A fine actor who bridges the north-south divide
R.Madhavan, popularly known as Maddy is riding a wave being the only actor in India who leads charmed life as a star in Bollywood and Kollywood. He has acted in more than 50 movies and also won few Filmfare awards. He is not only an actor but has worked as a film producer, as a writer for few of his films, hosted television programmes and has been a prominent celebrity endorser for multiple brands. He is one of the few actors in India who garners pan-Indian appeal, with his success in establishing himself in the North and the South Indian film industries. He is noted for his contributing activities and promotes various causes such as environment, health and education. Interestingly, last year, Madhavan’s critically acclaimed movie, Irudhi Suttru (Tamil remake of Saala Khadoos) was screened at the Prestigious International film festival and met with a fabulous response from global people and the media.
Nithya Ramesh Model, Actor and film critic interacted with R.Madhavan for opinion express Magazine.
How are you enjoying your recent success of Kollywood release vikram vedha?
I’m really happy with the movie vikram vedha making a big hit at the box office in India as well as overseas. It is nice to know that the audiences are adapting the new and different genres of movies that are made these days which is taking our Indian cinemas to the next level.
What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, body weight, etc that you have done to prepare for a role?
Saala khadoos was an immense transformation for me. It was tough and it took a year for me to work and get right for the character to look like a retired boxer. I had to grow my moustache and hair. It was well worthy effort that I had put in.
How do you choose a script?
I listen to hundreds of scripts, but it has to excite me and at the same time my role should fit within my parameters. I look for scripts that are intelligent, age appropriate and which would fit in the right experience that the audiences are looking for.
Is it true that you have to change yourself in order to be accepted into the entertainment business?
No not at all. One has to be unique to be accepted. First you need to understand that like everybody else you are unique too in some or the other way, you should always be inspirational and have the ability and strength to portray the role assigned to you. That is when you will be accept- ed by the audience. If you have qualities that the common man wants to have after seeing you then you don’t have to change yourself.
If you were offered two movies simultaneously, one of which is a commercial movie with a reputed director and will make a huge gross worldwide whereas second one is a truly artistic film which requires great method acting and which may not be a box office hit, but will earn huge accolades for you and your entire team in a long run … what would you choose?
The commercial movie as I am strong believer of Box- office hit.
How do you prepare yourself so that you’ll bring the right amount of realism and emotion to a scene?
I try to own the scene. If a scene is given to me, I don’t try and do it like somebody else would have done it. I don’t want to do it like my criticizers or other actors who might have already done that sort of scene. I want to make it “The Madhavan’s” so being within the character that has been defined helps me to try and make it my own. Therefore I think it becomes unique and one can achieve the right amount of realism and emotion to a scene.
you are one of the few actors from South to have made a successful career both in Hindi and tamil industry. Could you please elaborate?
I was lucky born a Tamilian and was brought up in the Hindi backdrop and this worked as the biggest strength for me to get into Bollywood. I’m more of a Hindi north based guy and I always write my dialogues in Hindi as my Hindi is good and there was never a doubt that I was not a Hindi guy.
Does history interests you? What historical figure would you be interested in portraying some day?
I’m a historian. (Laughs)To be honest I was always interested in history and knowing the past in simple terms. I believe in this saying “those who do not know history will forever remain nothing more than a child”. I would love to play Alexander The Great. He was spectacular and inspires me the most. He conquered most of the world when he was 32 and died fairly young. He was arguably the most influential ruler in history I would say.
tell us about what you’re working on now?
I am doing a Bollywood flick Chanda Mama Door Ke. I have my next year kind of full and got a couple of films in Tamil and a biopic which will be made in both Hindi and Tamil as well, also probably the remake of vikram vedha in Hindi.