Gautham Vasudev Menon (Gautham Menon)
Gautham Vasudev Menon (born 25 February 1973), known as Gautham Menon, is an Indian film director and producer, who predominantly works in South Indian cinema. Many of his films have been critically acclaimed, most notably his semi-autobiographical Vaaranam Aayiram (2008), Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010) and his action-thrillers Kaakha Kaakha (2003), Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006). Vaaranam Aayiram won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil. Gautham Menon spearheaded releasing movies of same content in different languages, simultaneously. He produces films through his London Stock Exchange-listed Photon Kathaas film production company.
Gautham was born to a Malayali father and Tamil mother on 25 February 1973 in Ottapalam, a town in Palakkad district of Kerala. Although, born in Kerala he grew up in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. He studied Mechanical Engineering in Mookambigai College of Engineering, Trichy.
Gautham Menon was a student of mechanical engineering at Mookambigai College of Engineering, Trichy in the batch of 1993, and his time there inspired to make his lead characters of Minnale, Vaaranam Aayiram and Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, students of the same course. He claims to have been inspired by films such as Dead Poets Society and Nayagan and expressed his desire to his parents to change career path and become a filmmaker and consequently wrote his first film at his college hostel. His mother insisted he became an ad film maker by shooting various commercials and took an apprenticeship under filmmaker Rajiv Menon. He went on to work as an assistant director for Minsara Kanavu in 1997, in which he also appeared in a cameo role.
Gautham Menon launched a Tamil romantic film O Lala in 2000 with the project eventually changing producers and title into Minnale with Madhavan, who was at the beginning of his career, being signed on to portray the lead role. About the making of the film, Menon revealed that he found it difficult as the team was new to the industry with only the editor of the film, Suresh Urs, being a prominent technician in the industry. Menon had come under further pressure when Madhavan had insisted that Menon narrated the story to his mentor, Mani Ratnam, to identify if the film was a positive career move after the success of his Alaipayuthey. Despite initial reservations, Menon did so and Ratnam was unimpressed; however Menon has cited that he thought that Madhavan “felt sorry” and later agreed to continue with the project. The film also featured Abbas and newcomer Reemma Sen in significant roles, whilst Menon introduced Harris Jayaraj as music composer with the film. The film was advertised as a Valentine’s Day release in 2001 and told the tale of a young man who falls in love with the girl engaged to his ex-college rival and how he manages to get married to her. Upon release it went on to become a large success commercially and won positive reviews from critics with claims that the film had a lot of ” lot of verve and vigour” and that it was “technically excellent”.
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