Gautham Menon to work with Asin

Director Gautham Menon who was supposed to work with Asin several years back for ‘Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikalam‘ (that never took off) is all set to work with the actress but not for a feature film.

Ghajini asin stills Gautham Menon to work with Asin

Buzz is that Gautham Menon who started off his journey as an ad filmmaker will work with the actress for a television commercial and that the shooting will take place in the backwaters of Kerala, one of Gautham Menon‘s favorite locales. He is currently on a location hunt in there.

Guzarish Ghajini asin stills Gautham Menon to work with Asin

Gautham Menon is currently working on bilingual Neethanae En Ponvasantham with Jeeva and Samantha. Meanwhile he also has Yohan Adhyayam Ondru with Vijay about which several rumors are doing the rounds that it’s shelved and Thupariyum Anand with Surya.

Yeto Vellipoindhi Manasu Working Stills 586x830 Gautham Menon to work with Asin

 

Gautham Menon 586x711 Gautham Menon to work with Asin

 

Gautham Menon Yeto Vellipoindhi Manasu Working Stills 586x362 Gautham Menon to work with Asin

 

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Comments

  1. SS Rak says

    Gautham Vasudev Menon: On being the man you want to be!!!

    In an orthodox old-fashioned film industry that thrives on star-worship, one man has the spine to call a spade a spade.

    Gautham Vasudev Menon has to be the gutsiest of our filmmakers. He’s also the rare professional who is man enough to take criticism with all sincerity.

    Yes, man is the word because Vaarnam Aayiram is all about the essence of being the man you look up to, being the man who can sweep the girl off her feet with his strength, poise and courage.

    It’s an emotional personal film straight from the heart for Gautham considering it was born out of his father’s death. “Three days after he passed away, I decided I must do this film,” he says.

    He had initially pitched the idea of a coming of age tale about a youngster on the verge of life and Suriya was like, “Yeah, but is that it?” Gautham however was confident of convincing him with the screenplay but he just couldn’t focus on writing with his father’s deteriorating health. “We knew we were losing him. I had made Suriya wait really long. So when I finished Pachaikili, I thought I’ll take off for a week just to write because the doctors said my father was going to be Okay. I couldn’t ask the producer if I could show only my Dad the film one week ahead of the release. So I asked if we could have the premiere for the cast and crew and friends. I showed him the film and I left that night to write. Three days later, he passed away.”

    “I experienced something when I came back for the funeral. I went through a lot of emotions and when I sat to write the film a week later, I thought I could put all that into the film as a tribute to my father.”

    Vaarnam Ayiram, he insists, is not an action film, it’s a coming-of-age drama where boy becomes man.

    “Because at every point, when you are young and discovering life and what it’s like… with the evil lurking around the corner or a love that hits you and at every point, I thought that the father could be the inspiration which is how it was for me in my life. I put it together with 75 per cent from my life and 25 per cent from everybody’s life.”

    There is no commercial thought that dictated the content, he says. “If you walk out of the film and if it reminds you of your Dad, then I think that’s the success of the film.”

    “This is a very meaningful film. It’s high time I made something like that. Pachaikili had a climax for the hero. For Kamal Sir, we gave him a 20 minute intro which wasn’t there in the first script… Everywhere, I was toeing the line. This time, I thought let me make a film that deserves what it needs and nothing more. So I was thankful for someone like Suriya who straightaway said Yes, I love it. This is perfect. I relate to the story.

    I am reminded of my Dad. At the Filmfare awards, I remember him calling me and saying: I hugged my Dad on stage after a long time after I worked on this project. I knew people would think it’s for show but I realised it was a great moment to hug him because at home, I’ve never hugged him. So it works for him, it works for me.”

    Any influences in making the film?

    “If you say it reminds you of Autograph, I would be happy because I love that film and I like Cheran as a filmmaker. I’ve grown up watching Raj Kapoor films because my Dad asked me to watch them. I like the way music wasn’t thrown in and takes the story forward. So those are influences but I’ve not copied any scene from any film. But just like Forrest Gump sits and talks about his past, this is also like that… when a set of memories are triggered off because of an incident and his whole life unfolds before him.”

    This is his most realistic film till date. Did he make Suriya starve for the six-pack?

    “Definitely not,” he laughs. “When I narrated the script, I said I also wanted to give a small message to youngsters that if at all you are going through a low phase in life, working out and pushing yourself to the limit might be a good way to overcome anything instead of smoking and drinking. So Suriya said he’ll do a six-pack. But when I saw what he was doing, I told him Don’t do it. There were times he wasn’t eating breakfast and skipping meals. He pushed himself.”

    He’s all praise for the actor. “Seriously, the things he does for the director and the film. I have worked with Kamal Sir, so I know what that man is capable of and I can say this… Suriya is there and nobody else is capable of performing like him.”

