Not too many people know this. But Madhavan who became a Tamil superstar before he migrated to Bollywood is actually from Bihar. So when he got to work with Bihari actress Neetu Chandra for the first time it was like two peas prattling in the same pod. And not just because they're both Biharis who've been to Bollywood via the South Indian film industry.
"We also bonded over basketball. That Neetu was my first Bihari co-star meant a lot. We caught up with our roots. It's so easy to forget where we come from because we're all busy looking at where we"re going. Then you come across a co-star who takes you back to the past. That helps you regain your sanity," says Madhavan who spent his childhood, growing years and early years Bihar.
"And Bihar isn't the only common factor between me and Neetu. We're both athletic and sporty. We both play basketball."
All off-camera time was spent between the two Bihari stars discussing and debating the finer points of basketball. And now they've promised to play a game on the field. "We're both tall and built for basketball. And I haven't come across any co-star so far apart from Neetu who's a basket ball fan. The game provided a great comfort zone."
A comfort zone was sorely needed over their film together because it involved plenty of eerie supernatural special effects. Says Madhavan, "We were shooting 13B as a bilingual in Hindi and Tamil. And Neetu and I were the only common actors to both the versions. All the other actors in the two versions were totally different. So you could imagine how tough it was for me to deliver the same emotions in two different languages in two concurrent shots with a completely new set of actors except Neetu who was there with me in both versions."
Madhavan was the only actor who had to deliver his own lines in both Hindi and Tamil versions of 13B. Neetu's voice is dubbed in Tamil. Says Maddy, "This has been the toughest film to make. It was like doing two different films in two languages on the same set. If Neetu wasn't common to both I'd have lost my bearings."