Gautham and Simbu during the shoot of AYM.
Gautham Vasudev Menon is one filmmaker whose body of work reflects his passion and pursuit of perfection. He redefined romance in Tamil cinema, and always portrays female characters with dignity. Known for stylish filmmaking, his upcoming big budget flick Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada, in which he collaborates with Simbu for the second time along with Manjima Mohan debuting as the female lead, is no different. The music album of AYM composed by AR Rahman, which was launched earlier, opened to outstanding response with the sensational single Thalli Pogadhey going viral overnight. But now, the film is in the news for a different reason.
AYM is mired in controversy for the reported stand-off between Gautham and STR with respect to the shoot of the Thalli... number which seems to be still pending. When DC caught up with Menon about the issue, he says ‘all is well’ and is confident of sorting it out soon. He also spills the beans about his Dhanush movie Ennai Nokki Paayum Thotta and his ambitious magnum opus — a multi starrer with actors from multiple southern languages. Excerpts of our conversation with Gautam:
We hear that though AYM (Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo in Telugu with Naga Chaitanya) starts with a love segment, and the story takes a different turn in the latter session? "I’ve tried a unique connect between two young people in AYM. Once the connect is established, the story flows automatically into a different kind of trouble for the two of them and soon love is put on the back burner. There are more important and dangerous issues to handle. Here, my treatment of romance is slightly altered. The movie enters into a violent space in the second half," Gautham reveals.
On choosing Manjima Mohan, he says, "She is spunky within that soft demeanour of hers and we liked that for the character she plays in the film. It’s exactly the same image on and off-screen. She speaks both the languages easily and is a pleasure to work with."
Coming to the issue with Simbu that is making the rounds, Gautham puts the record straight and says that things will be cleared soon. "Simbu is one of the finest actors in Tamil cinema. In fact, I was very particular that he be cast as the protagonist. He has delivered an extraordinary performance in Achcham... which will elevate him to a different level. Nothing went wrong between us. This is not an issue that other producers don’t face. The Telugu version was done to help fund AYM. The Dhanush film was also kick-started, as it had a committed date. We were supposed to finish AYM in February...
A lot of the payment made to Simbu and the technicians was from my salary advance for that film; but it is only half. We are hoping to settle the money and get him to finish work," muses Gautham.
Reportedly, STR was not happy to join the Turkey schedule for the shoot of the number Thalli Pogadhey, since Gautham clubbed it with the shooting of Dhanush’s Ennai Nokki Paayum Thotta. Shedding light on this, he explains, "I didn’t think he would have a problem. Friends normally don’t have a problem. That was my point of view."
Ever since ENPT, which features Dhanush and Megha Akash, was announced, it has been creating a lot of buzz. Megha is said to essay the role of a film personality, who Dhanush falls in love with — and then gets into a life-threatening situation, while saving her from a predicament. Apparently, with proper planning, the Yennai Arindhaal director has completed a major part of the film in a short time.
Gautham is also pulling off a coup by bringing four top actors from the four south languages for his multilingual film titled Ondraaga (Together). The movie will feature Prithviraj from Malayalam, Puneeth Rajkumar from Kannada and Sai Dharam Tej from the Telugu industry — but he is yet to finalise the star from Tamil. Anushka and Tamannaah have also been roped in as heroines.
"It has always been a dream to work with more than one hero in a film. These stars are actors too, they understood the scope and were keen. Production is planned across the US — it will be a 70-day shoot," Gautham concludes.