Kamal Haasan’s Chanakyan Achieved This Rare Feat in Malayalam Film Industry

Kamal Haasan started his career with the Tamil film Kalathur Kannamma. With his acting chops, he went on to cement his name as one of the most versatile actors in the history of Indian cinema. Kamal Haasan’s performance in the Malayalam film Chanakyan was widely appreciated by audiences and critics. The popularity of this thriller film can be gauged by the fact that it became the only Malayalam film to run in theatres for 50 days.


Chanakyan was released in theatres on September 1, 1989. The film narrated the story of Johnson (Kamal), who seeks the help of a mimicry artist to take revenge on a politician for brutally murdering his family. Chanakyan was written and directed by Rajeev Kumar. Alongside Kamal Haasan, the film starred Urmila Matondkar, Sabitha Anand, Jayaram and many others in key roles. The audience was enthralled with Kamal’s exemplary performance in Chanakyan.

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According to reports, the makers had first offered this film to megastar Mammootty. Rajeev had also narrated the script to Mammootty. However, the actor turned down the role due to other commitments. Citing his busy schedule, Mammootty refused to star in Chanakyan. Later, it was rumoured that Mammootty was not willing to work in the film because of debutant director Rajeev Kumar.

Before Chanakyan, Rajeev Kumar had just co-directed one movie, titled Sangdil Samaj, with Ram Daryani. The film featured Sardar Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Hari Shivdasani and others in lead roles. Sangdil Samaj was released on January 1, 1936.

After decades, he made a comeback to the Malayalam film industry with Chanakyan. Although Mammootty refused to work in his film, it couldn’t break Rajeev’s determination to make Chanakyan. After The Priest star turned down the film, Rajeev finally decided to cast Kamal Haasan in the lead role. He was reportedly encouraged to do so by filmmaker Navodaya Appachan.

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