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Madhavan’s Meditation On The Making Of Maara



Maddy, Maara does exactly what its heroine’s character does. Restoration. It restores  our faith in love.

This is exactly what we set out do. Thank God you got  the point. When we set out to  do a remake  of  the Malayalam hit Charlie we were very sure we wanted  to do  full justice to it. I’ve the highest respect for Dulquer Salman who stars in  the original and I hope he’s as happy with what we’ve done with Charlie as  we are.

I am sure he is. A remake only makes  sense if it takes the original ahead.That’s what Maara does.

 Exactly. A remake  can be done in a hurry just to cash in on the  popularity  of  the original. We certainly didn’t want to  do that. I only do a remake if  I can pay some kind of a homage to the original even  as I  give myself the creative liberty to take the story further. In Maara I’ve added a character and a track featuring the great Mouli Sir which was not there in the original. I am so glad  people have liked it. Four years ago when  we started this project’s journey we were not sure where we would go . We started Maara with the original team from Charlie.

 Why did they back out?

See, Dulquer Salman and the team that  did Charlie shared an amazing camaraderie. I just couldn’t get  the same vibes  with them. They were a family.They loved each other. I remained an outsider. For me to try and force myself into  that set-up meant I’d  be on trial in every shot. Also, Maaradidn’t work out with the original  producers. We decided  to go with an entirely new  team.We looked at several directors, even paid them an advance fee, before zeroing in  on  Dhilip Kumar  to direct.

I  hope they returned your money?

No  . It is enough for me  that they are happy with the film now that it’s released and  they admit that they couldn’t have done better.I knew  it didn’t matter who the director was. I had a vision of the way I wanted to remake Charlie. I wanted a  director who fitted the bill.Dhilip is just the guy.We re-structured  the original to  suit  my age.  Dulquer is at least 15 years my junior.

I know, There is  even a dialogue at the end  of Maara  about your age?

Exactly. Normally heroes in Tamil cinema leading men don’t joke  about their age. Maara is  not Charlie. He  is  very confident  of his age. In today’s  day and age love is fine at any age. As  you correctly said Maara is about the restoration of faith in love and humanism. Dhilip and I did a  lot of brainstorming over the story until we  came  up with a script we  both liked.For me it was a very exciting  process.The original  was  a cult hit.They left the end abstract. I am an actor who wants  a closure.  

Your character  Maara is a fairytale  hero  ?

 Charlie was  a spirit. Maara is a  human being ,  a  kind giving person. We are exceedingly into a shit  era, redeemed  only  by  good souls like Maara. There was an inherent goodness in our parents’ generation. That’s lost.  Our mothers loved to cook and feed  people. That’s gone,

Is Maara your best in years?

 It was  the toughest film  in my career. We shot in Ooty’s winter with elderly actors  . Luckily the shooting was  completed before the lockdown. I  didn’t want  it to be an unworthy  project. I wanted it to be an  honourable precursor  to my next film  Rocketry. To get  the best  out of my team I was sometimes  quite mean to them. In fact I cancelled a whole schedule when I felt we were not prepared enough.We lost  time and  money. We also had to replace  our original cameraman as he was  committed  to another project. 

So much stress behind the scenes?

 Audiences wouldn’t  forgive us for  a  mediocre project just because the  director was new.If my director Dhilip had slipped up  his career  would have been over even before  it started. Now his career is  off with a bang. 

Are  you satisfied with Maara?

Yes,  I am. But at the same time I could do much better. I always  have  problems with my work. Even now  when I got to the sets  I am shitting bricks. I never felt  as nervous doing Alaipayuthe  or  Rang De Basanti  as  I did during Maara. It’s been  a  charming 20 years’ career so far. And that’s 20 years  of our friendship also. You are a part of my journey. For me  forming long lasting relationships are important.I find that  missing in  today’s generation . 

A  fulfilling  journey so far?

I remember  reading an interview with Rishi Kapoor Sir where he  said he had completed 20 years as a leading man and he was  working with heroines  10-15 years  his junior. I remember  my awe on reading this. Today I’m exactly there where Rishi sir was.

So are you awed by your career?

Are  you mad? My wife will throw me out of the house if I become  my fan.

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