ON SEPARATING AJITH FROM HIS MASS IMAGE
Ajith was always telling me, 'I'm coming to do a film with you, I don't want you to change anything around for me'. So we discussed something like a Vettaiyadu Vilayaadu, an extension of the same character and he liked the idea. We set it up and there were a lot more lines if the film that didn't make it to the final cut because he felt those were written for him and he asked me to tone it down.
ON COLLABORATING WITH WRITERS SHRIDHAR RAGHAVAN AND THIAGARAJAN KUMARARAJA
I've always looked to reach out to a few writers. It's just that Shridhar has always been there. He's like a good friend. At the same time he'll want to know what I'm doing and he'll try to take the project forward. He still feels my Hindi work should have been on a better platform. Kumararaja is somebody, even though he has just made one film, I just like for who he is.
I went into this film with a DVD of Race that was given to me, they asked me to remake this film. I convinced Ajith sir that I don't want to remake anything. I said give me a month, I'll write something. So I went in with a 60 per cent script. Because it was set up like that I reached out to Shridhar and I said I have a few ideas on how to take this forward, let's collaborate. Shridhar listened to what I had and he setup the whole organ trade idea.
Three-fourths into the film, with the last act opening up, I was discussing it with Kumararaja, and he gave me a few ideas. He saw it as the story of two people who start off their journeys together but there is a boy in a restaurant where a murder happens. The man who gets shot, he is orphaned that day and he has to take a call over how his life will unfold. And there's another boy who's a cleaner in the restaurant. He sees the antagonist kill the simple man and walk away and thinks, 'I want to be like him'. So it's two people on either side of a line. Kumararaja pointed that out and I etched it out. It didn't make it to the final cut for various reasons. But we released it in the US version.
ON THE WHETHER THE CLIP OF MOONDRU MUGAM PLAYING ON THE TV WAS A HOMAGE
Yes, it was. There is this actual scene in Yennai Arindhal also where Ashish Vidyarthi walks in and takes Ajith on – that was completely inspired by Moondru Mugam. It's one of those scenes that's etched in my mind, so, automatically I was waiting for a moment to bring that in somewhere.
PLANS FOR YENNAI ARINDHAL 2
Yeah, I have an idea for Yennai Arindhal 2. It's a 30 per cent script now, and I promised Ajith sir, the next time I come to him, it'll be a full bound script. He did wait a very long time for the climax of Yennai Arindhal. I thought he was a little bothered by that. It's my fault completely, so I thought the next time I go to him, which I can go anytime, I'm hoping, Ill give him a full bound script and take it forward.
Catch the full interview with Gautham Menon here