Looking hot as ever, actor R. Madhavan is all set to scorch the silver screen after a three years hiatus from Bollywood! The actor, who has impressed all with his performances in films like ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Guru’ among others, is all set to entertain the audience with his upcoming film ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, a sequel to the 2011 hit ‘Tanu Weds Manu’.
Madhavan sits down with us and discusses the challenges he faced while reprising the character of Manu, working with co-star Kangana Ranaut and why is he being selective about work!
Maddy, you mentioned in our last conversation that it was very difficult to make a film like ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ as no one was ready to finance it and on the other hand, ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ is a highly anticipated sequel. Looking back how would you describe your journey with this franchise?
I feel vindicated. When I finished doing ‘3 Idiots’ a lot of people approached me with their scripts but I chose to do Aanand Rai’s film who had made a very insignificant film called ‘Strangers’ before that. When I met him I saw a different kind of spark in him. This intended me in going and watching ‘Strangers’ and I knew that I was going to be working with a bloody good filmmaker. I remember sitting for a narration with Aanand and writer Himanshu Sharma back in 2009. As soon as they finished narrating the story I got up, hugged both of them and just requested them not to change anything in the script. The bad news was that no one believed in it. We didn’t have anyone to finance the film. I remember Raju (director Rajkumar Hirani) asking me what I was doing post ‘3 Idiots’.
This is the second time you are working with Kangana Ranaut. She has really excelled her performance since ‘Tanu Weds Manu’.
As a co-star it was really challenging to work with Kangana Ranaut. Most of the times you see in films that the hero does his bit and the heroine does her bit but never ever have I worked in a film where the lead roles are so intertwined. Kangana was absolutely brilliant in the first film and after ‘Queen’ she just raised the bar to the next level. We suddenly started to see the serious side of an actor in her. It was extremely entertaining because she pushed me to do my best.
Is there a sense of insecurity that Kangana will walk away with all the limelight?
There is no doubt about it that Kangana will walk away with all the limelight after the film releases. I am extremely selfless and at the same time a supremely confident actor. If I would have been adamant and would have said that I want to be the hero of the film and want to say the best of the dialogues it would have turned out to be a different film altogether. But I think I am such a kamina that I know about impressing the audience with my performance (Smiles). I am well aware of the fact that I will be overshadowed by her. It is bound to happen. Content is more important than stars. There wasn’t a single actor from the first film who didn’t want to be part of the sequel which makes us all feel blessed.
‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ is different from most sequels as the film starts exactly from where the previous film has left. What was the biggest difficulty you faced while recreating the same character?
We never intended to have a sequel so no one was prepared for it. The second challenge was that ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ was a realistic film. It’s very easy to make a sequel of ‘Krrish’ or ‘Superman’ or ‘Charlie Chaplin’ because they are extraordinary people but this is a real film. We never showed the characters dancing in the icy slopes of the Alps or any other dreamy sequences. Everybody in the sequel too is true to their character from the original; the same people living the same life, except its five years from the wedding. This is a sequel in the true sense of the word because the story starts exactly five years into the couple’s marriage. Also it became tougher to shoot for the sequel because we had to keep it real when there was Kangana Ranaut’s double role to deal with. Also my character in the film has very minimum dialogues so I had to work strongly on my expressions. I would say this is probably the toughest role of my life.
I noticed that you mentioned the word ‘real’ a lot of times…
(Interrupts) I kept on repeating the word ‘real’ because you will actually see the characters and relate to them with the people around you. Even though the trailer is showing you all the funny things the film is very real .People who are married or are about to get married will relate to the film. I remember my wife came for one of the dubbing sessions. Coincidentally it was the first scene of the film and she couldn’t stop laughing and told me, ‘Did you write the dialogues yourself by picking it up from our fights.’ So it’s that real.
How do you look at your Bollywood journey now?
I am blessed that at 45 I am still doing solo romantic hero roles and college girls still call me Maddy. Recently, I visited Kangana’s school and 15-year-old girls told me, ‘Maddy, you’re so hot!’ I am sure there must be something to it. I have been very cautious about the films that I do. I hope to always entertain my audience. The day I am not able to do that I will quit acting.
You have been very selective about your work.
As I said earlier content is more important to me. I don’t feel jealous of any other films that have come out and I felt like being a part of it. If I wouldn’t have been a part of ‘3 Idiots’ I would have felt bloody jealous. Also I had become a boring actor in my own eyes. I wasn’t looking fit at all. I took a three year break to work on myself. It was a big risk that I took. It paid off and I had two films (‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ and ‘Saala Khadoos’) coming up. I could also afford to take that time off because I am not here for money. I don’t need a release once in three months and also because my family has been very supportive of my career decisions.
You lost a lot of weight and got into a good physique for ‘Saala Khadoos’. The new look has become the talk of the town.
My weight has always been a topic of discussion which is fine (Laughs). It is very important for an actor to look physically attractive. I wanted to do a film which would take me out of my comfort zone and ‘Saala Khadoos’ is the one. Thankfully my look has been appreciated by the people. It was Rajkumar Hirani’s idea. But I think I have made an enviable physique (Smiles). Also I grew my hair long and donned a thick beard which transformed me completely.
Any update on your Hollywood film ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ as it has been in the making for over four years.
The post production of the film is going on and since it is a zombie film we are aiming for a Halloween release this year.