I happened to read the book “Conversations with Mani Ratnam” by Baradwaj Rangan the other day in which Mr: Rangan states that the best thing of Mani Ratnam’s movies was its realistic urban portrayal. Mr: Rangan mentions how much the younger crowd identified themselves those days in Mani Ratnam’s movies which didn’t happen with any other film maker then. This made me think if there were someone’s movies in my generation where the young blood can relate to and identify themselves with. The answer was almost instant! Gautham Vasudev Menon!
I am here in no way comparing. But thinking of someone who etches urban characters, urban love and portrays urban reality consistently, I could not think of anybody else but Gautham in the contemporary Tamil cinema. I use the word consistently here because this has been throughout right from Minnale to the latest NEP. The beauty of Gautham’s characters are that you would have often come across them in your real life or at times identify yourself with the character or the situations the character is being put in.
Love has always been the main USP of any Gautham’s movie irrespective of its genre. Even in serious movies like Kakha Kakha and Vettayadu Vilayadu one can find beautiful love episodes between Anbu selvan - Maya and Raghavan - Aradhana and this love is etched with utmost genuineness and sincerity. Needless to say about the beautiful love stories in VA, VTV or the latest NEP.
Gautham brings utmost dignity to his female characters and this is the main asset of his films. They are not the usual chirpy, bubbly and childish portrayals but are unique, matured, realistic and have individuality. This makes his female characters fresh and extremely realistic. Be it Reena, Maya, Aradhana, Meghna or the latest Jessie and Nitya .
Talking about criticism, there is always this one regarding the usage of English. But that is what urban reality is. Well, You hardly find a city guy talking pure Tamil to a girl these days irrespective of his command on the language and that is what is being shown. When the rural slang is being worked on a character from a village to make it realistic, these bits and pieces of English make the urban portrayal realistic.
When we have a good number of directors from Bala, Ameer to the latest Samudrakani, Prabu Solomon etc., portraying rural and semi urban flicks sensibly, we seldom have directors who put on screen true urban flicks. We need your movies Gautham, at least for this balance.
Finally, Thanks Gautham!! Thanks for all those movies, for all those relatable characters and those beautiful love stories!!
Ar Venkat Raghav