The Railway Men actors R Madhavan, Kay Kay Menon, Babil and director Shiv Rawail recently graced HT House in the Capital for a fun interaction with the winners of HT City’s Stars in the City contest. Amid much fanfare, witty responses and guessing games involving Gen-Z slang, the visitors chatted with Sonal Kalra, Chief Managing Editor (Entertainment and Lifestyle), Hindustan Times.
The session began with them talking about the four-part Netflix series that follows the incidents of the Bhopal gas sin 1984. “When you imagine a hero, you think of a cape, superpowers, grandeur. However, this story changed my perspective about heroism,” said Babil, adding, “Heroism is about the decisions you make in times of crisis, and I thought our generation should know about the heroes who emerged following the crisis.”
For their part, Menon and Madhavan admitted to having their own inhibitions about the execution of a sensitive and traumatic subject like this. However, Rawail’s conviction convinced them to say yes.
As the conversation took a lighter turn, Madhavan was asked if he had learnt to cope with the overwhelming female attention routinely coming his way. “You can never learn to do that. But my wife tells me now to behave myself, dye my hair and look nicer,” the actor quipped.
In response to a fan question about the most challenging role he’s played, Madhavan named scientist Nambi Narayan in Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, the 2022 film he also directed and recently won a National Film award for. “I wanted the emotional scene in the climax to be so good that people would not spot any difference between me and the character.”
In life, however, the actor called fatherhood his most challenging role. He joked, “I am not sure if I am happy about my son (Vedaant Madhavan, swimmer) becoming more popular than me. I can’t even compete with him because he is from a different field.”
With the conversation lingering over navigating difficult parts, Menon answered a fan question about coming out of such characters in his projects, calling himself “dispassionately passionate”. “It’s a switch, and as soon as the shoot is over, I come out of the zone,” he explained. “It does not mean I am not invested in it. I have to do it, otherwise I’ll end up in a mental asylum.”
With questions about Irrfan, the late actor and Babil’s father, the conversation took an emotional turn as Menon and Madhavan recalled working with him. “On the set of Banegi Apni Baat, my first project, I saw him asking about me. He said, ‘He is good’. Coincidentally, the first project Babil shot is with me. It’s surreal,” shared Madhavan.
Having worked with Irrfan in Life in a… Metro (2007) and Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008), Menon called his connection with the former “eternal”. “And now, it’s great to work with Babil. There is spark that is his own, and if he preserves that, he will go a long way,” he said.