    Gautham also shares a special relationship with Harris Jayaraj. “When I take a project with him, I take it to him from scratch. When I took Pachaikili, he said Don’t do it. Your audience are expecting a big film. This time, we’ve done a Gaana. It’s a first for us. I got up and danced like how Suriya would dance (we hadn’t shot the song) and so I danced like for one minute. He laughed his guts out and then worked the groove out. He trusts me completely and I trust him. We’ve done 35 songs and not even once, have I said I don’t want the song after listening to it.”

    Being a successful filmmaker, he has to deal with escalating expectations and uncontrollable hype.
    “I don’t think I have a fan base but Pachaikili proved that people have certain expectations from me. That’s when I started thinking maybe you should be careful but then, that’s bad. Because you start writing for the audience and you can’t make a film you want to make. So somewhere you have to balance that.”

    Candour and controversy

    “My friends tell me don’t talk because the industry doesn’t understand. Maybe they have a point. Like, Vijay doesn’t talk to me now because of the Tamil magazine thing…

    I was misquoted. This journalist asked me why I work only with Suriya. So I said that’s not true, I narrated a story to Vijay. He loved it. He laughed as I was narrating it and he said: You know what Gautham, can you put stuff like what I do in the film? Have you seen my films, he asked and gave me a few DVDs for reference?

    I had seen those Perarasu’s films. So I immediately I said ‘Vijay, that wont work in the film I narrated because this was meant to be a refreshing love story’. There would’ve been a sensibility disconnect. So I told the journalist I was disappointed when I got home but he went on name Perarasu’s films and made it sound like I was degrading Perarasu’s films, which I was not. I tried to call Vijay to explain but he didn’t see the bigger picture. So sometimes, it is better to keep quiet.

    If I don’t like a film, I say it but that wasn’t even the case with the Vijay episode. Even when I said I didn’t like Bheema, it was not about Vikram, it wasn’t meant to be personal. I called Lingusamy to invite him for the audio launch party of Vaarnam and he said he was angry with me. I said it’s okay to be angry but please come. And he said: Okay, I’m coming with a gun. So, he came and we had a good time.”

  2. Ravikumar says

    The Gautham Menon Interview

    There’s a certain amount of honesty in the characters he creates. Be it Rajiv Samuel (Abbas) not forgiving his arch rival Rajesh Subramanium (Madhavan) for stealing his girl even towards the end, or the sublety of Reena Joseph’s (Reema Sen) reaction when she learns about her fiance-impersonator Rajesh in the refreshing love story ‘Minnale’ or the realism in romance between Anbuselvan (Suriya) and Maya (Jyotika) in gritty cop flick ‘Kaakha Kaakha,’ there is a streak of the real world and real people running through.

    It’s that stamp of candour in the frames that makes Gautham one of the most genuine storytellers around.

    Even outside the canvas of 35mm, Gautham retains that consistency in signature. He talks straight, speaks from the heart and is matter of fact about satisfaction and uncertainty, confidence and doubt, as he speaks about his latest release ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaayaadu’ with Kamal Haasan.

    It a sequel in spirit to ‘Kaakha Kaakha’?
    “I would like to treat it as another episode of a police officer’s life. Something as an extension of Kaakha Kaakha. But then, I thought the genre should be slightly different. As in, make it like a thriller and then shift to the ‘Kaakha Kaakha’ mould in the second half. That’s how it’s come out. Very involuntary also, i think … Like, Ram Gopal Varma makes a trilogy on gangster films. I thought I’ll make a trilogy of cop films. I’m not equating myself to Ram Gopal Varma here, I’m just inspired by the idea. So this would be my second film. After some years, depending on how it goes, maybe the third film.”

    The cop-versus-killer cat-and-mouse game, leads to the same problem as in ‘Kaakha Kaakha,’ when the cop’s personal life gets involved and affected in the course of the investigation. The classic serial killer mystery in the mould of ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Seven’ soon gives away to a full-fledged commercial action film as the cop and the mystery killer go tit-for-tat, says Gautham.

    Apparently, the script demanded a place outside India. “It could have been China but I thought New York would be nice. It would have been nicer if we had planned it out a little better. We had problems with the first producer because he ran into a financial crunch. All the planning we made were rendered null and void when climate changed. More money was spent. We had to stay on for another 10 days from what we had planned. So costs went up. But, any place you put your camera, you get a beautiful frame. It’s a beautiful place to shoot. It’s a very film friendly place because a lots of shoots happen there. Once you get permission from the Mayor office, then you can shoot anywhere. You have to tell them what scene you are doing. And there are cops around to help you. We did some good work there. Not extensive as much as I wanted to, because of the budget. Like, I wanted to shoot action sequences on the road and stuff. But it realise its difficult to shoot unless you plan it three months in advance. So I changed it around, changed it around, made it simpler for Kamal and the other actors… But it looks good, the film looks like an English film.”

    How difficult was it directing a director?

    “I was directing a super actor. But, actually No. Because… lots of stuff happened between me and him because of the production. He was pissed off with change in producer, the film was not taking off, his time was getting delayed all. He was very unhappy and hesitant initially. He was like “Bunch of kids, what they gonna make” and stuff like that. He kept to himself mostly. So I’ll give him the scene, he’ll take a look at it and he’ll act. He’ll make a couple of changes… Simple ones, like “Can I hook this line and this line?” He would tell me when you write, you tend to write a little more. “You can cut this line.” So I take stuff from him. He let me handle it. I can never say he bossed over. He totally understood what I wanted. I wanted a subtle performance from him, the character demanded that and he went for the right variations.”

