Between Reviews: Shooting from the Lip

Gautham Vasudev Menon opens up about his latest I-don’t-care film, and explains why his wife’s fondness for Tarantino augurs well for his kind of cinema.

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FEB 13, 2011AMONG THE CIRCUMSTANCES that prompted Gautham Vasudev Menon to persevere with Nadunisi Naaigal is his longtime costume designer’s confession that she read the script and wanted to puke. “That interested me,” he says, with the smug satisfaction of a five-year-old who’s just deposited his pet toad next to his mother at suppertime. “That’s the kind of reaction I wanted.” His team pointed out that he’d alienate the female audiences who like the way he portrays love, the way he treats women on screen. “But I don’t believe in that. Nadunisi Naaigal is an I-don’t-care film. I had somebody who’s a rank newcomer. He works with me. I kept looking at his body language and said, ‘Let me write something bizarre.’ And while in the US, I met a shrink who narrated something from his files, without mentioning names. I was inspired by that. I also read a novel from which I was inspired to write this story.”

Afterwards, he realised there might have been an additional fount of inspiration, this time from his own backyard. “Maybe Sigappu Rojakkal was in my head while making the film. Bharathiraja, who made 16 Vayadhinile and Pudhiya Vaarpugal, switched to something that people might call vulgar or obscene but it was a psychological thriller. The unraveling of the human mind – that’s what I’ve tried to depict in Nadunisi Naaigal.” He knows that, under two hours, it’s a multiplex kind of film. He knows that it caters to a very young audience, whose years on the planet he pegs from 18 to 35 or 40. He knows people above 50 might be squeamish about some scenes. “But I wanted to make it, that’s all. While writing it, while making it, I just didn’t care whether it will reach out to a certain section of the audience.”

Last year’s Vinnathaandi Varuvaaya – that lacerating anti-romance – was another I-don’t-care film. “The characters kept talking throughout. There’s a violent side to this guy. When she keeps him at a distance, he reacts in a violent way – not in the sense of using his fists, but he kind of mocks her dad, he treads on that space. How many women would have liked to see somebody like that? But I just felt that’s inherent in most men. They tend to react like that if their love doesn’t come through. So even as I wrote it, I felt some women might say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is not right!’ But that didn’t worry me.” Put differently, he didn’t care.

But there is a point the armour cracks and he begins to feel vulnerable, the point he begins to care. “I make films without worrying what the audience will think. But once the first copy is ready and we wait for release, I’m in a very nervous state, because it’s our money now and there is a distributor involved and a theatre exhibitor involved. I go into a major shell thinking whether this will be accepted.” He is concerned about how much money the film will make because Nadunisi Naaigal is the first film made under the company he and his partners have listed on the London Stock Exchange. “There are investors. If it does well, people will invest in the company. So I need it to work.”

Like every smart speculator, he has taken precautions to insulate himself against financial shock. He’s already earned back the movie’s micro-budget from satellite rights and Telugu rights. (Nadunisi Naaigal will be released in a dubbed version, with a few scenes reshot to accommodate local flavour.) “We’re releasing it ourselves in all theatres, so I’m not taking any money from distributors. Nobody can come back to me and say we lost money on the film. So that way I’ve covered all angles.” But he still hopes it will do well. “I really want to see what kind of opening this film will take. I know the two films released yesterday didn’t take an opening at all. And somehow this industry is still stuck about what kind of opening every film takes.”

The bigger the name, the greater the pressure. Despite the incessant success of a string of Madurai-based films – made by no-name directors, with no-name stars, with budgets that would barely cover the song shoots of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya – he feels people still care about big stars and big directors, and he counts himself as one of those people who still care. “I have a problem with stars and the way they behave. But give me Kamal Sir any day and I’ll do a film with him. I know it’s an ordeal to actually get to him, to convince him about a script. He’s going to try and give you something that he’s written. But having said that, once you get him on board, I know he can do something great, and there will be this big buzz everywhere. People will flock to theatres. And there’s money for the director.”

