Madhavan opens up about his favourite actor, upcoming movies and the sabbatical he's planning to take to Soma Basu and S. S. Kavitha
Maddy's fans may still be going gaga over his performance in the Hindi hit, Three Idiots. But the actor without resting on his laurels has moved on. “I don't believe in basking in glory. If my film does well, I party for a day; if it doesn't, I simply sleep. The next morning, I move on to my new assignment,” he says with that famous dimpled smile that sets hearts aflutter.
We had a tough time tracking him down for an interview for the inaugural issue of CinemaPlus, Madurai, as he was busy shooting with Kamal Hassan for Manmadhan Ambu in Kodaikanal. He's known to be a “cool guy”, but once we got to meet him, we realised he's ultra-cool. What we thought would be a hurried chat turned out to be a relaxed tête-à-tête. His dark blue, checked shirt, jeans and matching sunglasses accentuated his boyish charm. Hespoke enthusiastically about his upcoming movies, his love for social cause, the state of Tamil cinema and the eight-month sabbatical he is planning to take.
“Ever since I forayed into films, I haven't taken a break. I can't wait to spend quality time with my family and friends, whom I have neglected for the last 15 years. I also want to involve myself more in service to society. I am off from September and will return in April next year,” says Maddy, digging into a sandwich with obvious enjoyment. The self-professed foodie says working out is his last priority. Maddy is not only PETA's brand ambassador, but also supports the Chennai-based The Banyan and the AIDS eradication campaign with Richard Gere. After the cloudburst damaged large parts of a village in Leh where he shot for Three Idiots, Madhavan raised Rs.25 lakh for renovation of the school there.
Not only has Maddy made waves in Bollywood, he also has come a long way in Kollywood. From the young loving husband in Alai Payuthe, the hapless cook in Nala Damayanthi, the henchman in Aayutha Ezhuthu to the tough guy fighting for justice in Ethiri and Thambi, from playing father to a Sri Lankan refugee girl in Kannathil Muthamittal to being the producer and script-writer of Evano Oruvan, Maddy's repertoire has widened. However, he prefers blockbusters to solo leads. He is keen to do sensible and commercial films such as Thoongathe Thambi Thoongathe. “When I had a chance to make an unusual, sensible and commercial movie, I did Evano Oruvan,” says Maddy, whose next Hindi film is Tanu Weds Manu, opposite Kangna Ranaut.
Talking about technical experts from Tamil Nadu making an impact the world over, he wonders why technically sound and commercially successful films can't be made in Kollywood.
“It's good to be pan-Indian,” he says, adding that though Bollywood makes more sensible movies, he would definitely do more Tamil films if opportunities came by.
Whether he rubs shoulders with Kamal Hassan or the Big B (in Teen Patti), he doesn't get overawed. “When your mind is focussed on the role you are playing, where is the time to think about them,” he asks.
“In fact, it is the people who put these stalwarts on a pedestal. This alienates them from the common man. As a result, they don't even have anybody to talk to on the sets. Yet, they go out of their way to make others working with them feel comfortable,” he says.
Ask Maddy who his favourite actor is, and Maddy says, “Kamal sir is my favourite actor. And doing a role like his Nayagan is my dream.”
“I'm waiting for the right script. My best is yet to come,” says the actor signing off.
Three best things: his role in Three Idiots which helped him grab eyeballs; raising funds for the school renovation in Leh; and the construction of his house Last book read: Arvind Adiga's “The White Tiger”
Loves: eating at Wasabi, The Taj, Mumbai.
Favourite film: his debut Alai Payuthe, which he has watched six times.
Favourite holiday destination: Canada