1. What are your views on autographs?
R Madhavan: 'Autographs, are, I feel, the best kind of memoir that you have of a wonderful time one may have spent interacting with someone we admire, love or respect. There is such a nice feeling to go up to someone in the public life and eye. I have also tried to collect autographs in my growing up years in what we referred to at that time as a 'slambook'. Even now it is a nice feeling to go through its chequered pages every once in a year or so."
2. What are your favourite memories of giving autographs?
RM: "Ah well, there are so many! But I remember once when I was in Singapore, and not that much of a celebrity barring a few TV series and a couple of films. I had entered a local restaurant and barely sat down for the meal with my wife but a little girl - she was 8 years old at that time. She literally jumped up from her meal screaming 'Karthik! Karthik!!'. Turned out she was a huge fan of my character in Alaipayuthey. She not only asked for my autograph, but wanted all of us - including my wife to have meal with her. Obviously, that was one of the most fun interactions I have had!
3. You mentioned you also collect autographs…What about your experiences while asking for autographs?
RM: "I USED to collect autographs as a child. Well, sometimes I still do. I have asked Mr Bachchan for his autograph and he was really kind. Yes, I have mentioned this several times before but I had a bad experience as a child. At that time, the idea of getting an autograph was even more exciting. I went up to a famous cricketer, though it won’t be polite to name him. I think he was already quite tired of signing many autographs by then. So when I extended my notebook and pen, he mechanically just scribbled his autograph without even looking at me. The child in me somehow did not like it. I almost idolized that person, but something inside me changed a bit.
In fact, this is the lesson I learnt from that experience - always make a personal connection with somebody asking for your autograph. I always make it a point to ask for the person's name, a warm hug or handshake and look at them when I sign autographs. I always try and make every autograph I sign sincere."
4. Do you think autographs are better than selfies?
RM: "Well they both are different categories. Selfies can sometimes be obtrusive in someone's personal space. They may not be so well dressed, or in a good mood - and that reflects in the picture. Autographs can help you avoid that. Autographs are like watching old vintage films and selfies are like Instagram reel videos!"
5. What kind of fan mail do you get? Are you able to interact with fans over mail?
RM: "Oh yes! I am blessed that I get a lot of handwritten notes, emails, direct messages and so on. That ways, social media has got me closer to the people that like me. It is nice to take out time. Sometimes they just say a hello, sometimes the chats are longer. I have made a lot of friends among my fans in this way."
6. Is social media and the access fans have to celebrities going to threaten autograph aficionados?
RM: "Well for those that pursue autograph collection as a hobby, no way! And I love the fact that it is a hobby that helps inculcate a lot of character strengths like patience, gratitude and politeness."
7. Whose autograph would you like to take, given the chance?
RM: I could make a huge list! My father used to work with Tata Steel, so one of the most iconic and inspiring people for me has always been JRD Tata. I so wish I could go back in time and interact with him or request him for an autograph.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr Aarti Kapur Singh is an independent
writer with close to two decades' experience in various media. After securing a
doctorate in film studies, she is now indulging in her passion to discover the
world. She writes on food, luxury, films, travel, wellness and celebrities.
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