What is it about R. Madhavan? How has he been so convincing as a hero in Alaipayuthey and also just as endearing in 3 Idiots? What audience can he not woo? We speak to him in an exclusive, live conversation on FC Front Row (one of the three live events for this month), “The Art of Being a Pan India Actor with R Madhavan”, to find out how he manages to handle active careers across multiple film industries.
Excerpts from the conversation:
1. “I never assume people know who I am, and some people assume it is a false sense of modesty but for me, that works, that’s where I want to be. Even today when I go on set… I feel naked before I give my first shot… I feel like my staff and the rest of the people are laughing at me because they know my secret, the truth is out that I don’t know how to act. And that’s such an adrenaline rush for me… If you ask me, I would always do that. To go to a place nobody knows me, and see if I still have the charm. Am I speaking the lingo of the current Gen? I think that is a great reinforcement for my confidence”.
2. “I took a break from acting but not from the film industry. I was going in auto rickshaws, meeting producers to see what they think of me, what my market worth is… I spent a lot of time on the internet, meeting people, playing golf, going to concerts, going for social service activities that will help me understand the ground level, the frontbenchers… That gave me an important insight early on that this face (his own) doesn’t go with starvation or uneducated. I tried to do those films earlier on and they bombed and now I know why… Thankfully with social media, I was in the public’s mind…”
3. “I believe there does exist an emotional barrier between the Hindi (industry) and the South (industries). I’ve always imagined the dream cast of Kamal Hasan, Rajnikanth, Amitabh Bachchan, and Sridevi in one film… And I’ve been imagining that for 20 years. And then you can get someone like Mani Ratnam or someone else to direct it.”
4. “(By emotional barrier, I mean) the alpha male syndrome on the set. The way these people are treated on the set. It’s not that they exploit that but someone like Vijay can not walk out on the road… If you bring out all these people on the set, then for a director to keep the power equation correct is going to be a bigger challenge than telling a story. There has to be a movie that requires these kinds of personas who really want to do it, and not care about their image. They are all doing fantastic jobs in their own industry. You can’t just offer them money, however much, to do a film in another industry.”