Kamal Haasan's response carried a sense of urgency, particularly in the wake of the tragic suicide of actor-composer Vijay Antony's 16-year-old daughter, Meera, allegedly due to academic pressure.
Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan attended a college event in Chennai on Saturday, where he took a few questions from students. He seemed upbeat and very enthusiastic to share his wisdom on navigating life's challenges with curious young minds.
However, the interaction took a serious turn when Kamal was asked to comment on the growing cases of suicides among students. The question and Kamal's response carried a sense of urgency, particularly in the wake of the tragic suicide of actor-composer Vijay Antony's 16-year-old daughter, Meera, allegedly due to academic pressure.
Kamal made a startling revelation that during the early days of his career, he had also grappled with suicidal thoughts. "When I was 20 or 21, I had thought about committing suicide," he said.
When Kamal Haasan struggled with suicidal thoughts
Kamal revealed that he had fallen into the trap of an inflated self-image which bred unwanted thoughts within him. "I used to lament that neither the film industry nor the art world was giving me the value that I deserved. At the time I thought, if I died the industry would repent of losing such a talented artist. I have seriously discussed it with my mentor Ananthu. He asked me, 'If you are a genius, who am I?' He advised me to continue working and patiently await my time," he said.
Kamal noted he considered suicide as sinful as committing a murder. "Murder is considered the first deadly sin. And I believe suicide is equally sinful. It's a crime," he said.
He also recalled an interesting conversation he had with late political thinker and actor Cho Ramaswamy, who posed him a thought-provoking question. "He asked me, will you kill a small baby? I said, sir, how can I do such a thing? In that case, how can you think about killing your father's baby?" he recounted.
Kamal Haasan asks students not fear darkness
"I don't know whether there's anything more I can say about it. It's a crime. Don't do it. It's unkind, so don't do it," he added.
He urged the students to remember that darkness in life was temporary and that sunlight will eventually shine through. "You will get the sunlight. Till then, be patient," he encouraged. Rather than fearing the darkness, he urged young people to view it as an opportunity to nurture dreams of their exciting futures.
Drawing from the world of cinema, Kamal referenced a scene involving Charlie Chaplin, where he prevents a young girl from taking her own life. In response to her wish to die, Chaplin gently queries, "Why the hurry?" Kamal used this scene to underscore that death is an inevitable facet of life.
"I have accepted death as part of life. I don't see death and life as two different things. An endless life has no meaning or purpose. Death will come. So you don't need to rush it," he concluded.