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Can Maddy break the jinx?

Can Maddy make an easy transition to Bollywood, asks Saibal Chatterjee.

entertainment Updated: Sep 06, 2005 17:52 IST
Saibal Chatterjee | Wide Angle
Saibal Chatterjee | Wide Angle

Male movie stars from the south of the Vindhyas have rarely enjoyed a smooth ride in Bollywood. Even actors of the calibre of Kamal Hasan and Rajnikanth, despite delivering such super-duper hits as Ek Duje Ke Liye and Andha Kanoon respectively, have never been more than fringe players in the Mumbai film industry.

The likes of Nagarjuna and Chiranjeevi, too, found the going rather tough after managing to secure promising openings in Mumbai showbiz. Will R. Madhavan, whose latest Hindi film, Ramji Londonwaley, has just hit the screens, be able to break the jinx?

The film, directed by first-timer Sanjay Dayma, is Madhavan's personal labour of love, a breezy remake of a Tamil comedy that did roaring business a couple of years back, Nala Damayanthi.

In the original version, the star had played a Palghat cook who ends up clueless in Australia. In Ramji Londonwaley, in deference to all-India predilections, Madhavan assumes the garb of a Bihari chef who heads for a new mishap-filled life in the UK.

Ramji Londonwaley has opened quite strong in the multiplexes and Madhavan, true to form, has made an impression with his competent performance. He is after all an exceptionally talented actor blessed with a malleable face and a sturdy screen presence.

Why, then, has Madhavan's Bollywood career progressed only in fits and starts?

Ramji Londonwaley is his first major Hindi-language release in three years, 2002's Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar being the last. And, equally significantly, it is only the second time in his career that Madhavan has had the opportunity to reprise a role that he played in a Tamil hit.

The last time he did that, in Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein, adapted from the Tamil blockbuster, Minnale, the outcome wasn't particularly encouraging. RHTDM, Madhavan's Hindi debut, was a box office disaster.

First Published: Sep 06, 2005 23:00 IST