The Gautham Ramachandran Interview: Nivin Pauly is a dream to work with

Gautham Ramachandran who made his debut as director with Richie talks to Deepa Antony about the film and working with Nivin Pauly

A fairly unfamiliar name to the Malayalam cinema aficionados, Gautham Ramachandran is however familiar to the Tamil movie industry. After having assisted director Myshkin on some of his well reputed cinemas Gautham Ramachandran is all set to make his debut in the Tamil industry with Richie with our very own Nivin Pauly in the lead. While the movie opens in the theatres Gautham opens up about his movie and his style of film-making.

  • Richie is your debut movie as a director and Nivin Pauly’s first straight out Tamil movie. How much of a pressure are you in?
  • As my first project I know that my skills are being put to test. It has been a learning experience and I’ve taken lot of time in the post-production, close to 30 months actually. So, there is an undeniable pressure to bring out a good cinema. But, quite frankly, Nivin and I were very sure from the very beginning that the moment you aim at making a blockbuster hit thinking hard what the audience would like you start to fail. We were very clear that our aim was to make a cinema that would be a treat to the audience. Our aim is to make a pleasurable cinema, nothing more and nothing less!
  • You mentioned having spent a lot of time in the pre-production of Richie. Tell us about the effort that went into it.
  • I’m sure you must know that Richie is based on ‘Ulidavaru Kandante’, a Kannada movie by Rakshit Shetty. I say based on the movie because in Richie we’ve made many, many changes to make it the story that we wanted to tell. I started working on Richie in, I guess June 2016. So, Richie has undergone many changes since we sincerely hope to see how the audience reacts to the movie.
  • After being a part of the film industry you are finally the ‘Captain’ of your own ‘ship’! How does it feel?
  • (Laughs) ‘Captain of the ship’ and all is very over-rated! But, to be honest I am very excited because this is what I’ve wanted to be all my life! I remember watching Fargo in 1996-97 and falling in love with cinema. I still remember watching Roja with my father and wanting to be a film-maker. In all these 20 years I dreamt of making my own cinema and here I am!
  • So, what took you so long?
  • Well, I come from a lower middle-class family. There was no way my parents would allow me to plunge into cinema. Infact, my parents have tried every trick in the book to dissuade me from cinema and “drive some sense into me”! But I didn’t care about anything else. They said I couldn’t pursue cinema till I had a strong back-up. So I went and became a lawyer; worked in a law firm in Bangalore and London for quite a while. One day I decided enough is enough and took the plunge. So, I landed in Chennai to learn film-making and joined Rajeev Menon’s course at Mindscreen Film Institute in Screen writing and Direction. Then I went on to assist and here I am.
  • Nowadays anyone with a camera can achieve a certain technical perfection in film-making. You’ve, however, taken the long route towards being a director. Would you still advice it?
  • I’ve seen some people become good film-makers without academics, by sheer virtue of experience. And, that ok, I respect that. But I believe in the combination I chose- that of experience and academics. I’m happy with the route I’ve taken- of studying and working. Anybody can become a director, as you said. But the real question is how many can be a good director.
  • Nivin Pauly is a superstar in Malayalam. You’ve been friends with him for some time now. How was it being his director?
  • Nivin (Pauly) is a dream to work with, man! He spoils his director so much that it’s no wonder all his directors, be it Vineeth Sreenivasan, Alphonse (Puthran), or Jude (Anthany Joseph), all his friends, come back to him with their movies. He is a director’s actor, and most importantly he gets very involved and gives insightful suggestions because he is aware of what’s happening around him. He is much grounded in that way. And he has zero tantrums when he is on the set, be it with the director, producer or the light boy.
  • Tell us about the movie Richie.
  • You’ll see Nivin in Richie like you have never seen Nivin before. He is ruthless and walks like he rules the world. There’s a very negative shade in him here. Richie is a crime drama. In every village you see an outsider who comes with some emotional baggage of his. This story involves such a drama that unfolds.
  • How are your leading ladies?
  • Gorgeous and friendly! (Laughs) But jokes apart, my story has very limited scope for a female protagonist, except for a journalist who comes in to investigate the crime and follows certain leads.
  • You have roots here in Kerala. Would you consider doing a Malayalam film eventually?
  • I consider myself 33% Malayali, 33% Bangalorean and 33% Chennai-ite. My father is a Malayali. So, I’m a Malayali based out of Bangalore who is now in Chennai to make movies. About making a Malayalam movie- definitely! My third cinema will hopefully be a Malayalam movie! I have one more year for that. After one more Tamil movie my next will be in Malayalam! Richie is out in the theatres for the viewers to seal the fate of this new director on the block. And as he signs off from this conversation he is confident about having made Richie a pleasurable treat for all movie afficianodoes!



CONVERSATION byFilmization

27 Feb 2018 | 12:39 PM