Direction Dreams: ‘Gautham Menon takes great care of us’
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations and this week it is Swetha Visvanathan
Swetha Visvanathan worked with Gautham Vasudev Menon in Enai Noki Paayum Thota and Dhruva Natchathiram and her main responsibilities were costumes, artiste management and coordination between various departments.
Writing has always fascinated me. Gautham’s films have always stood out from those made by others, thanks to the way he writes his characters. They are people everyone can relate to and often, be inspired by. It was after watching Vaaranam Aayiram that I got interested in filmmaking. I couldn’t begin pursuing it as a career immediately though. I joined a company after my post graduation, but sometime later, when I came upon an opportunity to work with Gautham, I instantly took it up.
What do you like about working with him?
I love how he takes care of his directorial team. He is also very approachable; anyone amongst us can talk to him and convey our suggestions. I think it’s because he has been an assistant director himself, but I have never seen him lose cool even when things go wrong.
What have you learned about films from him?
Spontaneity. This is the one thing that every aspiring filmmaker needs to learn. To spontaneously react to situations, and cope with any deviations to the original plan.
What’s the oddest or most memorable thing you have done as an AD?
When I disclosed to Gautham my plans of making an independent film, Porkkanamaai Arpudhamaai, he was very excited for me. He was genuinely happy about me making a mark on my own and even gave me a word of advice. He wished me luck for the shoot, and told me that whatever happens, I should never forget to relish the process of filmmaking.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you were having a tough time with, but are better at now?
I initially had a tough time with post-production. Writing and screenplay were areas I was already familiar with, but post-production was entirely new, and seemed like a Herculean task initially. But as I gained experience, I realised that it is not as difficult as it looks from the outside.
Have you ever been star-struck?
I was star-struck by Vikram, but he is extremely friendly and one of the most down-to-earth stars. A lot of times, he has initiated conversations with the assistant directors and has always showed interest in what we have to say.
What do you think you can bring to Tamil cinema if given an opportunity to direct?
I would like to simultaneously provide content for different mediums and for different platforms like Netflix, Prime and others. Digital platforms are growing at an exponential rate and it is the next big bubble. Yet, it is still something that we have not extensively explored.
What are your future projects?
I’ve written a coming-of-age story of a girl, and also a sci-fi script.
If filmmaking doesn’t work out, what then?
I have not thought about it, but I guess I would probably set up a restaurant?