin Haneefa. The story of the movie portrays the grief of a humble villager, who sees his family, the property being ruined. Mahanadi revolves around social issues such as corruption and child trafficking.
The film acclaimed the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.
Sagara Sangamam was a huge box office hit. It was directed by K. Viswanath and produced by Edida Nageswara Rao, casting Kamal Haasan, Jayaprada, Sarath Babu, S. P. Sailaja and Chakri Toleti.
Sagara Sangamam has bagged two National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards (South), and the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film. Sagara Sangamam is registered among CNN-IBN’s list of hundred greatest Indian films of all time. Sagara Sangamam was also screened at the International Film Festival of India in 1984.
Virumaandi is an action drama film written, co-edited, produced and directed by Kamal Haasan. The film revolves around the interview of two prison inmates, Kothala Thevar and Virumaandi. Both the inmates express how they feel about the direction their lives have taken and how they have ended up where they are.
Virumaandi plot is based on the Rashomon effect and revolves around the controversy of the death penalty. The film won critical acclaim and was a commercial success at the box office. This film acquired cult status in Tamil cinema and inspired similar themes.