Kamal Haasan (born November 7, 1954 in Paramakudi, India) is an Indian film actor,director, singer, lyricist, considered among the leading method actors of Indian cinema. Hassan is known for winning several Indian film awards, including National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards, and has the distinction of being the actor with the most number of films submitted by India in contest for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In addition to acting and directing, he is a screenwriter, lyricist, playback singer and choreographer. His film production company, Rajkamal International, has produced several of his films.
Kamal Haasan's breakthrough into lead acting came with his role in the 1975 drama, Apoorva Raagangal, in which he played a rebellious youth in love with an older woman. He secured his first Indian National Film Award for his portrayal of a guileless school teacher who tends a child-like amnesiac in 1982's Moondram Pirai. He was particularly noted for his performance in Mani Ratnam's Godfatheresque Nayagan (1987), which was ranked by Time magazine as one of the best films of all-time.
Kamal Haasan made his film debut as a 6-year-old child artiste, in the 1960 film, Kalathur Kannamma, directed by A. Bhimsingh. He was cast along with the veteran Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan in the film. He acted as a child actor in two other Tamil films in the subsequent few years.
Kamal is the only actor to receive four National Film Awards in India. He won his National awards for the films Nayagan, Moondram Pirai and Indian. He also won the national award for Best Child Actor for his performance in Kalathur Kannamma. He has also received the best actor award at the Asian Film festivals held in 1983 and 1985 for Saagara Sangamam and Swathi Muthyam respectively. Seven of his movies have been sent as India's official entry to the Oscars. Kamal has won the Filmfare awards 18 times.
He was awarded the fourth highest recognition given to Indian civilians - the Padmashri in 1990. He was conferred an honorary doctorate by Sathyabama University, Chennai in 2005.
Kamal was also conferred with a unique honour this year(2007) as "Living Legend" in the film business by FICCI,India.
The all awards presented to him were for his artistic talent. He got the first Abraham Kovoor National Award for his Humanist Activities and Secular Life.
Kamal Hassan also was conferred the Nandi Award 20 times in his lifetime.