Kamal Haasan's bond with Nagesh went beyond being colleagues. The Thug Life star considered the seasoned actor as an ally, a rival, and, above all, his comedy tutor.
Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan on Tuesday remembered late comedy icon Nagesh on the latter's 15th death anniversary. Describing him as his teacher, Kamal noted that not a day goes by without him mentioning his name.
"Today is the memorial day of Nagesh who was a unique genius in comedy. There was never a day that went by that I did not utter his name. He is the teacher who captivated me with his ability to know the inside and outside of the character and portray it on the silver screen with depth and breadth. Cherish the memories of the timeless artist," Kamal said in a statement.
Kamal's bond with Nagesh went beyond being colleagues. The Thug Life star considered the seasoned actor as an ally, a rival, and, above all, his comedy tutor.
"Nagesh was a villain to me," Kamal quipped while talking about his decision to cast Nagesh as an antagonist in his hit movie Apoorva Sagodharargal (1989).
Kamal's qualms seemingly stem from the awareness that he could never match Nagesh's talent in the realm of comedy. Despite Kamal's numerous memorable comedy movies throughout his career, he still perceives himself as incomplete in comparison to Nagesh.
One incident etched in Kamal's memory involves a strong "hatred" he developed for Nagesh during the early days of his career, fueled by legendary director K Balachander's Nagesh-laced taunts.
It's widely known that Nagesh was Balachander's muse, even when collaborating with other actors.
Recalling a specific incident during the shooting of a comedy scene in Manmadha Leelai, Balachander expressed dissatisfaction, remarking that Kamal's comedy timing was wrong. He regretfully mentioned, "I wrote this scene keeping Nagesh in mind."
This revelation left Kamal shocked, and Balachander reiterated the sentiment multiple times during the film's production. "He (Balachander) would have said this line at least 15 times while making that film. After that when I met Nagesh, I told him that I was so frustrated because of these taunts that I contemplated going to his home at night and smothering him in his sleep," he recalled during a TV show.
Kamal remembered Nagesh listening to his complaints with a lot of warmth and joy.