By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network
He is hailed as the 'Shah Rukh' of the South. His good looks and charismatic smile make girls go weak in their knees. Right from his first Hindi film Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein (RHTDM) he has always been appreciated for his good looks and impeccable acting skills. He is none other than R. Madhavan who is all excited about his first attempt at the super-natural genre with 13 B. We caught up with the South Indian actor and were pleasantly surprised to know that Madhavan would be seen a lot more in Hindi films in the days to come.
After Mumbai Meri Jaan, you are back with 13B. How does it feel?
It feels good yaar. This is a solo lead for me so I am really excited.
The promos of 13B look spooky. Could you tell us a little bit more about the film?
13B talks about how in today's times we rely so much on Television that it has become our constant companion. The story explores a scary scenario of what would happen if the T.V. decides who the Boss of the house is and starts taking control of things. Instead of showing you the truth, it starts showing you what it wants you to see which is quite a freaky thought.
Is this your first attempt at horror genre?
Yes but let me reiterate that this is not a horror film…it's a supernatural thriller. A horror film is one where you have gory faces, ghosts, blood etc. This film has none of that. It's a very interesting thriller.
You are paired opposite Neetu Chandra for the first time. How was the experience working with her?
Very good. Neetu is a very hard-working girl and a thorough professional.
Tell us something about the director Vikram. This is his first Hindi film, how has he done?
When Vikram came to me with the story, it grabbed my attention. I like to do different kind of films and this was a great opportunity to do that. As a director, Vikram was totally in control of what he wanted for the film. In spite of the presence of stalwarts like P.C. Sreeram, Samir Chanda, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vikram was never inhibited and was completely at ease. Vikram has written a brilliant story and has managed to convey it in a superb way on screen.
R Madhavan In 13B, it's not a doll or a pet or a tree but a T.V. set the scares the living daylights of the audience, quite an eerie thought right?
It's not the T.V. that scares the audience. It's the attitude of the people. We all like to see negative things on T.V. In a reality show, people enjoy seeing the agony, pain, tears of the participants and the TRP shoots up. Why do we like seeing so much negativity and what could be the repercussions of this is what the film tries to portray?
The film has your family moving into 13th floor of an apartment. In a normal scenario, many people would refuse to do so due to superstitious reasons. What would you have done in real life scenario?
I would happily move into a flat on the 13th floor if I got a great deal (smiles).
Shooting for such spook-fests come with their share of eerie experiences. Did you encounter any such incidents?
Yeah...we did have our share of spooky incidents. For example, things would go wrong at 13:00 hours and for some reason or the other we would not be able to shoot on the 13th of every month but there was nothing scary or detrimental about it.
The film has music given by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Firstly is there a need or scope for songs in such a film and why are you seen doing an item number in a supernatural thriller?
'O Sexy Mama' is only used for promotional purposes, its not there in the film. The rest of the songs are so good that I would rather have them in the film than not have it.
Not many people are aware that the film is a bi-lingual (Hindi and Tamil). Did you shoot for both the versions simultaneously? Is the Tamil film also releasing at the same time?
Yes...for the first time ever we shot a film in two different languages (Hindi and Tamil) with a slightly different cast simultaneously and it's being released on the same date - March 6.
Coming back to your career, you started out in 2001 with RHTDM, yet in the last 8 years we have seen you in hardly 8 films. Why so?
Yes, actually not even 8 films...13B is my seventh Hindi film. I started with RHTDM, then Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, Ramji Londonwaley, Rang De Basanti, Guru and Mumbai Meri Jaan. I have been waiting for the right scripts and moreover I didn't want to play second fiddle in many films as it doesn't go down too well with my Tamil audience. It's not fair for me to disappoint my Tamil fans by appearing in inconsequential roles.
R Madhavan Post 13B, you also feature in one of the most anticipated films of the year- Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 3 Idiots. How has it been shooting once again with Aamir Khan and Sharman Joshi?
It's been great. Good old times are back again.
The 3 Idiots team played a cricket match recently. Was it for any charitable cause?
No...it was just a fun thing. We'd finished 40 days of shooting and thought it would be a nice way to show our friendship and rivalry. It was a full-on match of 10 overs per side and we had 4 teams comprising the actors, the producers, the director and the technicians. We had a complete blast and luckily for me I was in Aamir's team (the winning team).
Besides 13B and 3 Idiots, what else is in the pipeline?
There is Teen Patti...My whole life is full of 3's right now (13B, 3 Idiots, Teen Patti). I also have Sikandar which will be releasing in March.
How has it been working with Big B in Teen Patti?
It's a dream come true. He had done a cameo in Ramji Londonwaley and I was floored then and there. This time, to be a part of a full film with him is something special. He is an outstanding gentleman and I am a devotee of Amitabh Bachchan.
Coming back to 13B, in the recent past spook-fests like Raaz-TMC, 1920, Phoonk etc. have proved to be surprise hits at the B.O. What is your gut feel about 13 B?
Even if the above mentioned films would not have worked I would still be equally hopeful about 13 B. It's a good film and I am sure people would enjoy watching it.