He outlines the lay of Tamil-cinema land. “Once the film is released, there is a distributor, there is a mediator, there is a theatre owner, there is a theatre commission, there is a tax – it’s all gone away, it’s piecemeal. And then what comes back to the producer is after three months of releasing the film. The money starts coming back immediately only if you do your own release, but that’s risky. Everybody wants to get their money back the day the film is announced. So give me a star any day. I’d love to work with him only because it’s financially viable for the cameraman, for the music director, and everybody else. With Nadunisi Naaigal, I’m not taking a big remuneration up front, but if I’d done this film with, say, Suriya I can take my remuneration up front.”

He knows somebody like Vijay will never do his kind of film. “But Suriya will. He’ll reach out with a Singam, and then he will come back to a Vaaranam Aayiram at every point. We are doing something together next year.” The star who surprised him the most was Simbu, whose constituency, before Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, was perceived as the rickshaw-puller and the cobbler and the honest labourer who sneered at the westernised affectations of the Gautham Vasudev Menon brand of cinema. “I was one week away from filming with a rank newcomer. My producer said, ‘Look at Simbu, Maybe we’ll get three crore more for the film, and the release price is also three crore more.’ The film needed spend in locations like New York and Malta. I didn’t like anything he’d done from before. When I met him, he said, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do.’ I thought this guy’s been here for some time. Maybe I could work around him.”

“But on Day 1, he surprised me with his one-take performance. Whatever I wanted, he gave me – in terms of dance, in terms of look, in terms of expression. I’ve spent less film stock on that project than with my other films. My wife said at first that she’d not watch the film, but she loved it and saw it many times.” Perhaps, through Nadunisi Naaigal, he’s hoping to accomplish a similar kind of transformation with his skeptical costumer designer. Making believers of non-believers comes with the territory of wanting to make different films in different genres. “I’ve always tried to make something different from what everybody is making. I don’t know if it’s accepted like that, but there is a need to try to stand out, try something different, something urban, something that hasn’t been seen recently on screen. I was very kicked about shooting on Air Force choppers for Vaaranam Aayiram. I haven’t seen these visuals in Tamil cinema before.” There, once again, is a glimpse of the boy with the toad, thrilled with his new toys.

Sitting across him, he’s the embodiment of composure. His voice, if mapped, would approximate to a straight line, and even when he utters the sole swear word of the afternoon, he dips his voice, as if lower volume could lessen vulgarity. And yet, he admits he’s aggressive. “I think I’m like the hero in my film. I think I’m bipolar.” He laughs. “I’m kidding. If I’m really friendly with somebody, if I know them for 10 or 15 years, my wife for example, or some friend, and if they have a problem with me, my first thought is, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong. Don’t they know me?’ I’m like that. I don’t feel the need to explain myself.” The only reason he subjects himself to interviews such as this one is to reach out. “I need people to know this film is coming out. I’d like to follow the Mani Ratnam path where he doesn’t talk before any film, but I saw him doing that with Raavan and, with all due respect to him, that worried me.”

These ten days leading to the release of Nadunisi Naaigal are lined up with interviews. But for Vijay TV, he’s doing something different. “I’m doing Koffee with Gautham, where I’m trying to talk to Bharathiraja and Kamal Sir, showing them the film and saying this is, in some way in my head, inspired by your film.” But a more interesting tryst with television lies ahead, a long-running thriller in five-episode chunks that will plant the seeds of a crime on Monday and dole out a resolution on Friday. “That’s the most exciting thing on the anvil now. We’re producing. I’m directing. And Rahman has said he’ll do the music. It’s going to have Parthiban in the lead. It’s not inspired or adapted from 24 or CSI, but it’s along those lines. It’s written entirely, 150 individual episodes. We’re waiting to see if Vijay TV will pick it up.”

