A romantic at heart, Gautam Menon is the film-maker of the moment

The response to Gautham Vasudev Menon's bi-lingual Ye Maya Chesave (Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya in Tamil) is overwhelming and the film-maker feels humbled. The icing on the cake was 80-year-old director K. Balachander showering accolades and rating him among the best South Indian film-makers over the decades.

For Gautham, the real success lies beyond box office. His Facebook account and blog are filled with comments. “People have had a personal connect with the film. Like in the film, someone has thrown a phone in anger, another has scaled the wall or has had a similar confrontation with parents…,” he says.

YMC can be dismissed as just another feel-good love story where religion and age difference (the heroine being two years older to the hero) play a role. The narrative and treatment set the film apart. Gautham says, “The first line I wrote was ‘Of all the women in the world why did I fall in love with Jessy?' I explored further, developed the character of the heroine. I've seen inconsistent women like Jessy and men like Karthik in real life.”

Gautham played safe and pitched the film as a simple love story to curtail expectations. “It's actually an intense love story with a dark line running through. In Tamil, since I was producing it, I took the risk and had a realistic ending. The couple don't get together and the film ends with a sense of hope. In Telugu, since another producer was involved, I went for a happy ending.”

In fact, ‘a dark line running through' has been common in his films Kakka Kakka (Gharshana), Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (Raghavan) and Vaaranam Aayiram (Surya s/o Krishnan). Gautham shrugs, “It's not intentional.” But he likes having leading women with effortlessly powerful characterisation.

Gautham's penchant for music and good visuals render a magical quality to his films. He credits the visual poetry of YMC to cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa. Even before Rahman's songs were ready, Gautham had a fair idea of the mood and visuals for the songs. “Then I heard the songs at least a 100 times on my iPod and iPhone. We shot in Malta (Italy). Anyone can put a camera there and get wonderful visuals. I choreographed the songs myself. A good art director, editor and costumes by Nalini Sriram made a difference.”

The film-maker has a way with handling romance on screen and says with a smile, “I am a romantic at heart. I like to show love in a way that will bring a smile or a tear to viewers.”

There are offers to remake YMC in Hindi but Gautham is cautious. He hasn't forgotten the cold turkey, Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein. “I started on a wrong foot. Minnale was so earthy. In Hindi, I had to go with Vashu Bhagnani's vision. We shot the film abroad and made it look like Mumbai. It didn't work. This time, if there will be a Hindi remake, I'd like to produce it.”

Next, Gautham is planning a bi-lingual with the Telugu version starring Mahesh Babu. He is also working on Ajith's 50{+t}{+h} Tamil film and has another script, Thuppariyum Anand, a cop story set in Madras Presidency in the 1920s.