NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

Rediff News  All News  » Movies » 'It's a dream-come-true to work with Mani Ratnam'

'It's a dream-come-true to work with Mani Ratnam'

Last updated on: January 31, 2013 10:40 IST

'It's a dream-come-true to work with Mani Ratnam'


Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

He has acting in his DNA, being the grandson of the late Muthuraman and son of Karthik. Gautham Karthik, who is being launched by Mani Ratnam in the Tamil film Kadal (Kadali in Telugu) is just like any 20 something excited about what he does.

He grew up in Udagamandalam (Ooty) and was studying at Christ University, Bangalore, when Kadal happened. 

The smart and articulate Gautham talks about the experience of acting in Kadal that releases on February1.

Was it a dream-come-true to work with Mani Ratnam in your very first film?

Yes, a dream-come-true. Honestly, it's a blessing given and the opportunity taken. It's a huge blessing.

How did you feel when your father told you that you were being considered by Mani Ratnam for a film?

I was in Bangalore studying in my final year of college. I was brought to Chennai to meet Mani Sir. He asked me, "Tamil pesuvaiya?" (do you speak Tamil). I said, yes, much to the surprise of my father who asked when I had learnt to speak it.

Then I went back to college. A week later, Mani Sir called to say he had a story. I thought he wanted me to work in the unit as an assistant director.

He narrated the story and I said it was a fantastic, lovely story. I waited for two weeks. Then my Dad said Mani Sir wanted to meet me again. When I met him, he gave me two scenes and said, "You are auditioning."

I performed in a panic. Mani Sir said he was happy. I went back home baffled at what he wanted. When I reached home, I saw my Dad standing at the door with the message on his phone, 'Very happy, he's the hero.'

I heard it from my Dad's mouth. I was blown away with that message. I laughed, cried and jumped.

Image: Gautham Karthik in Kadal


'I had to help audition some of the heroines till Thulasi was found'

Prev     Next


So, you must have been over the moon?

I was on all those moons and clouds. I went to Bangalore but I couldn't tell friends. I was away from the city for six months and told them to bear with me as I'm doing some training.

I removed my photos from Facebook and asked my friends to remove any photo of mine if they had put it on any sites. My friends were supportive and didn't pry too much.

Once I started shooting, I told them I was doing Mani Sir's film and they were all psyched up. They said, wow, you didn't tell us, we would have managed things.

So, you were the first to come on board for Kadal...

Yes, I was. I had to help audition some of the heroines till Thulasi was found!

I was not just an act I was also like an AD. Even while shooting, I would help out on the sets. I was involved totally in the film making.

Did you always want to be an actor?

I was interested in acting as a child. I used to watch Dad (as he was a hero) and wanted to grow up and be like him. Then, like all children, I wanted to be a pilot, astronaut, and even Superman!

When I grew up, I decided to pursue a proper career in the media – may be in an ad agency or in graphic designing and art. I was studying Media Studies, English and Psychology.

My hobbies are music and kickboxing. I was part of a band and we played in Bangalore till we disbanded last year. In school I used to do trekking, kayaking.

I took a year off after finishing school and before joining college to work in a jungle resort at Masinagudi as housekeeping manager and guest relations officer. I took people out, entertained them, played music for them. All this experience has helped.

Image: Gautham Karthik in Kadal

Prev     Next

'I met fishermen for two months to get into my character'

Prev     Next


Could you talk about your role?

I play Thomas, a fisherman who is put through a lot of situations and the different choices he makes. This makes the character relatable.

Was living with fishermen a part of the preparation?

I didn't live with them; I met them for two months in Chennai. I used to go out fishing with them in the catamaran at 4 am in the morning and return at 11 am.

Two fishermen, a person from Mani Sir's office and I would go. This was to know different ways to use the net line, to sail, to fix the catamaran, how to ride it and bring it to the shore, feel the undercurrent and so on.

I could get their slang and body language. While shooting in Manappad I got some valuable information interacting with some of the head fishermen. The children used to play some crazy games and I too played with them when I found time.

It must have been difficult to shoot this film considering you had to do it in and around the sea...

Yes, it was difficult. Co-ordinating boats – camera boats, director boats, actors boats was difficult. It was also a test of physical endurance. A lot of people had sea-sickness. Only Mani Sir and I didn't develop it. Everyone had to get used to the sea. We got the hang of it towards the end and it became easy then.

Image: Gautham Karthik in Kadal

Tags: Thomas , Chennai

Prev     Next

'Mani sir makes you evolve as an actor'

Prev     Next


Was shooting during Cyclone Nilam scary?

I was absolutely frightened. The crew were so dedicated and they wanted to do it. I overcame the fear looking at Mani Sir braving the storm and going in.

You become confident then. We shot effectively with safety measures but with nature one can never tell.

How was it working with seasoned people like Arjun and Arvind Swamy?

Working with both was fun. Both are dedicated actors. Arjun Sir hung upside down for two-three hours! He taught me about safety measures, timing and co-ordination, being the Action King. He got me safety pads.

Arvind Sir is very cool and fun-loving. He has this twinkle of mischief in his eyes. He's a great family man.

Arjun Sir would rehearse and then go and do the shot, while Arvind Sir was more spontaneous. I saw two different styles of acting. Both shared their personal experiences. It was a blessing to be with them.

And how was it being directed by Mani Ratnam? How did he guide you?

Mani Sir is hard-working, focused and energetic while he is in the office. On the sets, he is not just behind the monitor but checks everything, right from costumes to the art department, before he comes to the artists for the shot.

He keeps you thinking all the time and helps you evolve as an actor. Off the sets he's very friendly and fun-loving. He knows how to enjoy himself too.

After every day's shoot, Mani Sir would pat me on the back and say "good job."

Image: Gautham Karthik in Kadal

Prev     Next

'My parents cant stop watching the trailers of Kadal'


Were you nervous facing the camera for the first time?

I was a little nervous and afraid. Mani Sir didn't let me feel so. The first shot was on a bike in Manappad. On the first day there were a lot of intense and challenging scenes, which helped me to be at ease on other days.

What does it feel like being in the spotlight, giving interviews?

This is completely a new challenge. I guess I will get better in the days to come.

The only thing is I can't roam around like before. I used to travel in buses. Now I can't do that. Some sacrifices have to be made since I chose to be in this field.

How have your parents reacted to your doing the film?

After the trailers were released, my Dad and Mom can't stop watching them. They are thrilled to bits.

Mom has gone a step further in making a scrap book of all my interviews in newspapers.

Image: Movie poster of Kadal