If this film director does not mind devoting a portion of his life to television – time that could be spent crafting the next big-screen, I-don’t-care envelope-pusher designed to cause involuntary bodily reactions amongst longtime associates – it’s because he wants to change as well as create content. “We want to put ourselves out as content creators and providers. I even want to do stuff for mobile phones – apps and games.” He’s also producing films with other directors. “I’m making it easy for them to do films. Once I listen to the script and we thrash it out before production, not one question is asked. I have a very creative team handling every project.” Among the more exciting films, in his estimation, is Thanga Meengal, made by Ram, the dyspeptic director of Kattradhu Thamizh. “When I heard the subject, I had tears in my eyes, so I thought this will be the reaction in everybody in the audience. It’s a film made at 2 to 2.5 crore. It’s very different from anything we’ve seen on screen.”

It’s interesting that, here, he admits to extrapolating his gut-feeling to that of a mass audience, while with the reactions to his own scripts, he seems to occupy the opposite corner, running the risk of alienating these very audiences. “See, there will be people like me. My wife has not come to a theatre to watch a film after we got married. She watches some films I pick up on DVD. But she loves Quentin Tarantino films. She loves Hostel. Nadunisi Naaigal is not a scary film. It’ll make you squeamish at a couple of places. I liked Nalini’s [his costume designer] reaction but I knew there’d be people like me. The whole idea is getting people ready for what kind of film it is. My promos haven’t lied. My trailers haven’t lied.”

Whether Nadunisi Naaigal finds its audience or not, he says it’s not going to be easy to put together his next film. “It’s always been a struggle. I was not in the industry per se. I was not with the industry folk, so to speak. I worked with Rajiv Menon, who is outside the industry. He worked with AVM but he had a separate room for himself. I was conditioned to work with people like that, so when I made my first film, it was only Madhavan I was in contact with, and Madhavan was not from the hardcore industry here. With Harris Jeyaraj, it was his first film. We didn’t know anybody. The only established person on the team was Suresh Urs, the editor, who was like a mentor, a guide, at the time. So I didn’t think Minnale would be taken seriously and make things easy for me.”

His thoughts drift to Anjana, who’s making Veppam for his production company. “The film is not released yet, but she sent me an SMS a few days back asking if she’ll get a second film very easily. I was wondering how people think like that because I never thought like that.” Then again, he had bigger worries during his first film, whose hero insisted that he narrate the script to Mani Ratnam, upon whose approval the project would proceed. “Imagine my plight. I said there’s no way I’m going to do that because whether he likes the script or not, I can’t actually go in, sit there and narrate it to him.” This hesitation sprang from hero worship. “In my school days, Nayakan was the film that made me rewind and forward and see where the camera is and how they cut the scenes. I started learning to be a filmmaker by watching Nayakan.”

But Madhavan insisted. “I asked for some time. I went through some crazy moments in that one week. Then I did it. It was a pathetic narration and he hated it. He called Maddy and said there’s this other film called Ennavale that would take him to the masses, and that he didn’t know what I was talking about.” So Madhavan started work on Ennavale, “but somewhere along the line, he felt sorry for me or I don’t know what, and he said he’d do this too. That film came a week before Minnale and it tanked. But Minnale went on to do well, because of the songs or I don’t know what.” This self-effacement, he insists, is genuine. “I said this a few days earlier at Ethiraj College. I believe there are people who don’t like my films, and I’m not being humble or modest or anything like that. If someone comes and asks me why the houses in my film are painted white, to me it’s bizarre that somebody even thinks like that. I’ve done that with Mani Sir’s films. I know every line, every moment from his films. But I can’t take myself so seriously as yet.”

Despite the success of Minnale, the second film proved no easier. “It took me two years to put together Kaakha Kaakha. I wanted Suriya. I wanted a little more money for the film. But with Suriya, me and Harris, they said ‘this is how much we can give you’ – 2.50 crore; I wanted 4 crore – without even reading the script.” Vaaranam Aayiram was the biggest struggle ever. “Suriya and I broke our heads as to who would produce this film. Once I had the screenplay ready, I said we’ll do it. We’ll raise the money. You have a certain market. We’ll put together something. Suriya was not so sure. He didn’t want to work with Oscar Ravichandran, and Oscar himself was not so keen on pitching for the film initially. Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya was the first film we decided we would produce ourselves. So even now, I can’t think I have it made and the next film will fall into my lap. I put together a concept. I put together a script. Then I think about taking it to Kamal Sir. Last week, I met Rajini Sir. But nobody’s ever called me and said: Let’s make a film.”

