R Madhavan is a man on a mission. It has been four years since his last Tamil film Vettai (Hunt), which released on January 14, 2012. The actor is now on a hunt to get that elusive hit with a Tamil-Hindi bilingual, Irudhi Suttru (Final Round)/Saala Khadoos directed by Sudha Kongra releasing on January 29.
As far as the Hindi version is concerned, he has no such worries, as he has starred in one of the biggest Bollywood hits of 2015, Anand L Rai's Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Saala Khadoos is being produced by Rajkumar Hirani and marketed by UTV. Meanwhile, Madhavan is aggressively promoting his upcoming sports drama, Irudhi Suttru in Tamil Nadu. The film is a story about a boxing coach played by Madhavan and his student, enacted by newcomer Ritika Singh.
After attending the grand audio launch in Chennai, which also saw Rajkumar Hirani, Madhavan and his team went to the temple town of Madurai and later to the second biggest city in the state Coimbatore. The actor visited a local college and interacted with students. Madhavan had dedicated three years of his life for Irudhi Suttru.
In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Madhavan said, “ I know Irudhi Suttru is a different kind of film, but I’m sure it will work. I’m working with Sudha (the director) for the first time, and the moment I read the script I knew I had to play the role of the boxing coach. The story is all about the mentor-protégé relationship. The film also has multiple layers of emotions at work and a nice message that lessons of life can only be learnt the hard way. This will be a landmark film of the year and quite an unforgettable role. I feel like my image itself is going to change.”
Will Tamil Nadu audiences, who are used to his romantic chocolate boy image, accept him in a role which shows him as an angry old coach with a salt and pepper look? Maddy smiles and adds, “Never underestimate the audiences. This is advice given to me by Anand L Rai, one of my favourite directors. Today’s new generation Tamil audiences are smart and way ahead and I’m sure they will lap it up. I went on an intensive tour of small towns across Tamil Nadu to promote Irudhi Suttru, to coax the audiences into the theatres and I told them the film has an aspirational quality about it.”
Madhavan’s Tamil Nadu tour is unlike other film promotions in a state where other big heroes do not even promote their films. Just like promotions happen in Bollywood, Madhavan was seen appearing on talk shows with popular anchors like former leading lady Khushbu.
Dhananjayan, a former employee of UTV, who coordinated the promotions, revealed, “ Madhavan is returning to Tamil cinema after the successful Vettai in 2012. After touring with him, I found that the craze for him remains the same among the youth in smaller cities in Tamil Nadu. We wanted to ensure he reaches out to all the audiences, from big cities and small. Maddy totally supported our plans and made the promotional tour a success. He will also feature in eight special programmes on Tamil TV on Republic Day (January 26), thus giving Irudhi Suttru a phenomenal recall value.”