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Entertainment for a cause

Veteran lawyer-actor Charuhasan's take on films, life and more...



Charuhasan... pretence not for him

HE IS the man who taught you the difference between the globe and a laddoo in Meendum Oru Kaathal Kathai.

Standing on a podium in his priest's robe, genial actor Charuhasan uttered those near-immortal lines that ran something like "Ulagamum urundai, laddum urundai. Ulagam aandavan padaithathu, laddoo amma seithathu... "

Nearly thirty years later, he is still as affable as he was in the film, where he presided over a class of special children. Charuhasan who is now doing a documentary on diabetes directed by a student of the Dr. GRD College of Science, speaks with ιlan about his life as a lawyer, the transition to a film star and, himself.

The switchover

Ask him if it was difficult to switchover from being a lawyer to actor, and he says: "Both in the legal profession and in cinema, there is lots of falsehood. Very little of what a lawyer says in court is true. Barring a few, most people lie in the witness box. As for films, I am yet to see a courtroom with two witness boxes facing each other. It simply does not happen that way in real life."

Does his frankness not land him in trouble? "Oh yes! The system is such that people don't want to face the truth. People call me to speak once, never a second time," he quips.

Talking about how he made his transition to films, Charuhasan replies without a second thought that he knew "which side of my bread was buttered with popularity".

How moved is he by the roles he plays? Girish Kasaravalli's "Tabarane Kathe" for instance (It won him the national award for best actor in 1987)?

"I am not emotionally moved by any character. Emotions are intended for the audience; the director builds up emotions for them. After all, the film belongs to him."

Charuhasan, who has acted in 40-odd films, feels the popularity of the entertainment industry must be used for social causes too.

"In our private life, we must think in terms of how best to use our popularity for society's benefit. It is like using whisky (which intoxicates) to treat a wound."

His views on marriage are radical, despite his long-standing relationship with his wife and family.

How does he justify that: "I still believe the institution of marriage has to be abolished. After all, a family is like a government and it has a superior and a subordinate. And, the woman never gets the power she ought to be getting."

The family act

Can any interaction with Charuhasan be complete without mention of his star-daughter Suhasini and kid brother Kamalhasan?

He starts off with Suhasini, who initially wanted to be a cinematographer before she made it big in films.

"I pushed her into doing her first film. I knew she would get hooked," he states. "But, I ensured that I did not share the frame often with my daughter and brother, as the difference in acting ability and age would be exposed," he smiles.

How would he rate himself as a father? "I never suppressed my kids. I believed in giving them total freedom. I always wanted to raise my children better than my father did. By suppressing them, you will not let their natural talents emerge. It took me more than four decades to know where my future lay. I avoided doing that with my kids."

As for his avatar as producer, Charuhasan says with a poker-face: "As an actor, I had a car waiting for me, but as producer I sent everyone by car and went by auto."

SUBHA J RAO

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