Everyone knows it’s difficult to carve out a place in Bollywood, especially when your first language is not Hindi. One of the few actors to have achieved this is R Madhavan, an actor from the South who became a Bollywood heartthrob. For audiences that thrived on Bollywood romances, Madhavan, or Maddy, seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Along with the charm he exuded with every role, Madhavan also displayed a knack for comedy. And anyone who loved a good rom-com fell for his boy-next-door appeal in the early 2000s.

Here are a few of R Madhavan’s films that established him as a romantic lead in Bollywood.

Rang De Basanti

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Madhavan played the role of an idealistic Air Force officer in this film. Even though he wasn’t the lead, his character left a significant impact that is felt years after Rang De Basanti was released. From his friendship with his fiance’s friends to his loving equation with his mother, Madhavan’s Ajay was the quintessential wise, good boy. This was also the character whose death sparks the series of events that made Rang De Basanti one of the most iconic films in Bollywood.

3 Idiots

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This film was a massive success when it was released and has since acquired cult status. The story of three students in an engineering college, 3 Idiots starred Aamir Khan, R Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi in the lead roles. Madhavan played Farhan, an aspiring engineer who wants to become a wildlife photographer against his father’s wishes. All three actors were lauded for their performances in 3 Idiots, but among the most appreciated aspects of the film was Madhavan’s subtle yet impactful humour.

Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein

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Along with its melodious music, RHTDM showed us, for the first time, Madhavan’s potential as a romantic hero in Bollywood. Madhavan plays Maddy, a carefree youngster who had his own posse of sidekicks and a background tune to announce his arrival on screen. Maddy’s way of life changes dramatically when he falls in love with Reena (Dia Mirza) and pretends to be someone else to make her fall for him too. While the character and the film had sexist undertones, the fact remains that it was Madhavan who carried RHTDM to success.

Tanu Weds Manu

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Madhavan plays the role of Manu here, a simple person who is willing to marry a girl of his parents’ choice and go back to his peaceful life as a doctor in London. However, during the arranged marriage meetings, he falls in love with Tanu, the one girl who plans to marry someone else. Apart from his equation with Kangana Ranaut, Madhavan’s Manu stood out for his chemistry with his best friend, Pappi, played by Deepak Dobriyal.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns

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This film is the sequel to Tanu Weds Manu and starts with Tanu and Manu at loggerheads with each other. When Tanu decides to leave him in a mental asylum in London, Manu returns to India and soon meets Kusum, a Delhi University student who looks exactly like his wife. In this largely unbelievable story of people marrying anyone at any time, Madhavan stood out for staying in character as Manu but evolving enough to take on a girl like Tanu.

Mumbai Meri Jaan

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Mumbai Meri Jaan deals with the stories of five individuals who were directly affected by the July 2006 train bombings in the city. This film was not easy to watch, but one could see that it had been cast well. Madhavan played the role of Nikhil Agrawal, a man who has to overcome his fear of trains after surviving the attack. The character, in its subtlety, made an impact among middle-class Indians who don’t have the option to give in to their fears, no matter what.

Which of R Madhavan’s films do you love the most?

Related: 10 Spectacular Tamil Movies That Go Beyond Flying Cars And Superhuman Strength

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