Kamal Hassan pleasantly surprised me and Saira by calling us one morning to ask if he could come over from Chennai to present an award, given by FICCI to me on occasion of the centenary celebrations of Indian Cinema in Chennai. Naturally, we told him he was most welcome and he was here on the dot on October 15 evening to present the award and spend a wonderful evening with us.
It was a lovely evening and I must thank FICCI for the thoughtful gesture and Kamal for taking the trouble of coming all the way to present the trophy at my residence.
We travelled back in time to the day when I was in Chennai ( then Madras ) as an invitee at the silver jubilee celebrations of his starrer Ek Duje Ke Liye and later again as an invitee at the silver jubilee of Thevar Magan. He was ever so warm and humble when we complimented him on the film's success and his sterling performance which contributed to the success of the films.
We, Saira and I , had fallen in love with Chennai when we stayed for long spells in a bungalow I had acquired during the making of Ram aur Shyam. We were newly married and the film's producer Shri Nagi Reddy made sure that we lacked nothing in the bungalow for our comfort. The unpretentious Southern hospitality and tradition of treating every one with respect overwhelmed us so much that we almost decided to shift base to Chennai.
I noticed, all through the evening we were together, that Kamal has retained his humility and gentlemanly bearing despite the abundant success he has enjoyed and the strides he has taken as a versatile actor and an inspiration to upcoming actors. I guess that sense of balance and native wisdom are some things that we who make it to stardom the hard way through self evolution assimilate from the hard knocks we get from experiences along the way.