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Maddy speaks Malayalam

SREEDHAR PILLAI

Madhavan makes his debut in Malayalam with a fine performance in `Made in USA.'


Today, worldwide, the audience profile is changing as they want interesting, entertaining and relevant films. Madhavan



Teenagers' heart-throb: Madhavan experiments with new roles and images. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Madhavan whipped up a huge cinematic storm with his debut film `Alaipayuthe' directed by Mani Ratnam about five years back. Overnight this small-screen, hero from Jamshedpur, a Tamil Brahmin boy, became the favourite hero of teenage audience down south who called him Maddy!

In Kerala his films like `Alaipayuthe' and `Run' created a romantic image for the actor. Recently, Maddy completed his first Malayalam film `Made in USA,' which is a bilingual in English, directed by Rajeev Anchal.

Says Madhavan: "Malayalam cinema has produced some of the best films in India over the years. It was a great honour for me to do this bilingual as it is a realistic film made within the commercial format. In mainstream Hindi and Tamil, such films are in vogue today and they have all done good business."

NRI in Las Vegas

In `Made in USA,' Maddy plays Robby a happy-go-lucky young man living in Las Vegas, who helps all fellow Malayalis in trouble. He helps illegal immigrants from Kerala to be one step ahead of the law. However, Robby's main problem is his suicide syndrome owing to which he is being treated by a psychiatrist Dr. Mathew (Sreenivasan) at a city hospital. Two women come into Robby's life - one is a Malayali nurse (Kaveri) who reminds him of his childhood sweetheart and the countryside that he grew up in Kerala. The other girl is a U.S.-born Malayali (Neha) who too has suicidal tendencies. All this leads to further complications as Robby is determined to commit suicide. The twist in the story is when his doctor takes a new bold step for his treatment that leads to a stunning climax.

"It is a good film, especially the twist in the climax. I do not want to reveal anything more about the story. But it was a great experience to work with Rajeev and his team," says Madhavan. He points out that top actors like Aamir Khan constantly experiment with their appearance and body language in off-beat and realistic films.

One of Madhavan's role models is Kamal Haasan and it was Kamal who urged him to do different types of roles. He says that it was after working with Kamal in `Anbe Sivam,' which won critical acclaim, that he got the courage to do similar films. Madhavan rates his role as a writer in Mani Ratnam's `Kannathil Muthamittal' as one of his best performances.

Says Rajeev Anchal, director of `Made in USA': "The story is about three people who accidentally meet and the problems they face in their personal lives. Madhavan puts in an excellent performance as Robby. His romantic interludes, his restraint in the hospital scenes and his poignant performance in the climax are the highlights of the film."

Rajeev feels that without Madhavan, the story of `Made in USA' could not have been told. Rajeev has used an innovative way of showing the childhood of Kaveri by using an old clipping of the actress that was shot when she was eight.

Authentic flashback

Says Rajeev: "I had shot this film `Ammanakili' when Kaveri was a child, which unfortunately never got released, and now it helped me show an authentic flashback of the actress."

Madhavan seems to be moving closer to mainstream films that are rooted in reality as he concludes: "I know that films have to have a commercial angle but the definition of mainstream entertainment is changing with films like `Made in USA.' Today, worldwide, the audience profile is changing as they want interesting, entertaining and relevant films."

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