Raj Kumar Hirani, Madhavan confident about Saala Khadoos
Madhavan went to the US to extensively prepare his body for this role. He also learned boxing from the experts. In spite of being a vegetarian, he built 18-and-a-half inch biceps.
Three years back, Raj Kumar Hirani was surprised to receive a call from R Madhavan at 11.30 in the night. "I remember when I said yes to Saala Khadoos. The way Maddy (Madhavan) came and narrated this script to me was very funny; he called me at 11.30 at night and said, 'I want to come and see you'. I said, 'Come.' I actually got a little worried, since he called me that late. He gets to my office around 12 at night and said, 'I want you to hear a story', and I was laughing from within thinking that he could have come the next day. But with the amount of passion that he narrated this story to me, I just loved it instinctively and came on board." The sports film based on boxing starring R. Madhavan releases in the UAE today.
Boxer Ritika Singh makes her debut with Saala Khadoos. This film revolves around a sports coach (Madhavan) and a young boxer (Ritika) and how the coach encourages her to achieve her boxing dreams.
Director Sudha Kongara is helming the project. She was an assistant to Mani Ratnam for many years. Is there any difference in the way a female director approaches film making? "Sudha is the real 'Saala Khadoos', everyone on the set used to call her that. She is a real tough task master. We will soon put out a video where you will see how she is a fighter. I was surprised as to why a woman would want to make a film on boxing. But she is very passionate about boxing and has studied many boxers' lives. The film is actually inspired by many true incidents. I did this film primarily for Sudha and Maddy. It's rare to find a project where so much passion is involved," said Raj Kumar Hirani.
18 and a half inch biceps
Madhavan went to the US to extensively prepare his body for this role. He also learned boxing from the experts. In spite of being a vegetarian, he built 18 and a half inch biceps. He told us that he worked extremely hard to build his body to look like a boxer but Tanu Weds Manu Returns director Anand Rai wanted him to lose all the weight and look like a regular man. "I lost all the weight and muscles for Tanu Weds Manu Returns. It was tough to lose all those muscles," Madhavan said. He started shooting for Tanu Weds Manu Returns after finishing Saala Khadoos.
Hirani opens up for Maddy
Raj Kumar Hirani is considered one of the best directors of Indian cinema. He is known for making clean family entertainers like Munna Bhai MBBS, 3 Idiots, PK and Lage Raho Munnabhai. He is super charged about producing this film. "When you make a bigger film, you don't really have to promote it. But with this film I am trying every possible thing to make this film visible to people, so more and more people come and see it. I love the story of this film. In fact, I did the most amazing thing that day when Maddy came to me and said, 'It is Pongal and I want to take you out for breakfast.' So I said, 'let's go' but he said; 'no, you will have to wear a lungi and go.' So any possible thing that I can do to get more attention towards this film, I will do."
Don't compare it with Chak De India
A lot of comparisons are being made on how the trailer of this film reminds one of Shah Rukh Khan's Chak De India which was about a women's hockey team. Hirani replied calmly that everytime a sports film gets made there will be a comparison: "I am glad more are being made. Mary Kom, Chak De India happened, and now Sultan, Dangal are happening. In fact, while I was making PK, Oh My God happened. I don't know how these things happen - suddenly people see some great stories and they happen."
Whereas Madhavan feels that the theme is similar but the story is completely different. "This film is not similar to Mary Kom or Chak De India. It is sad because Million Dollar Baby released after Chak De India and no one said that Hollywood copied us. Our director has spent years on researching the lives of boxers and meeting them personally. I have spent three years of my life with this film. This is our story. There is a coach in this film, and that's the only similarity with Chak De India. There is no other similarity. It's also a different sport."
Saala Khadoos was shot simultaneously both in Tamil and Hindi. The Tamil version will be releasing as Irudhi Suttru.