Never knew my dad was a big deal in Tamil cinema then: Gautham Karthik
The actor's latest release, Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu, has been mired in controversy over its adult content
Unlike most star kids, Gautham's exposure to films didn't begin with him tagging along with his father to shoots. At the time, he was busy studying at a boarding school in Ooty, and later, pursued his graduation in Psychology, English and Media Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. In his words, he was away from "films and the media glare."
He's a third-generation actor, after his father Karthik and grandfather R Muthuraman, and yet, he says films happened to him "by chance."
"Truth be told, I didn’t show much inclination towards films. In school, I was a part of stage plays, sure, but never thought I'd become an actor. My debut venture (Kadal) happened when I least expected it," he adds.
Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu, which got released last week, is his tenth film. "I have always wanted to experiment with various genres, and thankfully, in the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity. I did the film only because of Santhosh P Jayakumar (director). It's not every day you find someone sensible and witty, who works fast and knows the pulse of the audience."
Wasn't he apprehensive about signing such a film? "Iruttu Araiyil... was neither meant for the family audience nor anyone below 18. We knew our boundaries, and Santhosh didn't hurt anyone's sentiments with his film. Also, I am sure nobody was projected in wrong or vulgar light".
Gautham recalls how some scenes in the film needed 25-30 takes. "I was surrounded by a group of comedy artistes who kept cracking jokes. We were required to shoot a couple of serious scenes in the film. Even then, we couldn't control our laughter. Santhosh is someone who never loses his cool. But when we repeatedly did the same, even he got pissed off at one point!"
He feels no other director has understood him like Santhosh. "I won't mind doing another film with him. But definitely not an adult horror comedy," he says, with a laugh.
Gautham admits that his instinctive choices have not always worked out in his favour. "Muthuramalingam didn't do well at the box office, but that has not stopped me from trying the rural genre again. I am teaming up with Muthiah of Komban fame next for a rural film, produced by Studio Green, which I'll be shooting for from the second week of June."
He doesn't regret his choices however. "I do believe that the place I am in today is a consequence of those choices."
Up next, he has Mr Chandramouli lined up for the release. He shares screen space with his dad for the first time in the film. "I didn't know appa was a big deal in the industry until people told me so. I knew he was an actor, but I had seen only five or six films of his."
He doesn't want to be compared with his father. "It hasn't been easy to meet expectations. Dad taught me to be independent, and doesn't interfere with my career choices."
How does he hope to grow in the future? "Promoting films is definitely a task, and I've learned that I need to be available on the phone 24x7. Also, it's tedious to repeat the same answers when journalists ask similar questions. Also, I've not mastered the art of speaking in Tamil fluently. I hope to work on these little things," he signs off.