Copyright ©2011 The New Sunday Express. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

58 thoughts on “Between Reviews: Shooting from the Lip

  1. Regarding – But Madhavan insisted. “I asked for some time. I went through some crazy moments in that one week. Then I did it. It was a pathetic narration and he hated it. He called Maddy and said there’s this other film called Ennavale that would take him to the masses, and that he didn’t know what I was talking about.”

    Mani Ratnam recommended Ennavale? Is that Gautham is saying? If so, either Mani Ratnam should have had a terribly bad day (which is possible if not probable) or Gautham should have indeed given such a pathetic narration that Mani Ratnam felt Ennavale was better. But even then, Ennavale? Seriously? That is a movie that will have people puking all over…

    PS: I read/commented this on my mobile phone…and I am hoping that I did read it correctly that Mani recommended Ennavale over Minnale.


  2. Sir…sanikizhamai office la ukkara vechu meeting pottu presentation by death nu sollama solli saavadichaangana, vera enna sir panna mudiyum?


  3. I guess Gautham Menon’s don’t-care-ness is more about him never making a movie outside his comfort zone. As far as I can remember, his movies have always been tinged with the dark side of romantic love – there are always these underlying themes of loss, tragedy and abuse. And he never wants to compose outside that comfort zone – he needs that vein of tragedy and regret for the movie to work for him, which is a remarkably indulgent stance. NN seems to follow the rule. And if that makes money, maybe we want to see that particular brand of darkness only he can bring out?


  4. open talk there… respect for this guy has increased after reading this (though VA and VTV dint appeal to me).Well, trying to be different is one thing….and being differently nice is something else. I wonder if he has managed that…..

    Wow!! TV series/Thriller/GVM/ARR/Parthiban….oops Parthepan…..Bring it on.


  5. Whether his films connect to the audiences or not, he is trying something different each time and I guess he deserves respect for that. And he is very candid. Explains why he’s finding it a struggle to piece together a producer for each film.


  6. That was a terrific interview, quite candid, reinforcing GVM’s devil may care attitude in his opinions abt his industry colleagues.
    Hope NN turns out seriously disgusting. The promo I felt was not promising enough in this regard.
    Ennavale? Seriously?! Wasn’t that a Vikraman film?


  7. Raj B,
    He’s done only one film with Kamal. Quite obviously the “difficult, wants to work on his own script” experiences are from the VV experience.

    I thought the trailer for NN was quite lackluster. Gives away way too much about the film. I’m also reminded of Charlie Kaufman’s reaction to Donald’s usage of multiple personalities. I get the feeling that Gautham is more of a numbers guy than he is a words guy. One of the most heartening things about NN is the way it is being released and the alternate logistics it can create if this works. Seems like some sort of early stage Miramax is in the works with Photon Factory.

    Love that he is producing stuff like Azhagarsaamiyin Kuthirai and Thanga Meengal. The TV series sounds interesting as well. I already like the casting if Parthiban is a part of it. Even if it is just passable, in terms of quality it will be leagues ahead of whatever is on TV now.


  8. Rangan. Is there a bromance brewing between you and GVM? I see, there’s quite a mutual bonhomie there.

    Nice tip on Vijay. He’s an ass of the firstest order that there is. That guy just makes me sick and his latest antics on entering politics is very upsetting. Since when do people delude themselves into believing that shaking few hips on celluloid entitles them to govern their fellow citizens? He needs a smackdown Mubarak style!


  9. Im expecting some kind of a unique visual style that morphs with each film , from GVM . Im just wondering if there is a unique visual style, like what mysskin has -i could not find not a flaw , but just an observation.

    Enough of cinemadurai, lets welcome something urban !


