In an unique interview, STR and GVM discuss collaborating for a 3rd time with ‘VTK,’ transferring out of their consolation zones, and their respective 20-year journeys in the movie trade

In an unique interview, STR and GVM discuss collaborating for a 3rd time with ‘VTK,’ transferring out of their consolation zones, and their respective 20-year journeys in the movie trade

They are again. Six years after Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (2016) and 12 years after Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010), Gautham Vasudev Menon and Silambarasan TR be a part of forces once more for Vendhu Thanindhathu KaaduPart 1: The Kindling

In a marked departure from their earlier initiatives collectively (in addition to the pandemic brief Karthik Dial Seytha Yenn), the filmmaker-actor combo brings us a “low-lying gangster movie” revolving round a village teenager Muthu — sure, Simbu does play a 19-year-old — journeying to the large metropolis and getting embroiled in a sequence of occasions that turns his life upside-down. 

VTK additionally sees Gautham accomplice with acclaimed author B Jeyamohan; the movie was born out of a brief story written by the latter, in an uncommon collaboration that everybody in the trade — in addition to the viewers — now anticipate with curiosity. 

But again to the GVM-STR relationship; Gautham debuted with Minnale in 2001 and (an grownup) Simbu with Okay adhal Azhivathillai in 2002. Their 20 year-long careers have traversed remarkably related paths of glory and frustration since then, pockmarked with blockbuster successes and floundering misfires in equal measure.

What has remained fixed although, is the consideration and attract that each of them command from the public; neither is much away from the headlines, controversy, or certainly, fandom. And if their straightforward bromance in particular person is something to go by, VTK might simply be the newest in a fledgling line of future associations to count on from the duo. Produced by Ishari Okay. Ganesh of Vels Film International, the film additionally stars Raadhika Sarathkumar, Siddhi Idnani and Neeraj Madhav, with a theatrical launch set for September 15.

Excerpts from an unique interview:

We know Gautham Menon as a director who does stunning love tales and cool motion sequences. But the first look of ‘VTK’ was starkly completely different. With this, are you transferring out of your consolation zone?

Gautham: To shoot a love story like Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya was truly harder. Or Vaaranam Aayiram, once we recreated moments that occurred in my life. The most tough factor to do was taking pictures that funeral scene when Suriya is mendacity down, the place my father was in actual life. To relive that emotion was tough, and there was no consolation zone about it. 

Gautham on the sets of ‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’

Gautham on the units of ‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’

But I cherished doing VTK and felt one with it; after I learn Jeyamohan’s brief story that had an open ending, I needed to know the place it was going. I puzzled if it might go into the house of a gangster story that we haven’t seen a lot of in Tamil cinema. Jeyamohan sir initially talked about that this could possibly be carried out solely by a newcomer and not a star with a mass picture. There was no query of doing it with Simbu again then, however he (Simbu) was kicked about the concept and mentioned that he’d work on it. 

I loved the course of. In my 20 years of labor, I’ve narrated many tales, primarily from my very own life; actually, each Karthik and Jessie, the predominant characters of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, are based mostly on me. But now, I wish to foray into newer areas and VTK is the starting of that.  

Simbu, you may have performed many city characters earlier than. But how did you put together your self for changing into Muthu in ‘VTK’?

Simbu: While taking part in Muthu, I consciously reminded myself that I used to be not Simbu. My physique language, strolling type and weight needed to be modified. Even by the finish of the movie, when he truly will get to don a coat and go well with, it’s nonetheless not Simbu however a reworked Muthu that you simply’ll see on-screen. 

The trailer provides us ‘KGF’ vibes, particularly Muthu’s ultimate look… 

Gautham: The KGF movies have been spectacular little doubt, and they created a unbelievable new world for us. But it’s not one thing we will relate to, in contrast to Vendhu.. which is ready in a really actual setting that everyone knows of. Simbu was taking on a brand new search for one other movie (the bearded avatar), so we determined to run with it, that’s all. We aren’t making an attempt to ape KGF neither is the movie based mostly on the same narrative. 

GVM and Simbu during the shoot of the film

GVM and Simbu throughout the shoot of the movie

The romance angle in ‘VTK’ was not there in the authentic story; why did you’re feeling the want to incorporate it?

