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Updated: May 21, 2014 18:31 IST

Campus and camaraderie

Sudhish Kamath
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TALE OF FRIENDSHIP: Madhavan, Aamir Khan and Sharman Joshi in 3 idiots.
TALE OF FRIENDSHIP: Madhavan, Aamir Khan and Sharman Joshi in 3 idiots.

Madhavan revisits his student days in 3 Idiots, which hits the screens on Friday. sudhish kamath catches up with the actor

“Have expectations from the film, folks. You will still be pleasantly surprised,” Madhavan tweeted a fortnight ago after watching the much-awaited film of the year, Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots.

His excitement has only grown manifold since.

“Butterfly in stomach time. Don't know if I love it or hate it,” @ActorMadhavan posted earlier this week on the eve of previews for the media.

We start the interview with the basics.

How much of Chetan Bhagat's “Five Point Someone” finally made its way into 3 Idiots (the makers bought the rights to the book)?

“Dramatically different,” he insists. “If you go there expecting ‘Five Point Someone', it will be the wrong expectation to have."

Isn't Aamir playing Ryan, so that would make him Hari or Alok.

“It's completely changed. You can't pin point the characters anymore. Aamir's is the lead role... he's the narrator of the film.”

We dig more.

“3 Idiots is about the best of friends and their journey of finding one of the ‘Idiots' and it's also an internal journey of how they've come to the positions they are in.”

More Rang De Basanti magic?

“Yes, you will find similar chemistry and camaraderie between friends but the true superstar of the film would be Mr. Rajkumar Hirani. The performances are so good that you will feel it's even more real than life. Especially, the romance.”

Rajkumar Hirani does have the flair for lacing comedy with heavy-duty drama effortlessly.

“I have not been able to describe the film. I don't think I have seen a film like this before. It's a story told from the heart to the heart. It's simple not complicated, and as they say, most beautiful things are simple. He makes you laugh and cry at will.”

Madhavan is so much in awe of the film that he refuses to single out what was in it for him as an actor.

“Just being part of it was one wholesome experience. This film belongs to everybody. As an actor, if I successfully pull off the role of the student...”

We interrupt. Aamir has been playing student since 1988. Madhavan too started his film career playing a student a decade ago... Did the actors find it odd to continue to play students?

“I knew that I had to play an engineering student. I looked at 75 photographs of students with Rajkumar Hirani. Like I did for Aayitha Ezhuthu, I decided to work on my look. Many of the guys in IIT were geeky-looking with glasses, they had no hairstyle as such, some of them were balding, I realised when I looked at photographs. They didn't have a six-pack, they were intelligent people with very normal bodies. I looked at my face and realised that the innocence was missing. I had to get rid of experience. So I went back to the photographs of my student days. I had puppy fat on the face when I was in college. It wasn't Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It was a realistic film and we had to be lost among the students. I got glasses to sit on the cheek and did the screen test.”

A screen test?

“It has such a stunning resemblance to my real life story. Raju could not comprehend why I was laughing when I heard it for the first time. So I told him, ‘Let me do a screen test, so that both of us know exactly where we are.' When we finished the screen test, he had tears in his eyes. He asked me how did I know the character. He had just taken a page out of my life.”

What about Tamil?

Now that Madhavan has shifted base to Mumbai and cut down on his Tamil films, does he have plans to come back at all?

“Now, I am completely exhausted. I need to take a break. After Evano Oruvan and Yaavarum Nalam and this, I can't go back to doing mundane stuff. So I will wait for the right film. Hopefully, it will be a film by Vikram Kumar who made 13B (Yaavarum Nalam in Tamil) and that will take at least six months of scripting.”

Besides, as an actor, he has an action-packed 2010 with four Hindi releases after 3 Idiots. “I have Teen Patti, Tanu Weds Manu and two untitled films, including one with Kangna Ranaut.”

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