  10. Koffee with Gautham was different. And I’d go with Complicateur that he’s given too much away in this film’s trailer and build up in Vijay TV. The (anti-)hero is a psychopath who stalks women and the heroine is caught with him in a one night stand. GVM now has his task cut out, to make the film click, or rather, to make the audience puke :) Interesting…


  11. Vijay did not want to do a love story with gvm , but did kavalan , which by the standards that we perceive , is quite diffeent from his other films !Isn’t kavalan a 90s kalamellam kadhal vaazga meeta vaseegara from his own staple ?


  12. Interesting that he is so self-aware of his female audience…I think it comes from his personal relationships. How many interviewees mention their wives as many times in one conversation as this guy does?


  13. Such a frank interview! Well done, BR. The point is not whether he makes films within or out of his comfort zone. The point is that he is making films that he wants to do and doesn’t worry about this whole uncertain imaginary ‘mass’ or I don’t-know-what!

    I wouldn’t mind if he makes 10 VTV’s as long as he is honest about the film. I have seen few directors who say “Engalukkum nalla padam edukanumnu aasai dhaan…..aana ella audience ayum cover anna vendi irruku.” Illena mattum Kieslwoskii maadhiri eduthu kizhichuruvaru.

    PS – Very nice interview. But will he get into problems after this interview? :-P


  14. @MumbaiRamki “I make movies that my fans want.” would be thalapathy’s condescending answer sir.

    With regards to Nadunisi Naigal, expecting a neat little cameo from GVM’s voice.


  15. BR , somehow i feel that people (some) in the movie industry are like traffic constables … They are amidst the crowd all the time, but none to talk to …Hence, When you bump over them , lot of times it results in monologue…..

    ( Ok – experience from talking to traffic police !)


  16. yaarume interviewkku kidaikalanaa irukkave irukaaru namma Gautam Menon :-) Is this what, the third or fourth time in the last 3 years you are talking to him?

    I usually like the snippets that GVM provides you though- some insider gossip material. Not much this time though. Looks like he is running out of all the “idiots” and “losers” who would’nt do his kind of films- the Simbus and the Sarathkumars. Who knows, it might not be long before he does a film with Vijay too. If the dude could do 3 Idiots with Shankar, he could do a love story with GVM like VTV, especially after his so-called re-invented image in Kaavalan has had some success at the BO. Then, finally, GVM wouldnt have anyone left to bash.


  17. I might bow down and get that Tamil satellite connection if that serial ever comes to fruition.

    “I didn’t like anything he’d done from before.” – my sentiments exactly. Like the way this guy thinks.

    Re Ennavale – shows you how much distance there can be between thought and action.

    Wish he had elaborated on that mobile app thought.


  18. BR,

    He is shooting from hips! He is always been frank and honest! Good interview.

    I saw a few weeks ago in Vikatan that he got Kamal to do his next film……I was all excited and then came the anouncement that Kamal is doing a film with Selvaraghavan (playing a terrorist)….Well, I am excited for that also but I still wish Kamal does Gautam’s film too!! Any inside info on that, since you two seem to share a nice camaraderie!!!


  19. @br-I thought you are dedicating it to the reader Vijay who had an argument with director Gautam in this comment space once. No?
    (Note to self: If it is, you have been spending way too much time in here, lady!)


  20. apala: reg. “nice camaraderie” — every time he has a movie coming out, Express sends me to interview him. He’s nice chap to talk to, but I don’t know him well enough to dig for inside info. Sorry! :-)

    Hermoine Granger: I did. For some reason, everybody’s thinking of the other Vijay, the actor. Guess no one made the connection to reader-Vijay’s earlier comments on GVM :-)


  21. Or GPM? Gautam Peter Menon..Oops, before GVM comes and pwns me (like he did to poor Vijay)

    Btw Candid Interview. Nice!


  22. rameshram: The smackdown happened in this thread (you can see I recycled the title with one alphabet changed) — but I recall an earlier instance as well. I think it was the review for Pachaikili Muthucharam, and Gautham said something to the effect of his milkman using the odd English words and not being 100% Tamil in his speech. I think those comments were lost in the transfer from the old blog to the new one.


