If you remember, director Gautham Vasudev Menon played host for Kumki’s audio launch function attended by Rajinkanth and Kamal Haasan earlier this year. Now the same film is in the fray with Gautham’s Neethanae En Ponvasantham (NEP) as both are scheduled to hit the screens this Friday. This, even Gautham doesn’t seem to have expected. “I wish they hadn’t come on the same day, because we announced the release date first. I really feel a little bad that there is going to be a share in distribution, but Lingusamy sir was convinced that they should release Kumki on December 14. I’m happy for them anyway,” says Gautham, who has planned to watch Kumki on day one.
Gautham says NEP is a moment based film and shares little a very little similarity with his previous flicks. “It’s about two people who meet when they are eight-years-old and the film ends when they are 25. I can show so much in between, but I have shown only what I think are, interesting moments in the period. People might find some moments similar to those in my other films, but I really don’t care because these events happen in everybody’s lives,” he says. Gautham, who says both Jiiva and Nani have played the same role of protagonist, Varun differently in the Tamil and Telugu versions, he couldn’t have thought of two girls for the female lead, Nithya. “And having cast Samantha in the role has come across really well as she has given a realistic performance,” he adds. Though others have had apprehensions about what she initially delivered in terms of performance, Gautham knew that she would be something else on the spot. “Even though she has done a lot of films before in Telugu and Tamil, NEP is going to put her on the map,” he adds.
After actor Vivek playing comedian in (Gautham’s) his first film Minnale, the director hasn’t cast a comedy role in his films until now. He explains about Santhanam’s character in NEP, that the role demanded such a personality. “I wanted someone as Jiiva’s friend whose character is funny. And after the first half of the film, you will forget that they are Jiiva and Santham, but they are Varun and Prakash,” he explains. Gautham says he has no second thoughts about Ilaiyaraja’s music for NEP if it could have been better. “It’s not like I accepted the tunes blindly. In fact, every song was discussed before composition and I told him how I wanted them. But I liked the first tune he came up with for each song because that was what I wanted. That’s how it was done and you will realise how suitable the music is after watching the film,” explains the director.
While getting the dates of Jiiva, Nani, Samantha and Santhanam and the fact that Samantha fell ill for about two months delayed the film to an extent, Gautham says he took his time to show a difference in the appearance of the actors according to their ages in the film. Ask Gautham if NEP will fulfill the expectations of audiences and he says, “I really don’t know that. It’s the kind of film I would like to go watch in the theatre. I really don’t think about this specifically, when I make films. But considering producers have invested a lot of money in it, I hope that audiences will enjoy it. It’s a simple love story. People who wonder what will be new in a love story may not like the film, but those who would like to see how the film has portayed love and relationships will like NEP,” concludes Gautham.