You might remember him as the flamboyant Flight Lieutenant Ajay Rathod in RANG DE BASANTI or more recently as the mischievous student Farhan Qureshi in 3 IDIOTS. Now, R.Madhavan is hoping that people remember him as Manu from TANU WEDS MANU, which releases on 25th February. Catch him in conversation as he opens up about the film, marriages, working with Kangna and also some controversies.
The promos of the film are very exciting. What's the film about? TANU WEDS MANU is about two people who are diametrically opposite to each other. Manu is a kind of guy who is happy to follow what his parents say. He comes back from London because they want him to get married. When a guy from a small town goes abroad, everybody expects him to come back completely westernised, with all the bad qualities that the western world has to offer. Maybe come back with a blonde wife. But in 95% of the cases Indians comeback being more Indians than anything else. And Manu is like them. But when he comes back after eight years, the small town has completely westernised. Tanu played by Kangna is one of those girls, who is influenced by the McDonald and MTV culture. Love blossoms between these two people. It's not a comedy. You will laugh many times in the film. But it's a hardcore drama. It's also a romantic film.
Are you in any way similar to Manu? As far as Manu is concerned, he is very quiet and dignified. But he's also very strong. That's the quality that decides how the film goes. He a kind of guy that every guy wants to be. If you can't be him, then the next best thing is to be the flamboyant one. I can never be like Manu. I have tried my best. He's too strong and dignified. He's like Marayada Purshottam Lord Rama. You would never want to mess with him. He will walk into a party where nobody knows him and still command the respect and attention of a famous personality. I wish I could do that.
Does the film or your character have any similarities to your own film RAMJI LONDONWALEY? Not at all. RAMJI LONDONWALEY was about London and Indians in London. This film has nothing to do with London. This film starts in India and ends in India.
'Kangna and I were a rage'
Did you expect the promo to be such a rage? Honestly, I didn't. When we do a film, we are hoping that a film gets made properly and it's released well. The audience should take the film for what it is. From the time Viacom 18 has come in and the way the trailers are cut, I am afraid now. There are a lot of expectations from the film now. The trailers have done very well and the songs are playing in every disco and wedding that I've been be or heard about. But I'm not complaining because people die to be in this position. So I'm very happy that the buzz is correct.
Apparently, you were upset about the title being changed from MANU WEDS TANU to TANU WEDS MANU? There are three rumours surrounding the film. Firstly I kissed Kangna and that she refused to kiss Mika. Secondly the title of the film was MANU WEDS TANU earlier. Thirdly Salman will be seen playing a guest appearance in the film. All are big lies. We are all amused. In our Indian culture, the girl's name is always taken first in a marriage card. When I had signed the film before Kangna, it was still titled TANU WEDS MANU. It was never MANU WEDS TANU. As far as kissing is concerned, even though every actor would like to do it, this film doesn't have any scope for it. And Salman has been a great support for us in 'Bigg Boss'. There is no scope for anybody in the film. It's false that his role has been edited.
Is it true that Kangna is the main character of the film? Kangna is not the main character of TANU WEDS MANU. It is called TANU WEDS MANU. We wanted the film's promo to be about a commercial and a non-commercial actor. At the end of the day it's all about how you handle things when the moment of truth comes. That's all I would say for Manu.
Are the reports true about you being upset with Kangna taking all the limelight? I'm surprised as to how such stories come before a film's release. She had to go for Bangkok for shooting. So we had to finish Tanu's publicity first. Then we started Manu's publicity. I have nothing against Kangna.
From the promos, it seems you enjoyed shooting for the film a lot. What you saw the promo is nothing. I don't know why people don't attribute this to me but I am a hardcore badmaash. I'm one of those guys you have to watch out for on the sets. Kangna and I were a rage. We had so much fun together. I'm very fond of her. We were on the same plane and I'm really looking forward to doing another film with her. Hopefully something nice will come along. Anand Rai (director) was our target. But he knew exactly what he wanted. Even though we did masti, we knew who the boss was when it actually came to the shots. So there was a great equilibrium. I had as much fun as 3 IDIOTS. I'm really going to miss the team. After the shoot was over, we used to call each other every night because we missed the shooting days.
Are you concerned about the film being released during the Cricket World Cup? The World Cup better watch out for TANU WEDS MANU. People won't watch the World Cup. They would watch TANU WEDS MANU.
What is the golden rule of a successful marriage? Wife is always right. That's the mantra. You don't have to believe it. Just say it. It makes life easier.
'I have nothing against Kangna'
Arrange versus Love Marriage. Which side are you on? Both the situations have equal challenges. It is wrong to assume that love marriages have a high success rate. It is also wrong to say that there is no romance in arrange marriages. My parents and in-laws had arranged marriages. I don't think we can have the same romance in our marriage. As far as arrange marriages go, Sarita and I are meant for each other. I can't live without her. And I'm sure her life is incomplete without mine. But I have seen fights between every married couple. I have seen my parents fight. Even Sarita and I have fought a lot. And then compromise comes between love.
Did you give a matrimonial ad for your marriage or refer to one? I used to refer matrimonial ads in college to find girls so that I could hit on them. And I had a love marriage. So referring Ads wasn't required.
How has life changed post 3 IDIOTS? Life has changed dramatically. There was no pressure on me for 3 IDIOTS. Looking as college students was our only concern. It didn't even sell in my markets. It was a Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor film. It became very important that my next release after 3 IDIOTS was a proper release. I'm very happy that TANU WEDS MANU is releasing well. I'm scared now as the film has been sold at unexpected prices in different territories. None of my films have been sold at such high rates. The buzz is good. I hope the film recovers its amount.
You have been in the industry for 10 years now. Are you happy with the way your career is progressing? I'm very happy with the way my career is moving. I don't think I have any complains. I'm sad that I'm no Shahrukh Khan. But I'm also very happy that I'm not a struggling actor.