  23. Since all the regulars are making their presence felt, I’ll also raise my hand and say – “I was there too”

    Which was the post that Anurag Kashyap commented on? Or am I imagining things?!


  24. GVM seems to be desperately trying to sound irreverent, interesting and erudite all at the same time. I have nothing personal against him but his movies are so wannabe…I’ve had problems with almost everyone of them (save Kaakha Kaakha) at one level or the other but what gets me most is his frequent need to (not-so) subtly hint that his movies are pushing the envelope of Tamil cinema. Someone’s gotta tell him he’s living in cloud cuckooland !!

    An average writer and director, if only he understood a simple theory ‘Show, don’t tell’, we would all be spared of the horrible English dialogues in his movie. As one of my friends told me after VA, GVM urgently needs to read Sujatha’s “Thirai Kathai Ezhuthuvathu eppadi”. Unfortunately, its english translation is still not out !!

    Thanks to BR & old-timers for taking me back to 2008 and Vijay’s original criticism !!


  25. The first instinct is to say uncharitable things about the man. I mean what kind of film director even stoops to the level of a regular blog commentor(leave alone a film critic) and takes on these trivialities!

    then it occurs to one that if I were a filmmaker, I would do the same, not because I descend sometime from mount Olympus(which I do)but because thats what I do..maybe gautam menon is like that olly. does not excus the nonsense he’s written, of course.


  26. Would be interesting to find-out if he has plans of doing some ‘envelope-pushing’ for Hindi cinema as well. ‘Kakka kakka’ remake is about to be out, any idea about his reactions on that?


  27. And I have been refreshing this page ever so often waiting to hear Vijay’s comments on this one .Mostly I agree with what Vijay had to say in the past about GVM .IMO he tries to too hard to sell a certain image and somehow it all seems so damn affected and staged or at least that’s the way it plays out in his interviews and movies!
    “Koffee with Gautam”-How original is that for a title?At least a “Grey Goose with Gautham” would have rhymed for starters!


  28. Jupe ,
    Forget interviews .. Don’t we speak irreverent in our private conversations about stars, other stuff .. Whats wrong with GVM having an irreverence towards certain things ? He has definetly brought in something new to the Table … oru script ezudhi , adha pitch panni , padam paNradhu kulla javvu theernthidum !


  29. So disappointed. I thought the two indulged in some major mudslinging, but nothing of that sort happened. I kind of agree with Vijay. A police man saying freeze is a bit out of touch with reality. And I don’t understand why his cop-heroes are always eulogised. More than the “freeze” or the “Raghavan Instinct” in his films the “Nermai/ganniyam/kattupaadu” of Raghavan or Anbuselvan irks me.

    There is infact no difference between Walter Vetrivel and KK if we can look beyond the polished style of filmmaking and dialogues and songs. The content and the point of view regarding a policeman is very similar.

    I suppose he tries to make films about exceptions. I doubt if we would really be able to find someone like Anbu Selvan or Raghavan. Yutham Sei, for that matter, portrayed the lives of the policemen in a very nice way.


  30. rameshram: But why shouldn’t someone — a young director, who’s net-savvy and all that — take up cudgels on his own behalf? Yes, it may be futile trying to defend yourself (in the sense that no one ever changes their minds about anything), but something Vijay said must have hit a soft spot and provoked him. Normal human behaviour, no? :-)

    When filmmakers are on twitter and stuff, isn’t this just an additional level of interaction?

    Udhav: Sorry to have disappointed you. Romba buildup kuduthutteno? Were you expecting an e-version of WWF :-)


  31. Surely gvm’s use of english sticks out sorely on screen. I can’t help comparing it with the way kamal had incorporated the same so seamlessly in mma, surly nobody had any grouse with that, right? and mma had a hell a lot more of it. Gvm surely has to improve on that aspect of his craft. Kamal himself in mma had taken a dig at gvm in the scene where the mallu producer tells trisha that he writes his scripts in english! and trisha puts up a smug face i think… But in-spite of all this i do believe that he is a special film maker.


