I spent the last weekend going through various shows and movies (still not over Spider-Man) and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. And one of the shows I watched over the weekend was Netflix’s latest comedy-drama, Decoupled, starring R. Madhavan and Surveen Chawla.
Though I am yet to complete the series, what immediately struck me about the show was Madhavan’s inimitable charm despite playing a character who isn’t particularly charming.
Madhavan’s character in the series, a misanthrope, is a far cry from the characters that we see most Bollywood actors his age play.
While most actors Madhavan’s age are busy romancing women half their age on-screen and doing stunts that I don’t see many men, or women, of any age, perform, Madhavan, as Arya Iyer, spent time griping about the world, contemplating his past, and failing at flirting.
Yes, his co-star is over a decade younger than him, but in the world of Bollywood, that’s just how casting work.
Additionally, from his physique to his clothes to his mannerisms – he appears real and relatable, even though he spends most of his timing hating on society. In other words, he looked extremely comfortable playing a man his age, with his own set of characteristics, rather than a photoshopped version of the ‘ideal, forever young man’. And that is the kind of realism we crave to see on our screens.
Of course, imbuing a sense of realism in his characters has been Madhavan’s expertise ever time he has appeared on camera – whether it was as a romantic hero (who, in hindsight, was extremely problematic) in RHTDM, a conflicted student in 3 Idiots, a seasoned fighter pilot in Rang De Basanti, or, a divorced misanthrope, discovering a way back into love, in his latest, Decoupled.
Essentially, Madhavan has revamped the idea of aging like fine wine, appearing as a refreshing change from the streak of men who looked like carbon copies of each other. And much as my teenage self fell for his charm (that, in hindsight was a red flag) in RHTDM, my adult self has fallen for his charm, crankiness and all, in Decoupled.
All images from Netflix, unless specified otherwise.