Padma Shri Kamal Haasan, who began his career as a child artist in A V Meiyappan's production venture "Kalathur Kannamma" in 1959, never had to look back as he received the President's Gold Medal for his performance in the romantic film.

The multi-talented superstar, who has proved his mettle as producer, scriptwriter, director, playback singer, choreographer and songwriter, celebrates his 61st birthday on Saturday, 7 November.

Happy birthday Kamal Haasan: Jayaram, Dulquer Salmaan, Shruti Haasan and other celebs wish the actor [PHOTOS]

It was in 1974 that Haasan began as an independent lead actor in KS Sethumadhavan's Malayalam film "Kanyakumari", and later made a mark in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and Bengali films.

It was K Balachander's "Apoorva Raagangal" (1975) that gave the actor a major breakthrough in Tamil; he was subsequently given the moniker "Ulaganayagan" (universal hero) for his remarkable performance in many films.

However, be it his association with films "Uttama Villain", "Papanasam", "Vishwaroopam", "Mumbai Express" and "Virumaandi", or his statements, the actor has always been targeted by many and is often called the king of controversies.

Kamal Haasan Controversies

Meanwhile, Kamal, who was last seen in Jeethu Joseph's "Papanasam", the Tamil remake of Mohanlal's blockbuster film "Drishyam", is awaiting the release of Rajesh M Selva's crime thriller "Thoongavanam", which is set to hit the screens on 10 November.

He will also reportedly team up with Malayalam director TK Rajeev Kumar after a gap of two-and-a-half decades opposite Akkineni Nagarjuna's wife Amala.