Gautham Menon on ‘Thala55′ release and movie with Suriya [Interview]

Thala 55
There’s a lot of buzz about the upcoming Ajith-Gautham Menon film. Pretty much everything about the film is being kept under wraps. We nail the elusive Gautham for a chat, and get him talking about this film, Ajith, Suriya and more.
Gautham maintains, “I cannot reveal anything about Ajith’s role, because the treatment of the film is such that during the first 45 minutes, the audience will be guessing who the man is. It’s a character-driven film and Ajith’s character, Sathyadev, is also a good sketch for a sequel. And if things go well, I can even come up one.” But he gets candid about everything else. Excerpts…

Finally, a film with Ajith. How did it happen?
I wanted Ajith to act in Kaakha Khaakha and had approached him first. Then, it went to Vikram and then, finally Suriya. I was also supposed to do a film with Ajith when he was about to start Asal, then again, during Mankatha. We discussed a project, but couldn’t start it. I don’t have any reason as to why it didn’t happen, it just didn’t. Now, when the Suriya project was shelved and I was wondering what’s next, Ajith’s film came my way.
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When Suriya released a statement saying he was walking out Dhruvva Natchathiram, why didn’t you react?
He’d stated that I didn’t tell him the script. But the question is, whether I didn’t tell him the script at all, or didn’t tell him the one he’d like to hear. I was disappointed, but only for three hours. After that, I just moved on. That night itself we started the Simbu film. The next week we started filming with Ajith. Since then things have only got better, so I thought why even talk about it.

Will you work with Suriya again?
Right now, I don’t see that happening. Somewhere two people have to connect. Whenever I write a script, Trisha has been my first choice for lead because we have a good connect – like I feel with Ajith and the comfort level that I always feel with Simbu… till I feel that connect with somebody, I am not looking to work with that person.
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Have you gone out of your comfort zone and added commercial elements for a mass hero?
When we sat and discussed the project, Ajith told me, ‘let’s make a film that you are comfortable with’. Even if I try to infuse extra commercial elements just for him, he usually says no to it. And also, I don’t know how to commercialise anything, I have never done that. There is absolutely no pressure on me from any side.

Romance is your forte. Can we get to see a romantic Ajith?
Yes, absolutely. The audience will get to see a romantic Ajith in this film. We’ve shot a romantic song, Mazhai Varapoguthey, recently with Ajith and he has done it beautifully.

You haven’t announced a title for this film, yet.
We have a title, but we want to wait before announcing it. There is so much buzz around it and this is exactly what a hero’s film is all about. We are planning to release the film this December and the audio launch in November – we’re planning to announce the title around this time.

We’ve heard that Ajith doesn’t want his character’s name highlighted in the title…
What you have heard is true…

When will you start working on the Simbu film again?
I have got just 30 days’ shoot left for that film. I will re-start it as soon as I finish the current one. I know there are rumours that it has been shelved, but as I said earlier, I should be either rich or weird to drop this film. I am neither, so I will definitely start that film in December.


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