Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mani-Madhavan team up again

Mani Ratnam has finally roped in blue eyed boy R. Madhavan for a parallel lead in his Hindi film "Guru", starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in key roles.

It's been one helluva musical chairs for Ratnam. After casting Abhishek in the title role in "Guru", there was a flurry of names considered and discarded for the other male lead - Saif Ali Khan, John Abraham, Viveik Oberoi and Madhavan to name a few.

Madhavan had, in fact, been a hotly speculated name since he's been a favourite of Ratnam from the time the actor did his first Tamil film "Alai Payuthe" with him.

"I'd happily do the part if Mani sir offered it to me," Madhavan had said when rumours of his inclusion in "Guru" first did the rounds.

Ratnam has ultimately gone to his old favourite Madhavan to play the desperately vacant parallel part. Actress Vidya Balan can sigh in relief because she finally has a leading man in the film.

Though Madhavan isn't allowed to talk about it, the deal was signed just before he sneaked off to London to lose weight since the role requires the actor to match strides and personality with the sprightly Abhishek.

Says a source close to both Mani and Madhavan: "Maddy (Madhavan) was over the moon when Mani sir finally asked him to do the role. In fact, Maddy was wondering why Mani sir was hunting around when 'ghar ka' hero was in front of him.

"Don't forget they have done neo-classics like "Alai Payuthe", "Kannathil Muthamittal" and the Tamil version of "Yuva" where Maddy played Abhishek's character. The two are almost like family. So it's no surprise if Maddy bailed Mani sir out."

Apparently the director gave his favourite hero a distress call. "Maddy didn't even want to hear the role. He immediately said yes," added the source.

A further incentive for doing the film is Abhishek - Madhavan and Abhishek are genuinely fond of each other. If Maddy played Abhishek's role in "Yuva", Abhishek was the original choice for the lead in "Saathiya" the Hindi remake of Mani Rathnam's "Alai Payuthe".

Incidentally, Sanjay Gupta has roped in Madhavan for another Hindi film.


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