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One out of three
R. Madhavan at Hyatt Regency on Tuesday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

He may not believe in numerology but R. MadhavAn sure has a teen ka totka. After 3 Idiots, it’s Teen Patti for Maddy. During his day trip to Calcutta on Tuesday, the south superstar spoke to t2...

Has the success of 3 Idiots changed anything about your commercial viability in Bollywood?

It’s not an experience I am new to. The fact that it is a historical hit, the fact that it has broken all records... we are happy that it did. But I don’t think it affects anybody apart from Aamir.

Why do you say that?

Simply because Aamir always has a standard to set, a goal to achieve. He is breaking his own records... so that makes him that much more happy. I am very proud of the fact that I am part of the film but I can’t take credit for it. I love the fact that Farhan Qureshi is an example parents are quoting to their children and children are quoting to their parents. But nothing in my life has dramatically changed. I have seen hits before. I feel exactly the same amount of ecstasy every time, no matter how big my hits are.

Sharman Joshi said that the success of 3 Idiots would help his next release Toh Baat Pakki!. Do you think it will help your next release Teen Patti?

Not really. Sharman is right because in that film, he is the solo lead. In Teen Patti I am not playing the main lead. Mr Amitabh Bachchan is playing the lead in this film and it also has a huge attraction in the presence of Sir Ben Kingsley. I am sure that the popularity of 3 Idiots will increase the interest level of Teen Patti. But I don’t think one film can help another film in becoming a hit.

So why did R. Madhavan say ‘yes’ to Teen Patti if he is not playing one of the leads?

Primarily because it gave me an opportunity to do a full-fledged film with a legend like Mr Bachchan. I am always looking for excuses to get into the archives! Also the fact that I got to share screen space, albeit very briefly, with Sir Ben Kingsley. And the opportunity to work with (director) Leena (Yadav) and (producer) Ambika (Hinduja). It was a first time for me, working with a woman director and a woman producer. There was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the project. And I always look at a film as a six-month experience of my life and it has to be something I enjoy. I certainly enjoyed doing Teen Patti.

How was that brief Sir Ben experience?

I think I was gaping like a teenager. I was just overawed by his presence. He was such a normal human being. He has outclassed all the other stars I have met in terms of how down to earth he is. He would have lunch with everyone, including the young boys who are debuting in the film. Wish I could have that sort of simplicity.

Teen Patti is your first grey character in Bollywood. Are you concerned about how you would be accepted in this new avatar?

I am actually playing a grey shade guy. It’s part of the character. Yes, I have always played these goody goody roles. So it was exciting, a nice little challenge. Hope I have been able to pull it off. The audience accepts a good movie. Whether it’s Saif in Omkara or Shah Rukh Khan in Darr, if it’s a great film, it will run. They wouldn’t reject it because their hero is playing a negative guy.

Have you seen 21? Isn’t it too similar to Teen Patti?

Of course I have seen 21. Except for the fact that it is about a card-counting game and people are after money, I don’t think there’s any similarity.

How good are you at card games? Do you have the gambler’s luck?

I am only good at credit card games (laughs)! I have visited a lot of casinos and paid my dues but I have never come out winning anything. I am really bad. Half of Las Vegas’s electricity is paid by my money... no, actually not! I only play on the slot machines. It makes a lot of sound when you win something... makes you feel that you are going home a winner! But basically, it’s swallowed a lot more than it’s given you.

Any idea what’s happening with your Tolly debut, Rituparno Ghosh’s Sunglass?

Yup, I think it’s nicely gathering fungus inside the cans. I don’t know, man! I wish they would release it. But by now the prime time to release the movie is gone... it’s just a technicality now. I haven’t even seen it. Unfortunate! Sometimes your intentions of doing a good film is not enough.

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