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He `sculpted the actor' in me

By Our Staff Reporter



Jeppiaar, Founder and Chancellor, Sathyabama Deemed University (right), awards a doctorate to Kamal Haasan in Chennai on Monday. Looking on is K. Balachander. — Photo: R. Ragu

CHENNAI. JAN. 17. "Gone are the days when I taught him to act," said K. Balachander of his favourite student who got his honorary doctorate at the Sathyabama Deemed University today. "Now, I want him to teach me to direct," he told the audience that burst into applause when the hero of the day Kamal Haasan, sporting a red convocation gown, stood up to collect his degree.

"That feels like getting another doctorate," responded Kamal when he finally got his turn at the mike at the end of a four-hour function. "He's just being affectionate as any father would. As a son it is my duty to say that it is he who sculpted the actor I became," he said emotionally.

"He is someone who thoroughly studies every character he has plays," Jeppiaar, Chancellor of the University, said. "If he's playing a doctor, he studies everything that a doctor needs to know, enough to fetch him a degree.

For the 200 characters he has played, it will only be right to give him 200 degrees," he added. During the convocation ceremony when Kamal Haasan and B.S. Abdur Rahman, Founder and Chairman of Crescent Engineering College, both received their doctorates, 52 rank holders from the college were awarded medals.

V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission, said the doctorate given to Kamal Haasan would serve as a benchmark in the discipline of arts. He welcomed Mr. Jeppiaar's decision to start an MGR Study Centre and a Sivaji Study Centre.

Vijayakanth, who heads the Nadigar Sangam, echoed the thoughts of the film industry, when he said Kamal Haasan was the legitimate heir to Sivaji Ganesan. An emotional Prabhu said that the throne occupied by his father now belonged to his elder brother Kamal.

He also read out a note from superstar Rajnikant (who is away in Hyderabad shooting for `Chandra Mukhi') saying he was proud of his very good friend. "I am sure there is more to come... "

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