Gautham: Jeyamohan sir’s story had the house for that; in the authentic narrative, Muthu meets a girl, however the story doesn’t take it ahead. I used the set-ups in the story to jot down some romantic scenes, which features a track. Jeyamohan and I by no means spoke about the physique language of Muthu, but Simbu chose to play him in a certain manner, which I completely cherished. He additionally picked up these mannerisms from somebody in actual life, which we gained’t discuss now. We packaged that with sure inputs I gave, like how some boys from the south have this follow of wiping their palms inside their pockets after consuming, which is one thing I noticed from a few of my college-mates in Keeranur (close to Tiruchi).

Over twenty years, each of you may have witnessed excessive highs in the first few years, and a interval of wrestle and evolution in the later phases. Would you say it’s shared empathy that sees you perceive one another so properly?

Simbu: We hold eager to collaborate all the time. But, stagnation occurs. Financial points, well being issues, life normally… get in the means. But I hope Maanaadu was an answer to everybody who questioned me. With Vendhu.. I’m genuinely making an attempt one thing completely different, to the level the place its success — or failure — gained’t have an effect on us. Everyone talks about belling the cat, nevertheless it’s essential who tries it first ( smiles). 

Graphic: Albert Francis

Graphic: Albert Francis

Having mentioned that, we’re each individuals who transfer on in a short time from setbacks. I believe that’s what has cast the greatest connection between us. We by no means dwell on the previous; we hold transferring ahead. 

Gautham: We are very respectful of one another’s house, and that’s actually nurtured the friendship in addition to our working affiliation. But he’s only a telephone name away; that’s actually how Karthik Dial Seytha Yenn happened throughout COVID. It’s a very simple relationship I’ve with Simbu, and I by no means need to assume twice about reaching out to him. 

Tell us about your working course of collectively, and how has it modified since Gautham the director additionally turned an actor? 

Simbu: There’s a really snug give-and-take course of between us as director and actor. Some filmmakers are fairly strict and I’ve to work inside their restrictions. But with Gautham, he provides me a temper and setting, then lets me take over and give my inputs as properly.

Him changing into an actor has truly added one other aspect to his persona as a director now! I’ve all the time loved seeing him act and explaining scenes to me on set; some parts actually come throughout properly, and I fortunately mimic him for these scenes. Now, watching him on-screen truly fills me with pleasure. I cherished his position in FIR as an NIA advisor; I felt the casting was so spot-on. Sometimes, we see miscast actors look awkward in these “official” sorts of roles, however Gautham has a sure believability to him, in how he carries himself on the subject of such characters.

Gautham: I’ve all the time identified what a performer Simbu is, however he really has evolved more as an actor now

. I don’t know if it’s the age or the entire ‘Atman’ philosophy, however I can see the distinction. You won’t ever see the Simbu of yore in VTK, besides for only one tiny second the place Muthu will remind you of Karthik from Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. It occurred unintentionally, however I made a decision to maintain it. Maybe only for myself. ( grins).

Simbu and Gautham Vasudev Menon in conversation

Simbu and Gautham Vasudev Menon in dialog
| Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ

He’s additionally very intuitive as an individual; he is aware of precisely what folks will say and how responses will probably be. He even predicted the response to the voiceovers in the Vendhu… trailer completely! As for my different initiatives with him — VTV 2, Ondraga and Nadhigalilae.. — I actually wish to see Simbu in that romantic drama house once more, and I’m certain he’d be comfortable to do it. 

Gautham, you may have this knack of getting lyrically-eloquent movie titles. How do you resist the temptation to draw back from business ones? For occasion, ‘Accham Enbadhu Madamayada’ might simply have been titled ‘Rajinikanth’ and ‘VTK’ as ‘Muthu’…

Gautham: Room pottu yosikamaten (laughs). It simply involves me in a whiff of contemporary air. Just two folks should be satisfied of it; the hero and the producer. I’m fortunate that in addition they cherished it as a lot as I did. 

Simbu, you appear to have matured over the years. But it’s additionally intriguing how, after twenty years, your private life nonetheless generates a lot consideration. Looking again at your profession, would you name your self a misunderstood particular person?

Simbu: I believe everyone seems to be misunderstood. When we see somebody, we’re fast to evaluate them. But solely once we work together and get to know them higher, will we perceive them. But I suppose I’ve been misunderstood greater than others.

Simbu and Siddhi Idnani in a still from ‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’

Simbu and Siddhi Idnani in a nonetheless from ‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’

All the drama my private life attracts… perhaps that’s why I’m nonetheless thought of a star? Maybe that’s why Maanaadu labored on the degree it did. I take it as a optimistic factor. Something Buddha mentioned all the time sticks to me; whenever you obtain one thing (criticism) from somebody, then it turns into yours. But when you reject it, it stays with them. You perceive? That’s what I comply with as of late, and it’s a strong philosophy to dwell with. For me to really imbibe this into my life although, that took time and house.

