Guess who turned up to wish DC a very happy 12th birthday in Chennai? The eternal lover-boy of Alaipayuthey, the cranky ruffian from Ayutha Ezhuthu and the tough cop in the upcoming Vikram Vedha — Ranganathan Madhavan was at his boisterous best as he joins us in the celebrations.
“I’m really happy to be part of the Deccan Chronicle family. You have become more and more charming over time, always stay ahead of the curve — and still manage to maintain your identity despite the influx of other media,” he tells us, before we dig into our cake!
In a conversation, Maddy gives us his views on 12 different subjects — that are relevant to today’s world and society — emanating from his movies, and how they have changed him for the better.
The actor talks about everything from his enthusiastic female fanbase, to more serious issues like the current education system in India and the problem of ‘fake news.’ As always, he regaled us with his opinions, and also gave us plenty of food for thought!
ALAIPAYUDHE: Created a huge female fan following
Why I have such a following is beyond me. Honestly, I haven’t made any effort to even be seen in the right clothes or right romantic settings! Somewhere there’s affection that goes beyond fandom and I am grateful for it.
My son finds it amusing when somebody at the airport runs and gives me a hug and kiss on my cheek and runs away. Earlier, my wife would get disturbed and ask, ‘who the hell is she?!’ But now she has overcome it, as being a huge fan of Shah Rukh Khan, she realises that they were just fan moments.
KANNATHIL MUTHAMITTAL: On Sri Lankan Tamils
On a humanitarian level, you sympathise with everybody, who are victims of war and violence. There’s nothing wrong or right. In a war, everybody loses. The smart way is to move on and make sure that it never happens.
I respected the fact that Rajini sir wanted to go there. He was quoted as saying that he may go to Sri Lanka in the future and not to politicise it. It is just a man wanting to salute the brave Tamil people. It was very nice of him to say that and I totally agree with him. I had the opportunity to shoot in Sri Lanka for my Tamil film, Vazhthukkal, along with Seeman. I saw the love and affection of the people there — and it was a breath of fresh air to see a Tamil film being shot there.
ANBE SIVAM: Kamal sir is a demi-God
I am not just an ardent fan of Kamal sir the actor, but also Kamal the human. Apart from that, he is also a singer, an extraordinary dancer, comedian, an action hero and much more. With all this in mind, I found it surreal that I was going to do Anbe Sivam with him. We had a mutual affinity when we first met. I remember Kamal sir sharing with me the experiences of his own life, and that has helped me a lot in my career as an actor over the last 15 years. After watching the edited version of Anbe Sivam, Kamal sir said, ‘I am proud that I did this film with you. People, who watch the film will say that you have outshone me!’ We don’t get to witness that sort of grace often in the industry.
NALA DAMAYANTHI: Cooking culinaries
I can only ‘cook’ good stories (laughs) Jokes apart, I just know basic stuff in cooking. I am a vegetarian and don’t desire non-vegetarian food. I learnt over a period of time that you have to be conscious about what, how and when you eat, because that largely determines how life moves forward. It contributes to your success and failures.
3 IDIOTS: About friendship and the education system
Some of the closest friends I have right now in the industry are Suriya, director Sudha, Sasikanth, and Lingusamy sir. Not that we talk to each other daily, or party and stuff like that — but whenever we meet, we make it special.
As for the education system in the country, it should completely be revamped.
The curriculum is neither designed for the future, nor for the present. Although, the most educated people, who are heading the world’s biggest firms are Indians — more so from south India — a change should be brought. It was an honour for me to speak at Harvard at the Indian Conclave. I was in my element and totally enjoyed it.
AYUDHA EZHUTHU: Youth should come to politics
More youngsters should come to politics. But none should come with the agenda of ‘I have to rule’; but with the attitude of serving the people. Politics is part of everybody’s life. I am not leader material, but that does not stop me from serving the people and the community.
RANG DE BASANTI: inculcating patriotism
I am surprised that people still remember my role in Rang De Basanti, because there were seven other prominent characters in it. Mine was just a nine-minute role. I didn’t expect it to fetch me this kind of recognition. It is the first film, which inculcated a nationalistic feel among the youth. It created an awakening impact on society.
EVANO ORUVAN: Middle-class people still believe goodness exist
With much restraint and responsibility, despite the fact that everything is in limbo, the TN police is maintaining law and order, the judiciary is functioning well — and despite so much of political turmoil — we are still a functional state. Most of the middle-class south Indian families still believe that goodness exists. There’s a Sridhar Vasudevan, the character I played in Evano… in every family.
TANU WEDS MANU: addressing the romantic in him
If you ask me how romantic I am in real life, you should ask the people on whom I shower my love. I think I’m a very affectionate person and I don’t like to hurt anyone. My wife is also like that. We have middle class values even at home. My approach to romance is also middle-class! I fell in love with my Mathematics teacher when I was in the fourth grade. She had beautiful, long hair and a very pretty face. That was my first realisation of romance and I am just harbouring that well-lit flame.
IRUDHI SUTTRU: Discipline and determination
I think anybody, who is remotely successful, has a large amount of discipline and dedication in their life. They only help you surpass the tough times. If you read any holy book, there’s an example of how to face hardships, not the good times.
Traffic has increased tremendously. It has been managed effectively in such a way that it has not become a catastrophe like in other cities. The roads are good and the metro rail has started functioning. But the level of tolerance has reduced and showing displeasure has increased.
ROLE OF MEDIA TODAY:
It’s a tragedy that news and information make the world go round in a manner that it shouldn’t. Today, everybody has become the media — typing a few letters on Twitter or Facebook, starting their own websites and thriving on the idea of becoming the first one to break news. It is totally irresponsible. People also get confused about what to believe!