Rajeev Ravindranathan is the senior in 3 Idiots whose ragging experiment backfires when he gets electrocuted. How did the Bengaluru-based ex-creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi land the role in the movie that has proved to be a rage in more ways than one?
Ravindranathan almost didn't make it into the film. When he auditioned "they were looking for a fresh face for the role of Chatur (the bookworm). Later, there was a possibility that I might be cast as one of the other two idiots. But from the financial perspective, it didn't seem to be a safe bet to have such a big banner film, with two unknown faces flanking Aamir Khan, so the idea was dropped, which meant that I lost out on both the roles," shares Ravindranathan.
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"I love the whole concept of a live audience that theatre offers. And whatever I do, I do it for the curtain call, the applause. For me, if people are paying money and committing their time - you jolly well entertain them." What about advertising then? Why did the entertainer choose advertising as a career?
"I love advertising for what it is. It is about helping consumers make a choice, creating a brand that the consumer resonates with. Hopefully, it would help bring some improvement to their life and help them make a better choice." Besides 3 Idiots, Ravindranathan has done roles in Freaky Chakra (2003), Bas Yun Hi (2003) and Phir Milenge (2004). He got his first break with Bas Yun Hi. "I was more of a starry-eyed fan on the sets. These were tiny roles - people wanted me to come and I would go," he says.
At the time of the economic slowdown during 1997-98, he was trying to make it to the advertising industry. He took up a job in HSBC to please his dad. "It was sheer horror! I realised that I was losing my spontaneity, madness and energy. That's when theatre happened. I got hooked."
His first play was based on Ayn Rand's Night of January 16. He is part of Black Coffee Productions, a theatre group in Bengaluru run by the theatre personality Pritam Koiltillai. Ravindranthan is quite proud about a play, Filth, in which he enacted 30 characters. He has set up his own creative shop along with V Balaji, both being ex-Saatchi's, the shop is named People. He has modelled for brands such as TVS Victor, Sprite and Prestige.