A week ago, actor R Madhavan uploaded a selfie on Instagram. Bare shouldered, hair slightly wet and grinning at the camera. A few hours later, Indians all over the Internet were seeing the cute-faced actor from movies like 3 Idiots and Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, in a completely new light. He suddenly became the hot man of the moment, getting better with age at 48.

It's been a week since the selfie went viral, and the digital space is still full of women swooning. We chatted with the actor who is now feeling the heat. Excerpts from an interview.


R Madhavan. Pic/Manoj Jadhav

Did you ever think this selfie would break the Internet?
(Laughs) How can one ever know that? I called my wife one morning, and I was like 'love, I have lost weight'. And she disregarded it, saying, 'you always puff up, you haven't'. So, I took the selfie straight out of a shower and sent it. Then I made the mistake of uploading it…

How can you call it a mistake?
That's because I am under extreme pressure now. I don't look like that all the time. People are now meeting me at airports and expecting me to look like that all the time! It's got me feeling very conscious now.

Aren't you enjoying the adulation?
I am. The compliments are very flattering, especially from the age group of 30 and above. But, I don't know how to deal with comments from 15-year-olds. It makes me very uncomfortable.

Do you view social media in a different way now?
I always had respect for it, and I try and be responsible when I put up pictures. But this one picture also made me realise that the effects of anything put on social media are far reaching, and quick.

As you have grown older, have you taken better care of yourself?
I used to think I do, but I realised I don't. Usually, it was for a role — gain weight, lose weight. I don't do crazy stuff because that shows on your face in the form of wrinkles and tiredness. So I do everything very slowly, including weight loss. I just spend less time on eating and more time between eating. It keeps you younger.

What's your fitness routine?
I work out in the gym thrice a week, and I do yoga. I also play a lot of golf. That means I end up spending a lot of time in the sun and that keeps my skin tight.

Are we going to see more of you on Instagram now?
I am going to just get it over with and put an ugly picture next. So, that it can all return to normal.