Make no mistake — R Madhavan is all set to impress Tamil audiences after a period of three years. And the film that he’s counting on is director Sudha Kongara’s Irudhi Suttru, which in Hindi is titled Sala Khadoos.
Maddy plays a boxing coach in the film and he says playing the role was not easy. “After director Sudha gave me the script, I went to the US to learn about boxing. I promised her that I would come back looking completely different,” he says.
Maddy interviewed a lot of boxing coaches there who didn’t have a fighter’s body. “When you finish boxing and you are not training everyday, your body gets a certain roundedness to it. That was the look I needed for the film and that look is far more difficult to achieve. In fact, while working to get that kind of frame, my biceps were so big that I couldn’t actually brush my teeth. However, despite the pain, it felt good to have a flat stomach and a broad chest,” he beams.
During the course of the conversation, Maddy apologises for the lisps that occur when he speaks. “Let me apologise for speaking strangely. It’s because I have put metal braces inside my teeth to ensure I get this lisp that boxers usually have,” he explains. “All boxers get hit on the jaw while boxing. So, naturally, they can’t speak properly. When I had to play the role, I had to get the lisp right too! I still have the braces on and therefore, can’t speak freely.”
If he is still wearing the braces, does it mean that there are still portions of the film that need to be completed? Pat comes the reply: “Absolutely not! Shooting is done and the film is scheduled to release on January 29. The reason I still have the braces is because it requires time to take them out. I have already been wearing them for one-and-a-half years. The metal braces have been clamped on to my teeth. It is quite painful but I had to dub with it.”
In Irudhi Suttru, will the spotlight be on the boxing coach or the boxer (played by Ritika Singh, a real boxing champ)? “After you see the film, you’ll realise the spotlight is only on the director. I assure you, this film will overwhelm you. When you see it, no matter what state you are in, you will be boxing. You will be sitting and telling her, ‘Hit, hit, hit!’,” he says.
Maddy actually witnessed this during screening of Sala Khadoos. “Thanks to Rajkumar Hirani, we have done 30 screenings before the first copy was made and each screening had 40-45 people. We took their opinions and we observed them while they were watching the film as well. Every one of them was punching when they saw the climax and they were sobbing when they came out. I am extremely happy with the way the film has come out.”