R Madhavan, who has proved his versatility in both Hindi and Tamil cinema, is celebrating his 51st birthday on June 1. The actor started his acting journey with Mani Ratnam’s Tamil romantic drama Alaipayuthey in 2000. He initially developed an image of a romantic hero, but gradually portrayed a variety of roles across genres. He has also given some remarkable performances in Hindi movies like Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, Rang De Basanti, Delhii Heights, 3 Idiots, Tanu Weds Manu and Saala Khadoos among others.
On his birthday, let’s take a look at his five best performances:
Vikram Vedha is a 2017 Tamil neo-noir action thriller film set around inspector Vikram (Madhavan) and his hunt for gangster Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi). Despite sharing screen with the legend Sethupathi, Madhavan managed to portray the subtleties of a modern day cop quite beautifully. The film received critical acclaim for both the lead actors’ performances.
Irudhi Suttru, the comeback film of Madhavan in Tamil cinema, was wholeheartedly received by the fans. Directed by Sudha Kongara, the 2016 sports drama explored the story of former boxing coach Prabhu (Madhavan) who finds a potential boxer in a fisherwoman Madhu (Ritika Singh). Madhavan effortlessly breathed life into a grumpy coach who later finds passion to train Madhu for the World Boxing Championship. The film was simultaneously released in Hindi as Saala Khadoos.
Alaipayuthey, the debut film for Madhavan, saw the actor’s breakout performance. The romantic drama released in 2000 explores the marital tensions of a newly wedded couple. After eloping, they realised that love is not all that rosey. The Mani Ratnam directorial was also premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001. The film made Madhavan an overnight star and gave him the tag of ‘Chocolate Boy’ as he went on to do several romantic films after this. Alaipayuthey was later remade in Hindi as ‘Saathiya’ starring Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee in lead roles.
Madhavan said goodbye to his ‘chocolate boy’ image with Tamil political thriller Ayutha Ezhuthu in 2004. He essayed the role of a goon in this Mani Ratnam film which saw its three main leads’ lives intertwining at one point of time. The music by AR Rahman is still remembered by the fans. This film was also remade in Hindi as Yuva which was also helmed by Ratnam. However, many drew comparisons between Aayatha Ezhuthu and Mexican film Amores Perros, saying the former’s narrative style was similar to the 2000 crime thriller.
One of the most memorable performances of Madhavan’s career came just two years after his debut. The 2002 musical war drama narrates the story of an adopted girl Amudha who asks her foster parents, played by Simran and Madhavan, to meet her biological mother in Sri Lanka. Set in the times of Sri Lankan civil war, the film brilliantly showcases the vulnerability of its characters. The film won a record six National Awards with AR Rahman bringing home the Best Music Director award for the second consecutive time after winning for Lagaan the year before.