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Tête-à-tête with R. Madhavan on his fitness mantra

R. Madhavan is a vegetarian who trained hard and got a bodacious physique. BFH’s consulting editor Sourendra Das met Madhavan at The Park to chew the fat about his fitness mantra, Vedant and much enthralling acting career.

You’ve charmed us for over two decades; what has been your fitness mantra?

I give a lot of credit to my personal body trainer, Alexander Cortes, who helped me achieve this physique. I went to the United States for training since I wanted to put myself in a mental state of being prepared for a long journey, something I would not have been able to do while at home. I also took up boxing to kickstart my workout. Boxing is one of the most effective yet underrated exercises and can be more demanding than it looks. I realised how much strength, stamina and energy you need if you have to do boxing for even an hour. I wanted to do it in a befitting way; hence my focus was on having a stronger core, and the aesthetics came as a bonus too. That is my fitness mantra.

You are known to be a pure vegetarian; what do you usually eat on a regular day?

Yes, I am a pure vegetarian, and I didn’t make any radical changes to my regular diet, nor did I take any extra supplements during my body transformation. All I did was to ensure that I would not eat anything after 6pm and retire for the day by 10pm every single night. I also give at least a five-hour break between meals to allow my body to digest the food properly. However, I ensured that I did not overindulge in food like curd rice, a combination of soft cooked rice with unsweetened yoghurt. Another traditional dish that I love and eat in moderation is rice kanji too.

How is your relationship with Vedaant, and do you visit him often in Dubai?

I am very proud of my son for winning swimming championships worldwide. I never wanted him to be an actor and allowed him to follow his passion. Post covid-19, the larger swimming pools in Mumbai were either closed or out of bounds. Hence, I had to take Vedant to Dubai, where he had access to large pools. As a father, I have no regrets about Vedant choosing not to be an actor. His chosen vocation is far more important to me than my career. I will do what it takes to take him where he wants to go in life. I am an incredibly proud father due to my son’s glorious and remarkable achievements. I feel all parents in India should let their children fly freely and choose their passion.

You shifted to Mumbai some three decades back as a simple student of KC College, and now you have tasted stardom for over two decades; how has your acting journey been?

I studied at Mumbai university and created a modelling portfolio to earn some pocket money during my college days. That landed me working on a sandalwood talc advertisement directed by Santosh Sivan Sir, who later recommended me to Mani Ratnam Sir. I gained recognition in Tamil cinema through Mani Sir’s successful romance film Alaipayuthey. And 2009 was a milestone when 3 Idiots became the highest-gross Indian film of all time. I am glad to have received so much love from my fans and the critics, which landed me the best actor at the Filmfare, IIFA and SIIMA award ceremonies. Mumbai has taught me a lot, and chief among that is that sky is the limit. I advise today’s youth to chase their passion and choose happiness over everything. Success will follow you eventually in whatever you do the best.

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