The Curious Case Of R Madhavan
Man's World|January 2022
From being ‘that cute boy’ of Indian television in the’90s to charming the Bollywood audience, while finding a superstardom in the Tamil film industry, and also now being the first A-list actor to make an OTT debut, R Madhavan is an actor like no other
Ananya Ghosh
It's been 25 years since this then-shy guy with a cute smile sang his way into the hearts of the Indian audience with Chup Tum Raho in /s Raat Ki Subah Nahi. Ask him how that young man making his Bollywood debut with a brief appearance in a song would feel about the star he has become today, and Madhavan quips: “If you consider television as well, it's 26 years (laughs).

That shy guy would look at me with complete awe, because I didn't expect to become an actor. I wasn't trained to be one and I didn't study to be one. I was just doing what was coming my way, and doing it for fun. People started calling me a good actor, and I started getting jobs with bigger directors. Suddenly, a lot of iconic projects had my name on them. So, I think I couldn't have charted this, it is divine intervention, and I am very grateful for it but I think I still have my best to give, he says, as we sit down for this interview.

In fact, that might just be true. With Bollywood and Indian cinema, in general, becoming far less ageist in the last few years, now there is no dearth of interesting age-appropriate lead roles for older actors. I actually moved into those 15 years ago. When I did Rehnaa Hai... I was 31. I was already sure that I wanted to get into an age-appropriate bracket of doing roles wherein it will increase the longevity of the kind of movies I can do. I knew if I continue to do puppy love stories where I am romancing younger girls, then there will come a time when people won't take me seriously irrespective of what I do next. I think I was smart enough to understand that, and I made that transition right after Guru. I think I was instrumental in getting that wave in where people started writing age-appropriate roles for older actors, he points out.

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