Gautham Menon is a director who’s clear about how his characters are translated on screen. He pays a lot of attention to his films and switches from one genre to another with ease. His plus points are a strong storyline and the realism he depicts. The audience identifies with his characters. His Tamil film Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (AYM) aka Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo is running to packed theatres.
“Story ideas are generated by experiences. It’s all about drawing inspiration from your life and from others. I like to keep things subtle. I neither handle larger-than-life subjects nor loud ones,” says Gautham.
He doesn’t write script for heroes. “I let my stories evolve on their own. I don’t force anything into my script. I get up in the morning, open my laptop and begin to write. I don’t consciously work towards a subject. I usually write without having an idea. I prefer to start filming with incomplete scripts. I go with the flow,” he adds.
There’s honesty in his movies. “Being naturally simple is the most difficult thing to do. I had no one on mind when I wrote AYM, but when I had to work with Simbu again (after Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya), I developed it accordingly. I hardly tweak my screenplay to suit a star’s image,” he explains.
His movies, such as Pachaikili Muthucharam and Vaaranam Aayiram, remind us of Mani Ratnam. Be it the identity that the script gives to the hero or those casual things he brings to the story subconsciously. That’s his kind of filmmaking; emotional and straight from the heart. “It has worked for me because of the creative space I have been given to weave my story and characters. I am a reluctant writer. I don’t go by the conventional style of having a proper ‘ending’ or ‘middle part’ when I write. My mind moves in its own direction, and taps rawness. I’m like the hero in my film,” he laughs.
His women characters, such as Jessi and Hemanika, are popular. Why do women have such a major role in his creations? “Women have played a prominent role in my life, and they continue to make an impact. I can never use them as props or objects of glamour. They have equal space, and sometimes more than that. I love my women characters to be dignified. Even if these characters were to essay a negative shade, I’d portray them in a way people would appreciate,” he says.
He’s busy with Dhanush’s Enai Nokki Paayum Thotta, which is 80 per cent over. When asked to compare Dhanush and Simbu, Gautham says, “Both are realistic, raw and natural actors. I don’t have to tell them what to do. I make them read the script and know their scenes and dialogues. Simbu is talkative, Dhanush is shy.”
Will he direct Kamal Haasan again? “I’d love to, but the final call is his. I’m his die-hard fan. He’s a superstar,” Gautham says.