The two stalwarts of Tamil cinema Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan has acted together in nearly 16 films including Apoorva Raagangal, Aval Appadithan, 16 Vayathinile, Ilamai Oonjal, Aadukirathu, Thillu Mullu and Ninaithale Inikkum.
Interestingly, both were groomed by celebrated director K Balachander, and both actors first made their appearance in Apoorva Raagangal in 1975. Even though most of the films they have remained on-screen rivals, they have maintained cordial relationships.
For decades Kamal and Rajinikanth ruled the Tamil film industry as top actors. While Rajinikanth preferred style to substance and starred most in action films, Kamal Haasan chose substance over style and went on to experiment with his acting skills with various characters.
It has been a long time since both senior actors have come together for a film. Talking about it, Kamal Haasan once during an interview with SpotboyE, said that he misses sharing screen space with his old nearest rival. He said, “We’ve done ten films together, most of them were hits, though we did have failures. We’ve done three films for our mutual mentor K. Balachander. What’s more, I’ve done guest roles in Rajini’s films. I’d do anything he asks me to, no question of refusing him.”
Kamal also talked about the fan clubs of the two Tamil titans who are always at loggerheads. He said, “The war between the two fan clubs stopped only about 15 years ago. We both told them to stop after there were stray incidents of violence on both sides. Considering fans have killed each other for our distinguished predecessors MGR and Shivaji Ganesan our fans would be considered pacifists (laughs). I went ahead and set a new precedent. I turned my fan club into a social service organization.”
The 66-year-old veteran actor also spoke about critics, who see a marked element of Shivaji Ganesan in Kamal Haasan’s performances and MGR in Rajinikanth. Kamal said to the publication, “Rajiniji and I incorporate elements of both the towering personalities. I’ve done what you’d call MGR kind of films. Shivaji Saab felt squeamish about doing out-and-out masala films. Rajini too had changed his image to play the Shivaji kind of roles. In one film he played a character that ages from 6 to 60. That way we’ve crisscrossed paths on screen.”