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It's hard to be dispassionate about an actor who was an intrinsic part of one's growing up years. It's impossible to be dispassionate if the actor in question is Kamal Haasan.

I have been involved in numerous arguments sparked off by my characterisation of Kamal as India's finest actor. Sneers, guffaws, hoots of derision and worse have followed my remark. To them, I offer a list - meant to comprise 10, but expanded to 14 - of his movies in defence. Each of the films sees a different Kamal - is there another with a better repertoire and who is also a commercial success? Sure, bring him/her on.

Granted, the Kamal Haasan we see today on screen is a far cry from the one we saw in these films. But have a heart, he has been at it since 1960, allow him a little leeway if he seems jaded at times. Even the great Amitabh Bachchan had an inter-regnum of sorts when he did those duds like Ajooba.

This list, as they always are, is extremely subjective. So you won't find mention of Naayagan, or Sippikkul Muththu or… You can agree with my choice, or run it down. Either way, a line at would be welcome.

Text: Saisuresh Sivaswamy | Design: Uday Kuckian

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