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January 11, 2002
'I want to go on my knees and kiss Mani Sir's hand'
Subhash K Jha
Madhavan is very excited about his third film with Mani Ratnam.
"After watching Kannatthil Muttham [Kiss On The Cheek], I want to go on my knees and kiss Mani Sir's hand. I can't reveal the plot. But let me tell you that it's the best film that Mani Ratnam has ever made."
The film is about a couple (Madhavan and Simran) who're faced with a family crisis. This makes them go in search of a woman (Nandita Das) who has a crucial bearing on their family life.
Madhavan reveals the wonderful rapport he shares with his favourite director. "I can't believe this is my third film with India's most accomplished director," enthuses Madhavan. His first was Alai Payuthe and the second was Dumm Dumm Dumm, which was produced by Mani Ratnam. The only other actor who's done more films with the producer-director is Arvind Swamy (who has done four films, though only two as the lead hero).
Says Maddy, "I'm the only actor to have done three films as a leading man with Mani Sir. And I hope that I'll be in his next film too."
"Kannatthil Muttham was certainly tougher than Alai Payuthe. Not only did I have to play a character much older than me, but also the father of two children. To play this serious 35-year old poet required a lot of preparation.
"I studied the personality and speaking pattern of two Tamil poets Vairamuthu and Sujatha. To play the father, I watched my director Mani Ratnam closely when he interacted with his 10-year old son. In fact, I'll give him all the credit for my performance."
As Madhavan speaks, he sounds like Abhishek Bachchan expressing his unconditional gratitude to his director Dharmesh Darshan for acting out every nuance and gesture in Han Maine Bhi Pyar Kiya.
Coincidentally, both the actors' films, Kannatthil Muttham and Hain Maine Bhi Pyar Kiya, will release in February.
Says Madhavan, "Kannatthil Muttham is expected to release in the first week of February. But it depends on the music release of the film. And let me tell you, A R Rahman's music here is to die for."
Isn't it always the same when it comes to Mani Ratnam? Compare the scores that Rahman has done for Ratnam like Roja and Alai Payuthe with Rahman's output outside Ratnam's territory.
Madhavan admits, "But why only Rahman? Any actor or even technician who works with Ratnam is inspired to give his or her best."
The expectations from the new Ratnam-Madhavan flick are palpable. The fact that Madhavan's last film with Simran for director K Balachander didn't quite set the Godavari on fire seems to have no effect on the anticipatory wail for Kannatthil Muttham.
Presently the actor is in Mumbai for another schedule of his second Hindi film Dil Vil Pyar Vyaar. "I've lost a lot of weight, almost seven kilos. Though I'm not looking muscular, I think I look quite athletic," he chuckles.
Recently, Madhavan saw his producer Viveck Vaswani's new film Everybody Says I'm Fine, directed by Rahul Bose. Maddy just cant stop raving. "This is the kind of film I'd like to be in. I just can't get the guy who played the lead out of my head. And Pooja Bhatt is magnificent!"
To Madhavan's relief and happiness, his Hindi debut Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein is no longer being written off as the non-happening film of 2001. "On the contrary, people tell me that they liked the film. Hopefully, my second Hindi film will be a success."
The project to be directed by Shyam Benegal is still not confirmed. Madhavan's dates are being worked out. Mumbai sure seems ready for Madhvan. "I don't know about that. But I'm ready for Mumbai," he chuckles.
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