December 19, 2001


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'I'm dying to do a film with Aamir'

Madhvan Unfazed by the non-performance of his Hindi debut, Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, and the disappointing returns for his latest Tamil film, the prolific veteran K Balachander’s 100th film Paarthale Paravasam which opened in Diwali, Madhavan is now in Mumbai shooting for his second Hindi film -- Viveck Vaswani’s Dil Vil Pyar Vyar directed by Anant Mahadevan.

Mahadevan directed Madhavan in the super-successful serial Ghar Jamai two years ago. The comfort level on the sets is very high. The two gab incessantly in Tamil though Madhavan is nervous about his second Hindi film.

But there's hardly any time to entertain the butterflies in the stomach. Maddy, as he's more commonly known, settles down to answer Subhash K Jha's questions about his forthcoming releases.

What's Dil Vil Pyar Vyar shaping into?

Something really beautiful, that much I can tell you. The script is conceptualised as a tribute to the songs of Rahul Dev Burman. All of us have beautiful roles. I'm paired opposite Namrata Shirodkar (who replaces Mahima Chaudhry). I was amazed at how beautifully she performs before the camera. Our roles are similar to the ones Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan essayed in Abhimaan.

Were you excited about your film with doyen K Balachander?

Of course, more so since Paarthale Paravasam was Balachander's first feature film in five years.

He liked my performance in Mani Rathnam's Alai Payuthe and called me. Simran and I commenced shooting in January and completed the film in April. We then waited for A R Rahman's music and the film finally hit the road on November 14.

What about your Hindi debut Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein that was being promoted in Mumbai with Saif Ali Khan taking the lead?

That's just fine.

Madhvan in RHTDM When a film is a no-show at the BO it has to be salvaged in any way possible. I just wish my Hindi debut was as strong as my Tamil debut, Alai Payuthe.

But I hope that Vashu Bhagnani (Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein's producer) would do another Hindi film with me. But, I don't want to push him into it.

Like him, I want to be a self made man. I consider Bhagnani to be the king of the selfmade clan. He's so successful and yet so down-to-earth.

Sounds like Mani Rathnam. How's it doing a third film with him?

The second one, Dum Dum Dum was only produced by him. The new feature Kannathil Muthan Ittaal is a role I'm really proud of.

Believe me my role in this new Mani Rathnam film is to die for. I play a mature working-class man for the first time. Simran is my heroine this time round again. I don't want to create the wrong hype by saying too much about it.

Why Simran again?

I've done two films with Jyothika and two with Simran. Now, I desperately need a new heroine. Do you have anyone in mind? It isn't as though I mind working with either. They're both wonderful co-stars. But after bonding intensely with them over two films, it's hard to move on to other characters.

The K Balachander and Mani Rathnam films that Simran and I did, featured us in radically removed roles. They are bound to be highpoints of our careers. Now, if we're offered anything else together it would be difficult to move ahead.

Are you happy with the way your career is going in Tamil?

Madhvan Touch wood, it couldn't be better. I don't know how the new Mani Rathnam film will fare. But it's a dream opportunity for both Simran and me.

Don't you wish you were doing the Hindi version of Alai Payuthe?

The director Shaad, probably wanted an entire change of mood, scenario and flavour in Hindi. I think we should all give Vivek Oberoi a chance. I'm not saying he'd do better. But let's be fair to him.

Oberoi is reportedly being paid Rs 10 million for the film.

Really?! I'm quite a duffer in these matter. Though I'm good with Mani I'm not very good with money. *laughs*

To me, the script is the biggest fortune. I wish there were more scriptwriters writing sensible stuff.

Your last release Paarthale Paravasam is produced by director K Balachander's production house Kavithalayaathe, same people who made Roja. Will they be sending your film to the Oscars?

I think I have a long way to go before I'm seen anywhere near the Oscars.

But I'm so glad Aamir Khan and Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan was selected. If it had been any other film, it would've been ridiculous. I'm dying to do a film with Aamir.

What about television?

I'm proud of almost everything I've done on the small screen. I particularly liked a one-hour telefilm for Zee about a self-styled Casanova who comes to terms with his waywardness when he discovers he has a son. That was one of my best works .

Television has an amazing ability to reinvent itself. At one time home viewers freaked out on costume dramas like Chandrakanta. Now, it's time for ladies' specials from Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi to Kyunki Sauce Bhi Kabhi Tomato Thi.

Were you the highest paid actor on television?

I might have been among the actors in my age-group. But otherwise, I think guys like Satish Shah, Shekhar Suman and Farookh Sheikh earned a lot more. But, the one television product I really like is Manoj Bajpai.

Do you take kindly to being called the next 'boy-next-door' after Rajesh Khanna?

Madhvan Wow! That completes the circle. I've been called the Hrithik Roshan of Television; the Shah Rukh Khan of the South. Now it's Rajesh Khanna. I couldn't have asked for more.

What do you find the most difficult about acting ?

The dancing. It's tortuous! I've got two left feet. I was uncomfortable doing the beach song in Alai Payuthe. But we can't forget the 'B' and 'C' centre audiences. If we spend Rs 40 million, half that amount comes in from those areas. The unfortunate thing about that beach song, which neither Rathnam nor I was comfortable with, was that it brought the audiences into the theatre in droves.

What's the one thing that you don't want to happen to your career?

I never want to overreach. I don't care if people say I'm a bad actor. I know I can manage to act well. But I don't ever want them to say stardom has gone to my head. That's why I'm proceeding with extreme caution.

Right now, I have only two Tamil films and Dil Vil Pyar Vyar.

Have you been offered a film by Shyam Benegal?

Yes, it's a dream come true. The dates are being worked out. And it does look like I will do the film.

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