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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - R Madhavan is one of the finest actors in the Indian film industry today. He has proved his versatility time and again in Bollywood, South Indian film and television shows. The actor, who has a pan-India appeal is known for his performances in movies like 3 Idiots, Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, Tanu Weds Manu and Mani Ratnam's Tamil hit Alaipayuthey among scores of other films.
Lately, he has been earning a name in OTT shows. His role as a villain in Breathe 1 was much appreciated. The actor is now shooting for the Hindi crime thriller 7th Sense in Dubai and is all praise for how the emirate made it possible for the first Bollywood filming to take place during the pandemic.
"Dubai is a trendsetter for the world, so it was natural for the first Bollywood shooting (post Covid) to take place in this city. It's a phenomenal place," said Madhavan, fondly called Maddy by fans.
"Every time you hear of new things being launched in the city, from the tallest building to the Dubai Canal to one of the world's longest driverless metro network, and other iconic things. However, I admit I haven't been around the city because of Covid. All of us are being careful and taking extra precaution not to venture out too much."
7th Sense is a remake of the 1965 classic featuring a massive starcast including actors Vijay Raaz, Rohit Roy, Tanuj Virwani, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Sana Saeed and Elli AvrRam, among others. While shooting during the pandemic can be difficult due to Covid protocols, Maddy said that fear was the last thing on his mind when he was on the set. "It's tough (filming) with fewer people on set. Everybody has to be more responsible and follow strict social distancing guidelines. However, leaving fears aside, it was more of excitement and anticipation for all of us. I can't say how excited I am, as an actor, we are breaking ground by being able to shoot during the Covid era."
Shooting with masks
Shooting schedules are different when working in a web series as compared to full-length feature films. According to Maddy, getting into the character can pose a challenge due to Covid.
"There no problem with the schedules in OTT as we're used to working long hours. The difference now is getting into a character while shooting because of Covid. Earlier, when we would only have to worry about preparing for a shot (there were no Covid restrictions), it was easy to get into character and face the camera. But now, before we get into a shot we are wearing our mask and whenever I wear a mask, my real character comes out, I become Maddy and not the character I'm playing. So I have to remember to remove the mask and quickly switch into the character I am playing and face the camera and once done, I have to put the mask on. Now, instead of the director calling 'lights, camera, action', he calls 'mask off, mask on' (he laughs)!"
On Sushant Singh Rajput
There has been much mudslinging in Bollywood post the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and Maddy says he does not want to add to the noise that's been generated over the last three months.
"I am very saddened by the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput.He was a nice guy and very talented actor. There's been a lot of speculation and chaos (in Bollywood) after his death and I do not want to add to that. I think I'm being a patriot by not speaking about the topic. We are living in a country which has maintained democracy so well. It's the only country in the world where functional democracy is doing so well and there are very capable people running the country. I have complete faith in the system and that they will find a solution in Sushant's case."
OTT vs multiplex
According to Maddy OTT platforms will not cause a dent on multiplexes. "People will still go to cinema halls to get their fill of the big screen experience and movies will continue to be made. However, content will also be made for audiences who want to watch movies in the privacy of their homes. Such content will surely get opportunities like never before. But, plenty of films will be made around the world."
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