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Interview with Gowtam Menon
Date: 13 December 2012, Hyderabad
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Gowtam Menon is unlike every other director. He has style and his films are sophisticated. He has carved a niche for himself when it comes to love stories. Films like Cheli and Ye Maya Chesave went on to become big hits in Telugu too. His latest film Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu is releasing worldwide on 14 December 2013. Here are the excerpts of the interview -


What do you think has worked for the movie Ye Maaya Chesave?
It is a simple love story with a lot of freshness. The actors (especially Naga Chaitanya and Samantha) are fresh. Samantha is good looking. The film is supported by wonderful music. There is intensity in love. The cross-religion aspect in love conflict also worked. The film is told from Karthik’s perspective and Jessey character bordering on confusion worked.

What went wrong with Erra Gulabilu?
This film was simultaneously shot with Ye Maya Chesave. I want to get out of the feel-good stories and experiment. Since it was an experiment, I made with a shoe-string budget of 1.5 crores. The satellite rights were sold for 1.75 crores. It was a profitable venture though many audiences didn’t like it. I knew from the beginning that the target audiences were 20% of the regular moviegoers. It was a bizarre film where entire film was shot in night effect and there is no BGM (background music). I am happy with the movie.

Tell us about Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu?
It is a love story between Varun and Nitya. It is a film of moments collected from the journey and relationship of Nitya and Varun. The age of journey covered is from 8 years to 25 years. Once you are into 5 minutes of the film, you will forget actors and get attracted towards characters.

You started off your journey with Harris Jairaj and shifted to AR Rahman and now Ilayaraja?
It’s every filmmaker’s dream to work with Ilayaraja sir. The story of the film is written by my partner Reshma. I wrote dialogues and screenplay. All the songs are integral part of films and if you take out a song, you will miss something. I had explained each and every scene of the film and Ilayaraja listened to me patiently. Working with maestro Ilayaraja was a learning experience for me about how music should be produced.

How did Samantha do in this film?
During the time of Ye Maaya Chesave, I had to explain her everything. Now she is brilliant and understood the intricacies. Samantha has arrived with Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu. This is her first real film.

What about Naani?
I was supposed to do this film with Ram. Call it destiny or luck, Nani was finally cast. He does whatever I want. I just needed the camera to capture his work. If I get an opportunity, I will work again with Nani.

Can we consider YVM as the completion of love trilogy after Cheli and Ye Maya Chesave?
If you look at all my films, you see love stories being the main threads. Gharshana had a beautiful love story. It was about avenging lover’s death in Gharshana. Surya s/o Krishnan has another wonderful love story. If you look at pure love stories with no other genre mixed in it, YVM will be the fitting ending to the love trilogy.

What went wrong with Ek Deewana Tha (Hindi version of Ye Maya Chesave) which you directed?
It was not easy to recreate the magic for the 3rd time. Simbu is brilliant in Tamil version and I couldn’t get a similar and intense performance from Prateik Babbar. I was in two minds whether I was getting it right when I was directing Hindi version. Despite having big names like Reliance, Fox Star and AR Rahman, the film didn’t get any openings. For a film of this profile, we expect 50-60% openings on day 1. But the film has managed around 10%. We generally expect these kind of films to pick up in the weekend. But bad reviews killed the prospects. I feel that the film deserved better performance.

What is your next movie?
It is going to be an action film with Suriya as hero.

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