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Bilinguals and remakes keep Madhavan busy`

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Bilinguals and remakes seem to be the order of things for Madhavan who went straight into "Ramji London-wale", the Hindi version of his Tamil film "Nala Damayanthi", after doing the Tamil version of Mani Ratnam's "Yuva".

He is also off to New Mexico to shoot a Malayalam-English film, his first in both languages.

"I know," he grins, "I can't figure out why this happening."

Madhavan is just back after a month-and-a-half long schedule of "Ramji..." in London.

"About 85 percent of the film is complete. The London schedule started on a disastrous note. Half the crew got to London while the other half was still waiting for their visa. But once everyone joined us it was as though the gods smiled on us.

"The weather became bright and sunny with 14 hours of sunlight. We managed to complete everything on time. I must say the turning point in our London schedule was when my music composer Vishal Bhardwaj sent us three songs in London."

Lots of films are now being shot in London. "That's because the British government is offering lots of concessions and advantages... The Tamil version cost less to make but the Hindi version is far superior in terms of plot and treatment. The music in the Hindi version is phenomenally superior. Besides, London is more romantic than Australia where we shot the Tamil version."

Madhavan says he enjoys the challenge of remakes.

"I've earlier done my Tamil hit 'Minnale' in Hindi, 'Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein'. That was a faithful remake in every sense, but 'Ramji London-wale' is an adaptation. Since we've translocated the original character from Tamil Nadu to Bihar, the entire dialect changed. And since I'm originally from Bihar, language was not a problem.

"By coincidence, most of the supporting parts in the film are played by Biharis, including walk-on parts by London-based Indians. I'm ecstatic about the film."

Madhavan has returned to India with two Tamil hits "Aitheree" and "Ayutha Ezhuthu". He's especially protective of the latter.

"I know how hard Mani Sir worked on the film. And I prayed for both the Hindi and Tamil versions to do well. I'm very happy for the acclaim 'Yuva' got Abhishek. He deserves every bit of it. I did his role in the Tamil version. Both of us scored basically because we had such well-written roles. I also liked Kareena in 'Yuva'. She was brilliant."

There's lots of happening in Madhavan's career.

"I'm off to New Mexico this week to shoot a Malayalam-English film. This is my first film in both languages. It's directed by Rajeev Anchal who directed a Malayalam-English hit 'Guru'. It's about two people who meet in a suicide ward after trying to end their lives but it isn't a depressing film at all. It's a celebration of life rather than death. My leading is a new girl called Neha.

"I must tell you Samita Bangargi who stars opposite me in 'Ramji London-wale' is just too good. This film will make her a star."


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