Having started his career with television serials like Banegi Apni Baat, Saaya, Sea Hawks, Tol Mol Ke Bol and Ghar Jamai, R Madhavan sure has come a long way. The year 2009 especially has been good for him starting with 13 B and ending with the year’s biggest grosser 3 Idiots.
Maddy, as he is fondly referred to, speaks to Businesofcinema.com about his life after the box office hit 3 Idiots and his forthcoming film Teen Patti.
So how’s life after 3 Idiots?
We always knew that the film would become a big hit but I had not expected life to change overnight. Life after 3 Idiots has meant more recognition and of course more problems at the airports!
Has your body of work and strategy of taking up work changed after 3 Idiots?
I was offered a lot of films even before 3 Idiots but the difference today is that I am able to do my own type of projects with bigger budgets. Producers are happy to invest in the kind of films I want to do.
Are you being flooded with films?
Yes, I have been getting offers but I cannot do more than three films a year. I have about three to four films in Hindi and one in Tamil. I will continue to do at least one Tamil film a year.
What is your forthcoming film Teen Patti about?
Teen Patti is a story about people who want instant gratification and will do anything for it. I play the character of a professor – Shantanu Biswas – in the film. I am playing a character with grey shades and this will be my first grey shade kind of a character in Bollywood.
The producer and director of Teen Patti are both women, how was your experience working with women?
(Laughs) Women are not as innocent as they look! We think that it’s going to be a cakewalk working with women but it’s not true. They can be real taskmasters. But jokes apart, I think they are very efficient and are very clear about what they want. Having said that, once we are on location, shooting there is no difference whether it’s a woman or a man – we are all working together as a team.
How was your experience working with Amitabh Bachchan?
When I came to know that I would be working with Mr. Bachchan I was very excited. I had grown up watching his films in Jamshedpur and never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be working with him someday. He is such a great person and a complete thrill to work with. He never made us feel that he’s a legend. There were many times during the filming that I used to pinch myself to believe that I was actually working with him.
In 3 Idiots you play a college student whereas in Teen Patti you play a professor how difficult was it since both films were being shot simultaneously?
Yes, both the films were being shot around the same time and I had to really work on the look and also get back to shape. It was very difficult doing both films at the same time.
Which one was more difficult – playing a student or a professor?
I think playing a student was more difficult.
Since Teen Patti has gambling as a backdrop, do you also gamble in real life?
In real life I am a calculated risk taker.
Having started your career as a television actor, how do you look at your growth as an actor?
I feel embarrassed when I watch my older films except for a few performances like Rang De Basanti, Ramji Londonwale and 3 Idiots, which I can watch all my life. However, I have done about 1600 episodes on TV before films and I am not embarrassed of my serials at all. Back then I had no idea about acting, I was very carefree and there was no tension that I had to become an actor… no pressure too.
What genres of film do you like doing?
I have no reservations for any particular genre. For me it’s important to work with a group of people who work together to make a film that the public will enjoy watching.