R. Madhavan, who began his acting career on the small screen and went on to make his name in both the southern and Hindi film industry, says a combination of talent, hard work and perseverance is needed to cement one's space in cinema anywhere in the world.
Asked about his take on whether actors from southern India face any problem being accepted in Bollywood, Madhavan told IANS over phone: "I don't think that's the case."
"If you're talented and hardworking, you will get what you deserve, eventually. It also depends on what actors want to do and what makes them happy. There are actors who are sticking to one genre and are happy. There are also people who are doing multiple genres, and they are happy too.
"Having said that, you need to have a combination of talent, hard work and perseverance to make a name in any cinema you enter."
Known for films like "Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein", "3 Idiots", "Rang De Basanti", "Tanu Weds Manu" and its sequel "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" and "Saala Khadoos", the actor will be soon seen hosting National Geographic's new series "Mega Icons", premiering on September 24.
Each episode would be a journey into the life of an iconic personality, with help of not only intimate interviews with the icons and their families but also through research and analysis by experts.
Appealing to the common man's aspirations, the show delves on the life of celebrities from different walks of life. The list includes cricketer Virat Kohli, politician and actor Kamal Haasan, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, spiritual leader and Nobel laureate Dalai Lama, and social activist and India's first women IPS officer Kiran Bedi.
Madhavan is excited.
"When we look at these personalities, we wonder whether they were born to be great, and their success defined from day one -- or if their journey through life, their experiences and hard work, really shaped them into the giants we revere.
"The show will not only discuss the journey of these icons but will also help to shape the actions of millions in the country who aspire to make it big," he said.
As Kamal Haasan is one of the personalities on the show, Madhavan said: "I've grown up watching his films. I've admired his acting and him as a person ever since I've got into the cinema. He is a powerhouse of knowledge, whose commitment to the cinema is unbeatable.
"I have learnt from him that you need to be your character when you enact in front of the camera. Whenever I meet him, I feel like the same 16-year-old boy, with utmost admiration for him."
Madhavan is also someone who is admired by fans all over. And his fan following increased when he came back fit and in form after a sabbatical due to a shoulder injury.
"I was confident of getting back on screen. I love what I do, and work keeps me going," he said.
He is confident that "Mega Icons" will inspire many lives.
"What is really interesting is that the show is bringing together some of the most inspiring personalities, selected carefully from varied walks of life; and I believe every story will reveal answers to many questions we have always wondered about geniuses," said the actor.
On the work front, Madhavan also did a web series "Breathe", which had received a positive response.
Any plans to do more web series?
"Yes, that is an interesting space and, of course, if there is an exciting script, I'd love to take it up," he said.
"The digital world is a great platform for young blood, who are full of talent and energy. With so much content being produced in a short span of time, it's a great platform for some newcomers to shine.
"Of course, there are experienced people as well working for the digital business, which also gives a chance for the newcomers to work and learn with them. I think we are already seeing some great talents who are doing great on the digital platform, and then they are also bagging roles in traditional cinema," added the actor.