The Secret Behind One Of The Greatest Climaxes In Indian Cinema In Kamal Hassan’s Own Words

Kamal Hassan on how they shot the breathtaking climax of Michael Madana Kama Raju

Here’s the interesting part, most of the shots in the film don’t rely on masking as most of them are in pans and that also adds speed. I was very good at it from my experience of being a dance assistant and shifting to different locations without losing continuity, which can also be seen in “Manmadhan Ambu” where you stop block pans and Mr.B.S.Loganath, who’s also my guru, was a master of slow pans without panic. You could use the pan at the speed you require as long as you know the continuity. We used speed pans and if you look at it closely all the shots are “cut shots” but will look like one single shot like the mother coming to help the son and father teetering on the edge we changed from K to Madhan to Raju using once the mother as a frame wipe and Michaels walking towards the camera as a second wipe during that wipe we replaced Madhan the dupe to Madhan the real KH. There was no blue matte then and hence the Ooty background had to be real so once again we built the set on a real location and my most trusted lieutenant Mr.Vikram Dharma had the stunts taken to the length as I kept narrating.

The climax rocking hilltop set was built in 3 locations. The first was inside the studio to capture the “rocking “ effect, the second in the actual location at Conoor and then we created a 30 feet model after a lot of mathematical calculation at “camp -cola grounds” where Kameshwaran and other characters were made as little puppets. Some of the puppets were being handled between the art director and me and we shot it in slow motion from down and it was a controlled situation. There were 2 people who really enjoyed working with the miniature building and they were none other than Mr.Singeetham and me, as we Love the feeling and effect of “make-believe”. I did bend over backward to make it extra realistic…

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