Versatile actor Kamal Haasan is celebrating his birthday today (7 November). He turns 59.

Kamal Haasan’s 'Vishwaroopam' stills ('Vishwaroopam' Facebook page)
Kamal Haasan’s 'Vishwaroopam' stills 'Vishwaroopam' Facebook page

Born in 1954, Kamal, the youngest of four children, began his acting career at the age of six. His first film (as a child artiste) "Kalathur Kannamma" (1960) received rave reviews for his performance. He won the President's Gold Medal - Rashtrapathi Award for his brilliant portrayal in the film.

He continued his film career as a child artiste in some more films, acting alongside legendary actors Sivaji Ganesan and MG Ramachandran, before taking a break for a few years. The actor returned to the Tamil film industry with supporting roles in films of established actors. His major breakthrough came in 1975-release "Apoorva Raagangal" in which he played the role of a young man who is in love with an older woman. The Balanchander-directorial marked the debut of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth.

Subsequently, Kamal collaborated with director Balachander and appeared in different roles in films like "Manmadha Leelai", "Avargal", "Moondru Mudichu" and "Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu" among others.

Kamal has proved that he is an actor par excellence with the wonderful portrayal of his characters in several films. Some of his notable roles are in in "Moondram Pirai", "Nayagan", "Ek Duuje Ke Liye" (Hindi), "Saagar", "Thevar Magan", "Guna" "Indian", Virumandi", Hey Ram, "Anbe Sivam", "Avvai Shanmugi" and the latest release "Vishwaroopam".

In a career spanning five decades, Kamal has acted in over 200 films in different cinema industries including Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada. Apart from acting, the multi-talented actor has taken up various roles as a director, screenwriter, choreographer, songwriter, playback singer and producer.

Kamal has been honoured for his work at various film award ceremonies. The actor has won the prestigious national award four times for his films "Moondram Pirai", "Nayagan", "Thevar Magan" and "Indian". He has also been honoured with the fourth highest civilian honour by the Indian government for his contribution to cinema.

The renowned actor has also received several filmfare awards, Tamil Nadu state film awards, Nandi awards and other honours in his five-long decade career. Recently, he was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival.

Kamal is known to make technically advanced films that would match up to Hollywood standards. His last release "Vishwaroopam", a technically sound film, was a massive hit at the box office. The spy-thriller reportedly grossed over ₹200 crore in worldwide collections.

The actor, who is popularly referred to as "Ulaganayagan" (Universal Star), is currently working on the sequel to "Vishwaroopam". The spy-thriller is expected to release in January next year. The trailer of "Vishwaroopam 2" is expected to release today (7 November).