Have no insecurites: Madhavan on 'Saala Khadoos', 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' and Kangana

R Madhavan is one of the biggest survivors in Indian cinema. By that we mean he has straddled Bollywood and Kollywood for over 15 years.

Sreedhar Pillai June 25, 2015 22:38:40 IST
Have no insecurites: Madhavan on 'Saala Khadoos', 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' and Kangana

R Madhavan is one of the biggest survivors in Indian cinema. By that, we mean he has straddled Bollywood and Kollywood for over 15 years. With his recent release Tanu Weds Manu Returns, the actor seems to be in a good place at the moment. Madhavan, who turned 45 on June 1, celebrated his birthday in a big way in Mumbai, as stars from both the industries came to wish him.

Have no insecurites Madhavan on Saala Khadoos Tanu Weds Manu Returns and Kangana

R Madhavan in a still from Saala Khadoos. Image from IBN live.

And he had enough reasons to celebrate. The actor is riding a tidal wave as Tanu Weds Manu Returns, which released on May 22, has turned out to be the biggest blockbuster of the year so far. The film has raked in nearly Rs 150 Crore from the box office in India and another Rs 55 Crore from overseas.

Last week Madhavan was back in Chennai after months for the dubbing work of his bilingual film Saala Khadoos (Irudhi Suttru in Tamil). In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Madhavan opens up on his return to form.

Congratulations Tanu Weds Manu Returns has turned out to be the year’s biggest box-office hit!
Yes, it is a big hit and continues to rock the box-office, even one month after its release. The film has potential to do lifetime of Rs 220 to 230 Crore from worldwide theatricals alone, which is huge by any yardstick. And the satellite television rights are yet to be sold.

Why do you think it worked so well at the box-office?
Tanu Weds Manu Returns is an inspirational movie, which worked in all centres -- from single screens in UP to elite multiplexes. The film was able to strike an unusual chord with the audiences, thanks to Anand L Rai’s romantic presentation and Himanshu Sharma’s brilliant writing. Of course, all this was backed by powerful performances from Kangana and an excellent supporting cast. It worked universally and a lot of people told me that it was an intelligent entertainer, with repeat audience potential.

But didn’t Kangana overshadow you in the film?

Right from the beginning, I knew the focus was on Kangana, when Anand and Himanshu discussed the story. I strongly feel that it is the story and characterisation that works with today’s smart phone audiences. I have no insecurities, it is better to be part of a world cup winning team than being runners up.

You were on a sabbatical for three years before the release of Tanu Weds Manu Returns
There comes a time in an actor’s career when he gets bored of routine scripts and decides to explore the outside world. I realised after doing Tanu Weds Manu and Vettai in Tamil in 2011, that I had become fat and boring. I spoke to my wife Sarita and decided to take a break. I moved away from the film industry and lived with the common man to know where I was lacking and what do they want from an actor. The sabbatical helped me as it has helped to reinvent myself and come back fresh and with lot of energy.

You have strong bonding and trust with your directors like Mani Ratnam, Raju Hirani and now Anand L Rai
I vibe very well with Mani sir, Raju and Anand, they understand me well and our comfort level is high. They are also willing to be different in their filmmaking. My most memorable films like Alaipayuthe, 3 Idiots and Tanu Weds Manu 1 & 2 were with these directors. It was Raju who advised and gave me courage to do Tanu Weds Manu. He is also producing my next film Saala Khadoos.

Tell us more about Saala Khadoos
It is a sports film directed by Sudha Kongara, a former assistant of Mani Ratnam and the Hindi version is produced Raju Hirani and I. It is titled Irudhi Suttru in Tamil. I play a veteran boxing coach, and it is a very challenging role. The female lead, Ritika Singh, is also a sportswoman. The film will release sometime later this year.

What about a part 3 to Tanu Weds Manu?
Right now I’m looking at some scripts and if something excites me, will do it. As far as Tanu Weds Manu is concerned, it has become the biggest franchise film in India, and I’m sure there will be a part 3, as and when Anand (L Rai) decides.

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