'For 'Guru' I had to look like a lean and on-the-prowl journalist because that's what I was playing. But for my Tamil film 'Thambi' just before 'Guru' I had to put on a beefy action hero's girth. And after going luminously lean in 'Guru' I got even leaner for my harassed middleclass commuter's role in the Tamil version of Nishikant Kamath's 'Dombivali Fast' (titled 'Yenalu Oruvan').
'Now I have the more hefty look in 'Aarya' because I play a small town medical college student.'
Audiences in Tamil Nadu no longer want to see Madhavan in soft romantic offbeat roles.
'You're right. They're done with seeing me do 'Kannathil Muttamital' and 'Guru' where I played a gentle husband and an upright reporter, respectively. They want me back in action. And I have to oblige them. Without trying, I became a Tamil star although I'm from Bihar. The Tamil audiences want to see me in films that appeal to the full family audience. I now have to balance marginal movies with full-on masala stuff,'
'Aarya' producer Vijay Anand disappeared for eight months, making it one of Madhavan's most delayed projects.
'We shot the film over a period of one-and-a-half years. 'Aarya' is my most delayed film to date. But it doesn't look dated. It a shamelessly hardcore masala film. And it has been sold at the highest price ever for one of my films.'
His antagonist in the film is the versatile Prakash Raj, who has lately been inked in by Raj Kumar Santoshi to play Ravan in 'Ramayan'.
'But there's a difference between the hero-villain conflicts in this film and the other films. The villain Prakash Raj can't touch me because his sister is in love with me. 'Aarya' is an action film without punches being thrown in the first half. I and my co-stars did the scenes with our fingers crossed. The dramatic conflict in 'Aarya' isn't packaged in the usual way.'
Madhavan will now divide his time between satisfying his audiences with potboilers like 'Aarya' and more sensitive films like Nishikant Kamath's 'Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan' in Hindi. 'In 'Yeh Hai Mumbai...', I share space with actors like Irrfan Khan and Kay Kay,' said Madhavan.