Dad and I won’t act together
.. says Gautham Karthik, as he opens up about his upcoming projects, including Rangoon that’s releasing this week
Being a star kid isn’t easy business. Ask Gautham Karthik, who believes it’s his greatest challenge to come out of the shadow of his family’s legacy and create an identity for himself. “It’s probably why I’ve never really gone out of my way to socialise much,” he says.
Cinema is all he wants. “My life is only about that,” he adds. “I don’t feel the necessity to be ‘seen’ all the time. I guess I should change that eventually.” Though launched by a director of Mani Ratnam’s stature, the going hasn’t been too great for Gautham since.
“All I can do is work to the best of my ability. I have given my 100 per cent in every film so far. I have no regrets about doing a Vai Raja Vai or Muthuramalingam because I consider them all to be a learning experience,” he adds.
“The comparisons with dad have reduced, as I haven’t been giving hits. So, there’s lesser pressure on me. I am consciously picking scripts that are different from each other.”
Gautham, who’s awaiting the release of Rangoon this week, has Indrajith, Ivan Thanthiran, Sippai, and Hara Hara Mahadevaki in the pipeline. “I am excited about having so many releases this year. I am also simultaneously shooting for Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren with Vijay Sethupathi. We are shooting in the Thalakonam forests, and for an entire day, I was hanging upside down without food and water for a stunt sequence,” he laughs.
Rangoon, he feels, has come at the right time in his career, as he was looking to push his limits as a performer. “I play a Burmese repatriate, who comes to Chennai for a living. I had to learn the challenging North Madras dialect. I sport a tanned look, and each time, it took me at least two hours to put on the makeup!”
For the actor brought up in Ooty, getting a chance to explore North Madras made for a memorable experience. “I went to places in Chennai I had never been. I gorged on the street food,” he smiles.
Heaping praises on director Rajkumar Periasamy, Gautham adds, “From day one, he was honest about the script and had total clarity. He did extensive research before beginning the film and every character has a sense of purpose. When you see the film, these aspects become evident. Rangoon is more than a film. It’s full of experiments.”
Does he discuss these scripts with his father? “We share a special bond, but he stays away from making these decisions. He is always proud of me.”
Favourite actor: Vijay Sethupathi is really cool. I’ve never seen an actor who gets involved in a script like he does
On comparisons with Karthik: They often compare the way I speak or express myself. During the Vai Raja Vai shoot, I remember Vivekh saying I sounded like my grandfather.
A Karthik film he’d like to remake: I don’t want to meddle with his classics including Mouna Ragam or Agni Natchathiram. Maybe Ullathai Allithaa?
Favourite directors: Mani Ratnam, Shankar, AR Murugadoss, Gautham Menon.
Dream role: A period film like Baahubali, of course!
Are there plans to do a film with him? “We have decided not to till I become a bankable hero.”
Thanks to the reduced pressure on him, he says he’s ready to take on a variety of films. “I have had the opportunity to play varied characters. I am glad I haven’t done just one type of character, or become stuck with one type of cinema,” he says.
Of his upcoming roles, he’s excited about Ivan Thanthiran in which he plays a college dropout. “It’s about reverse engineering--about making duplicate products,” he says.
Gautham realises a hit is overdue. “I have tried to figure out where I have gone wrong.
Despite being from a film background, I have had only four releases. I am learning what I can and can’t do. I think I can do justice to negative roles.”