  32. Hmmm, GVM doesn’t deserve this much flak. Did the guy say he is envelope-pushing and all that? Isn’t that a term that(some of) the critics and (some of) the public laid on his head? I don’t know much about what makes great cinema and probably never will. But as a common viewer, I do care about the characters, the situations and the relationships he portrays. IMHO,I find them more real to connect to than,say, the romance in Mani Ratnam films. No, really. Simran speaking English as her husband threw up in Vaaranam Aayiram was a little odd at first, but did not distract my experience of the film in anyway. My tuppence.


  33. As a lay viewer, I meant that the situations are well carved out. The awkwardness, reality of standing right there, you feel it. Think an exhausted Jyothika in VV with the quiet pool of water collecting in her eyes saying, “Ungalukku ellam theriyum, aana idha sollirukka venaam-nu theriyale, le?” at the airport (or something to that effect). The auto-driver that interupts Divya Spandana in the bus-stop as she proposes to Surya in VA. Jyothika (in VV again)asking Kamal accidentally about life without his wife and then promptly apologizing, which is what usually happens. Not the structured dialogue that ppl usually say. Its better than all that cute “Nee romba azhaga irukke-nu nenakkale….” thing in Alaipayuthey IMHO. (I hate long comments, phew!)


  34. Im not sure what exactly it is about Mr Menon that irritates me. but something does.I wonder if it is my being let to believe, because of the drop dead gorgeous visuals in someoof his films , that there is more to menon as a filmmaker than there actually is (there isn’t.) or as some san diego academic said about Jiddu krishnamurthy, his ability, nay need to exhalt the ordinary into an air of privilaged entitlement , wants me to poke holes into his pomposity.

    you notice you dont want to do either of KS ravikumar. only of peter.

    the thing is, unlike Maniratnam, against whom such vitiating opinions have been used very effectively, Tamil intellectuals tensd to get eaten by their own- bharati, Kalki,etc, Gautam is relatively immune to all the singing and dancing about what a terrible director he is. when someone else’s son falls short of expectations, I guess the disappointment kills noone.


  35. This is the emic etic thing in sociology. Ksr gives you the impression of being a stone sculptor making pillaiar and Gautama of making one of those modern art pieces manian would be photographed with in idhayam pesugirathu.

    People are used to pillaiar but bereft of any cueing as to what they should do with a modern art piece, they attack it pretty mercilessly. Extreme example but illustrates my point.


  36. rameshram: Read this and thought it was interesting in light of the whole Gautham-responding-to-Vijay discussion above:

    “But most markedly because given the emotions involved, given all the years you spent writing your book or composing your music or perfecting your play before someone came along and spat on it, it’s extraordinarily difficult to respond to a bad review with grace.”


  37. wut?! artists feel bad when reading bad reviews?! aww! the poor darlings! lets coddle them….and then write bad reviews. :D


  38. rameshram: I was actually pointing towards that portion of the piece where artists have gone ballistic on their critics. That was fun to read, especially the Twitter thingee.


  39. Its always fun when that happens someone should do a “ten little indians” film where a successful filmmaker(Aditya chopra or someone) invites ten film critics to an Island for a weekend, and it turns out to be Yash Chopra’s revenge for critics being unkind to veer zara! (tat ta dan!!!!)


  40. “and it turns out to be Yash Chopra’s revenge for critics being unkind to veer zara! (tat ta dan!!!!)” – i would actually watch the resulting movie : ( inspired by reel life :-)


  41. I was surprised when Kamal actually said, “They are critics, we can criticise them.” I think critics have this Lakshman Rekha around them where they can talk whatever they want and not be accountable at all. I mean, I know a critic who has been basically writing crap for 15+ years.

    Even when critics have blogs the comment section is heavily moderated. And it is always about who has the bigger di*k. More so, with blogs. At least there should be a public vote on critics on FB or something :P

    PS – Not referring to you here :)


  42. “We want to put ourselves out as content creators and providers. I even want to do stuff for mobile phones – apps and games.”


    Lord, the God, please spare us from your creations.

    Thank you very much.


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