Gautham, clearly, your collaboration with Jeymohan has excited you. Can we see you’re employed with him extra going ahead?

Gautham: I’m in love with the man and his process. VTK originated from a brief story he wrote, and then we charted the screenplay collectively. We explored a complete gamut of matters in our conversations — from how the drug market operates to land-grabbing points — and lastly got here up with a superb plot. He’s so prolific as a author, that I have already got 4 different plot factors and concepts from him for future movies. 

I additionally didn’t wish to dub VTK in different languages; it could really feel so synthetic watching a Tamil boy going to Mumbai communicate in Hindi or Malayalam, don’t you assume? Though the trailers have voice-overs in numerous languages, I really feel a rooted Tamil movie is greatest watched in Tamil, and with subtitles for individuals who don’t perceive it. That is my definition of pan-Indian.

Would you name ‘VTK’ your second coming of types in filmdom, then?

Gautham: Jeyamohan sir advised me {that a} director stands out solely when he makes one thing out of his consolation zone, and that I’ve achieved that with Vendhu… I need this to be referred to as a cult movie as I’ve labored actually laborious on it. From retaining it technically distinctive and the digital camera motion staging, to the epic single shot sequences that chart the transformation of the lead character, we’ve got made the visualisation of the script edgy and completely different. 

Gautham: “Muthu is not a mass hero or trained assassin, he is just a raw young guy coming to terms with his circumstances”

Gautham: “Muthu is just not a mass hero or educated murderer, he’s only a uncooked younger man coming to phrases along with his circumstances”

Even the motion sequences are as actual as attainable; Muthu is just not a mass hero or educated murderer, he’s only a uncooked younger man coming to phrases along with his circumstances, and he reacts precisely how anybody in his place would. 

This would possibly come throughout as fairly an elitist analogy, however you understand how fragrance shops give you espresso beans to reset your sense of odor whilst you strive on numerous fragrances? VTK is that espresso bean, so to talk; a palate cleanser expertise that can set my subsequent 4 movies in movement.

You have always spoken about having a number of concepts for extra slice-of-life romantic dramas. Do you see your self making a full-fledged web-series from considered one of them?

Gautham: Yes, positively. Bollywood is doing their take on The Archies, perhaps we should always do our model of FRIENDS now, eh? ( laughs) It’s a reality now that theatrical releases co-exist with streaming, and I’m straddling each worlds, as knowledgeable working in these areas and as an viewers. 

I just lately narrated one thing actually fascinating to a feminine lead star; an experimental movie in a Vicky Donor + Rajkumar Hirani zone, and she advised me she will be able to’t see me making it work. That has now spurred me to take it up as a problem! But there’s additionally a rom-com sequence we’ve got pitched to the streamers just lately. 

Finally, Simbu, your new sobriquet is ‘Atman’. What precisely does it imply?

Simbu: Basically, it implies that we aren’t who our physique presents us to be; in spite of everything, the physique is only a mere conduit for our soul to exist in a bodily realm. The soul or atma, that’s the actual essence of who an individual actually is. The incontrovertible fact that my title is Simbu, and that I’m a Tamilian, Hindu, Indian… Atman is eradicating all these labels utterly and being stripped all the way down to the naked essence of who we’re. 

On track with Simbu

Simbu: I’ve sung a observe in VTK; the melody quantity Kaalathuku Nee Vendhum. I modified my singing type to go well with the observe’s melody sample. Initially, we recorded a number of takes with the sound engineers, and it wasn’t understanding properly. Subsequently, A.R. Rahman sir, who was in Dubai, guided me over a video name and the track was accomplished inside 10 minutes. He actually is aware of how you can extract the soul of a track from a singer.

Up subsequent for GVM

Gautham: Going by the response to VTK, we’ll begin working on its sequel quickly. I even have Vikram’s Dhruva Natchathiram up for launch, hopefully in December. The second season of Queen is in the works too; I’ve already shot a number of episodes. We have additionally acquired the remake rights for a few well-liked Malayalam and Kannada movies. 

In addition to this, Jeyamohan sir has labored with me on the script for Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu 2, and Kamal sir has heard it as properly. I’m hopeful that the challenge will materialise quickly, particularly after the success of Vikram, which actually was validation for Kamal sir after 50 years of labor.

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