    Did he manage to break ice with the legend subsequently?

    “Well, as much as ice could be broken, we broke. It can’t get beyond that ever, I think. When you write something on paper, and when you see somebody peforming that to the hilt… To the T… you realise it’s awesome. And, he gives you much more than that. Certain expressions of his, you can never write. He would do something different for every scene. But we kept him totally subtle throughout. His character demanded him to subtle, quiet and soft, which he understood. As much as co-operation there was, there was from him. No complaints at all. It was a beautiful experience working with him because I learnt a lot in terms a lot on how my writing should be. Like, how an actor’s expression should be written, which we don’t tend to do because we write in the classic screenplay format. Whatever I asked him to do, he did. I asked him to jump in the sea he did that. I asked him to run and shoot on the road, he did that. He was extremely co-operative.”

    Did Kamal have to use a double? “No stunt double. Not for Kamal. But there were no major stunts.”

    Since, he wrote the film for Kamal, there was no need to modify the script to suit him. “There are moments when he’s not there in the screen and the attention shifts to the villain and to the heroine. Apart from a song in the beginning, there’s nothing we had to incorporate for him.”

    Soon, he opens up to tell us more about Kamal’s character. “He’s a deputy commissioner of police. He’s 40-plus in the film, he knows what he wants. He’s instinctive, reacts according to his instincts. He’s a supercop. He walks in where he wants to. The story takes him to another country where he’s investigating a case. He’s not allowed officially. But he goes to check what happened to somebody he knew. And he unravels something.”

    Is it real for a cop from Tamil Nadu getting to go on to a foreign country on an investigation?

    “It is realistic. First half is very real, bang on… I’ve not compromised at all. He’s not allowed to take a gun. He has to find out what happened from the local cop there. He walks with the other cop and suggests what they could do… So, it’s a sort of an unofficial investigation.”

    Who’s playing the villain?

    “I can’t reveal that,” he says with a straight face.

    What exactly was all the controversy about change in producer?

    “Our producer Kajah Mohideen had a lot of financial problems. So the film wasn’t taking off. Kamal and we sat for script discussions and that took him. By which time, the interest rate was escalating. So, he tried commited suicide. Not because of us, but because he had financial hassles. For 10-15 days, Oscar Ravichandran came in, put in Rs. 90 lakh, and suddenly, he said he can’t do anything and backed out. There was a schedule waiting for Bombay. But then, we had to think about Jo’s dates, Kamal’s dates … If we lose those dates, everything goes for a toss.. So I funded that Bombay shoot myself… As usual, I put money in from my partner and we carried on. We did Rs. 80 lakh worth of shoot. Just when we were wondering what to do for the American schedule, Mr.Narayanan came in. But we are doing it on a first-copy basis. Now, Mr.Naryananan is on the helm. But distributors have put a stay on the film saying what Kajah owes them should be given back. The financiers put a stay. My work is going on. But May 5th, it will come out. ”

    What can people expect from Vettaiyaadu?
    “A good film…nothing else. No problem if they call it another ‘Kaakha… Kaakha.’ That is a good film. It made for good viewing, good value for money. This is definitely that. It’s got good songs, it’s got Kamal Hassan. I wanted to go one step beyond that… which im not sure. From your earlier film, you have to go five notches higher. Especially with Kamal, I would have loved to do something like a Nayagan, which is an all-time favourite film, don’t know how “commercial” it was, but it was a complete film. I didn’t do that. I didn’t have that kind of time. So, I thought let me make commercial film.”

    And he’s already on to his next film, ‘Silandhi’ working double shift.

    How’s personal life been?

    “Haywire… because I work 20 hours these days…I’ve gone on to ‘Silandhi’ with Sarath Kumar, Jyotika, Tabu and Milind Soman. I have lost weight. I haven’t spent time with my family. But that’s something I’ve brought upon myself… It’s just that I haven’t done a film in more than one and a half years. And I had a script ready and people were tearing it to bits. I just wanted to do the script and I felt I have a good team to support me on the prost production. Mahendra Jain, financier, is giving us the money, we are doing it on a first copy basis. I wanted to get going on another film. I shoot for Silandhi in the morning and from 6 to 2 in the night, I work on post production for ‘Vettaiyaadu’ and then sleep for 4 hours and work on the other again. We’ve shot for 20 days already. It should release two months after Vettaiyaadu. I’m also starting Suriya’s film in June. That will come out on Diwali.”

    Whatever happened to the English and Hindi remakes of ‘Kaakha … Kaakha’?

    The English version, I backed out because I wanted to establish myself here in Tamil first. The Telugu version didn’t do well. And I wasn’t ok with Sunny Deol doing it. The whole idea of remaking didn’t appeal to me.

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