Gautham Vasudev Menon Interview: Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu with Simbu is my best work so far
Gautham, in an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla, also recalled his work as an assistant to director Rajiv Menon during the shoot of Minsara Kanavu in 1997.
One of the popular and all-time great directors, Gautham Vasudev Menon is currently basking in the success of his latest film, Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu starring Simbu. Looking all calm, happy and confident, Gautham, in an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla, recalled his work as an assistant to director Rajiv Menon during the shoot of Minsara Kanavu in 1997.
“I was able to read, write and speak Hindi and so, I was asked to sit with Kajol with the senior associate director and translate Tamil lines to her in Hindi and English. That was a tremendous experience in how the production of the film unfolds. From then to Minnale, my first film, there was a struggle because of home issues, being in a middle-class family and my mom was still working. From Minnale to VTK (Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu), I still think I’m making my first film. Every film is like a first film, no matter what. No matter what you achieve-the fan base or anything, in spite of that, every film is a challenge, and a work of art I look forward to,” says Gautham Vasudev Menon, who has completed 20 years in cinema.
“VTK, technically, I think is my best work so far because I sort of unlearnt everything I had learnt and got into this to tell the audience that certain dialogues, moments in the songs and action sequences have to be told in a certain way, and it is never before seen in Tamil cinema or Indian cinema I think. If you talk about films like Baahubali and RRR, they have made it spectacularly big, but I’m talking about a film like this (VTK) where the shots tell a story by themselves and I think that is very important. If you take the film out of me, I don’t know what I will do. My sons are cricketers so probably I might manage their career there,” said Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu director who had flown down to Mumbai to celebrate the success of Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu.
Gautham was an introvert, but as an AD on sets, watching Rajiv Menon at work, helped him a lot to break the shackles. “I was always conscious about the way I looked, not that I wanted to be an actor but there was something that was holding me back. For a friend, I was a part of a music video. There was a moment when nothing worked out for 3 hours. It was frustrating for the artist as he was not able to understand it. So I moved a team member out and stepped in. That’s when I discovered myself. I started slowly understanding the signs of filmmaking and learnt a lot from Rajiv Sir. If you have to be there and focus on your vision, you have to forget about 1000 people looking at you.”
Gautham says he ‘would love to call VTK a cult movie’. “The way it is made and set, I called it a coffee bean that you smell when you are testing a perfume. This is slightly a game-changer film. Somewhere this film is a calling card for me. A lot of people who didn’t know Simbu in North watched the film they loved it as a standalone film. I’m very confident after those comments,” said Gautham who confirmed he has already started working on the film’s part 2 and is halfway into the script with writer B. Jeyamohan.
"Critics' reviews bother me"
Recently, Tamil Film Producers Council proposed new guidelines for film reviewers. One of the resolutions that passed was for reviewers to stop posting their reviews until 3 days from the release of the film. Reacting to the same, “Critics reviews bother me. There is some loftiness I see in some reviews…there is one sitting at the pedestrian reviewing the film and is making scaling comments on filmmakers and actors. Nothing against the reviews because yes, it is also somebody’s work. Any work of art is going to be appreciated or criticized. I have a problem with people reviewing films, in a way that they want the film to be and very rarely reviewing what the film is. Honestly, earlier, Mani sir used to tell me, I don’t read the reviews. I asked him, “how do you handle it,” because one of his films had very bad reviews and at the same time when Ek Deewana had released, it was a mess. So I reached out to him, somebody who is my mentor. I’m also against fans recording intro and interval scenes. It is my material that is going out in the wrong way. It is also a kind of piracy that needs to be stopped.”
Gharshana 2 with Venkatesh Daggubati
During a long candid chat, Gautham also confirmed Gharshana 2 with Venkatesh. “I’m very excited about it. It is something we had been working on for a very long time. I narrated the gist of the film to Venkatesh and he immediately likes it. We are working on the script and shall start the shoot soon,” Gautham, the filmmaker and an actor shared an update.
He also has an untitled upcoming film that will feature Ram Pothineni in the lead role. “We are looking to kickstart the shoot early next year,” reveals Gautham. It is going to be multilingual and set on a grand scale.