Thamizh Talkies: Can Kamal Haasan recreate his magic?
The author writes about Kamal Haasan's second innings as host of the popular TV show Bigg Boss Tamil 2
The snap of the finger says it all. The second time around, it looks like we must be ready to take-in the resounding impact of every word. I’m talking, of course, about the teaser of Big Boss Season 2 which was launched by Kamal Haasan via his Twitter handle on Saturday. The stern-yet-compelling look sported by Haasan seems to convey his firm resolve to change the way we have always perceived him. It’s like Haasan telling us, “There’s no looking back. I’m here (in politics) to stay and you better take me seriously”. From a prodigious child star to a well-trained teenage actor, from a struggling technician-dancer to being tutored by K Balachander, the actor's evolution is only too well-known. His newest and biggest role, which nobody imagined he would take to, is that of a politician.
Haasan’s direct interaction with viewers on Big Boss Season 1 platform garnered a burgeoning fan-following among the 18-35 age group, who took to television with renewed interest, with the weekend episodes benefitting from Haasan's punches.
Big Boss calls for a certain degree of unpredictability from its host and participants. As was proved by Season 1’s most popular contestant, Oviya. Who will be the Oviya for Season 2? That's the question on everybody's lips. Add to that, the curiosity over Kamal Haasan's hints about his political plans. The teaser was launched with a line from Haasan which read, “Meendum enn makkalai sandhikka varugiraen (Once again, I'll be meeting my people).”
This is a statement from a leader, not just a celebrity anchor. What will Haasan have to say to the show viewers, to his party members and to the huge populace of this state who will watch his episodes with bated breath? Just as the show has its moments of unpredictability, so will Kamal Haasan’s anchoring. That a political party leader is called upon to host a television show involving human behaviour and that the man in question also happens to be one of India’s biggest artistes, who’s still actively engaged in the business of cinema, is a first-of-its-kind engagement.
With newer channels entering the Tamil market, reality shows have been on the increase. A channel today is recognised more for its competitive shows that focus on discovering young talent. The drama which ensues on such shows is consumed with more interest than the happenings in a soap. Given this scenario, Star Vijay steps forth into its second season of Big Boss, putting to rest speculations over whether Haasan will return to being the host.
As a viewer of the Big Boss show, I look forward to a few things. Apart from the curiosity over this season’s participants, the bigger intrigue is to see how Kamal Haasan tackles the weekend episodes. How is he going to engage with the participants who will be that much wiser after Season 1? What will be the 'surprise announcements' he will make? What will be his look in each episode?
Season 1 benefitted from Haasan's biting wit, instinctive humour that reflected awareness of current affairs, and of course, his command over the Tamil language. Will Season 2 enhance his appeal further? We will be watching.