R Madhavan is one of the more understated actors we have today. He's made us cry and laugh, sometimes at the same time through his roles. It's the actor's birthday today, and as he turns 50, fans remember some of his best work.

Here's a look at the unforgettable characters he's given us. Everybody might have their favourites, no doubt, he's given us plenty to enjoy, but still, there are some roles that are universal. 


5 unforgettable characters Madhavan played with finesse

Madhavan is one of the most successful crossover artists, moving seamlessly between Hindi and south cinema. Many actors have tried moving between the two industries but manage to make a solid footing in one. For Madhavan the limit is endless, language isn't a barrier for him neither is culture.

Today he turns 50, and he's given us roles we've absolutely enjoyed. He can play chocolate boy characters better than most actors claim to, he can pull off angry men roles, serious when he needs to be emotional at others. Is there something he can't do, is the real question here. 

Here are just 5 of the many hats he's donned across Bollywood and Tamil cinema, but these 5 are the ones you just can't shake:

#1 Karthik in Alaipayuthey (2000)

Ajith, Madhavan's mutual liking revealed
20 years of Alaipayuthey.PR Handout

Alaipayuthey was a film that explored modern love, class divide and love against all odds. It even got its remake as Saathiya in Hindi. However, it was Madhavan's Karthik that stays with you much after the film, playing the relatable rich boy with a heart whose willing to give it all up for love.

#2 Madhav in Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein (2001)

Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein

Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein received a cult following among the youth. Why should there be any doubt here why? There's something that tells one that Madhavan was always able to select roles that are often relatable, something anybody can be if they look inward. We love rivalries, the faceoff between Madhavan and Saif Ali Khan is glorious. 

#3 Anbarasu in Anbe Sivam (2002)

Anbe Sivam

You want a masterclass watch Anbe Sivam, the riff-off between Kamal Haasan and Madhavan is brilliance at play. Madhavan's Anbarasu is full of wit and charm. No wonder the film won accolades and approval across the board. 

#4 Farhan in 3 Idiots (2009)

Aamir Khan
3 IdiotsFacebook/3 Idiots Movie

There's a Farhan Qureshi in everybody. We'll wait as you try to find a more likeable and agreeable character across generations. No doubt all 3 idiots were relatable, but Farhan's struggle to follow his dream was one everybody felt, all thanks to Madhavan not playing him with any gimmicks.

#5 Manu in Tanu Weds Manu (2011)

tanu weds manu

Your heart goes out to Manu in Tanu Weds Manu, caught in the madness of the storm that is Tanu. Madhavan's Manu was a character you just couldn't hate even if he is hesitant.  

Of course, there are more roles Madhavan has played and everybody has their favourites, but these really made us question a trope, what's in a 'hero' anyway?