Hitlist Web Awards | Neeraj Madhav: Went from being Malayalam actor to pan-India name

Updated: Feb 29, 2020, 07:27 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham | Mumbai

Neeraj Madhav aka Moosa, who has bagged Best Supporting Actor nomination in the upcoming mid-day and Radio City Hitlist Web Awards, discusses how The Family Man became a game-changer for him.

A still from The Family Man
A still from The Family Man

It speaks volumes about an actor if he can hold his own opposite Manoj Bajpayee. Almost anyone who has watched The Family Man will agree that Neeraj Madhav — aka Moosa, the unlikely antagonist to Bajpayee's intelligence officer — was the surprise package of the series. Madhav, who has bagged a Best Supporting Actor (Male) nomination in the upcoming mid-day and Radio City Hitlist Web Awards, reveals that he had his share of inhibitions about coming on board the Raj-DK creation.

"[So far] Bollywood hasn't been inclusive about the South. Its representation [of the community] too has been stereotyped. So, I did not expect my role to be substantial," begins the actor, grateful that the digital boom has defied the language barrier. "Now, OTT shows represent the whole country."

A still from The Family Man

After a spate of boy-next-door roles, he surprised his colleagues in the Malayalam film industry with his terrorist turn. "People were shocked with the shift in my character in the second half of the show. I still ask Raj and DK what made them think that I could pull this off." Madhav enthuses that working with the director duo was a revelation of sorts. "Certain directors expect you to follow [their instructions]. That can be restrictive for an actor. [In contrast], Raj and DK are open to suggestions."

The series has been a game-changer for him. "After it went on air, people were Googling my name. That is something I had never experienced," he gushes. He fully understood the magnitude of his success when Amitabh Bachchan recognised him. "I went to Bachchan sir for a photo. He said he's seen me somewhere, before remembering that I was in the show. I have been getting offers from Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi film [industries]. From being a Malayalam artiste, I've become a pan-India name."

Cast your vote for the Hitlist Web Awards

Neeraj Madhav has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor (Male) category for Amazon Prime Video's The Family Man.

The other nominees are:

. Rajesh Tailang (Selection Day S02; Netflix)
. Vinay Pathak (Made in Heaven; Amazon Prime)
. Sharib Hashmi (The Family Man; Amazon Prime)
. Pankaj Tripathi (Criminal Justice; Hotstar)
. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub (Rangbaaz Phir Se; Zee5)
. Gopal Dutt
(The Office; Hotstar)

The Family Man enjoys six nominations, including Best Series, Best Creator, Best Actor (Male), Best Supporting Actor (Male), Best Supporting Actor (Female) and Best Writing.

There are 14 categories that the public can vote in. Log on to www.hitlistwebawards.com to cast your vote.

You can also vote via SMS. Send HITLIST <space> category name <space> your choice (a/b/c/d as on the website) to 57575.

Voting lines close on March 8.

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