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Helming the same love story in two languages

Last updated on: March 9, 2010 16:39 IST

Helming the same love story in two languages

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Gautham Vasudev Menon has woven magic with his Telugu film Ye Maya Chesaave (YMC) and its Tamil version Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya.

The beautifully scripted love story by Gautham Menon has captivated the audience and given Naga Chaitanya a much needed hit.

Chaitanya and Samantha are the lead protagonists in this very realistic, almost poetic love story which has sent the cash registers ringing at the box office.

More than a week after release of the film, Gautham Vasudev Menon fields questions on the difference between the two versions and his future plans for Telugu films.

Ye Maya Chesaave is doing well. You must be elated...

Yes, absolutely. People related to the characters. That reaction is overwhelming.


Image: A scene from Ye Maya Chesaave

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'Casting Samantha was my decision'

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How did you decide to do Ye Maya Chesaave? Chaitanya told us about 60 per cent of Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya was shot when he started to film Ye Maya Chesaave.

The script was written in Hyderabad. Manjula wanted me to do a film for Mahesh Babu. So I wrote the script (in English and Tamil) in a week and narrated to Mahesh in Tamil. He liked it. Then we thought people might want to see an action film from us. In the meanwhile, I spoke to my partners and they loved the script. I was looking for new actors but my partners wanted Simbu.

Then Manjula got in touch asking whether we could do the film in Telugu as Chaitanya is a promising actor. I agreed as I had written it for her. I had to narrate it to Nagarjuna. He loved it.

How did you cast Samantha?

Casting Samantha was my decision. I had tested seven to eight girls. Samantha was well known to my unit. I did a screen test and then convinced Manjula. She too liked her.


Image: A scene from Ye Maya Chesaave

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'I am very candid and don't believe in rehearsals'

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Both Chaitanya and Samantha did a fine job. You extracted good performances from them...

It was a case of right casting. They were fresh and had no baggage and no image (which was the idea of the script). They were hard working.

Chai was used to Josh (his first film) so he took some time to get used to my style of working. I am very candid and don't believe in rehearsals. Samantha too was hard working. The break-up scene was filmed in two separate shots (which we later put together). Both did a good job.

Why did you decide to have a different ending in Ye Maya Chesaave as compared to Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya? You did the same thing in Gharshana (remake of Khaka Khaka) too...

The producer and actor wanted a happy ending in Ye Maya Chesaave. In Gharshana Vekatesh insisted on the girl being alive at the end. Manjula said no to another ending. She told us not to experiment. So we had to have a different ending. Whereas in Tamil, I could retain what I wanted as I was producer.

In Telugu there have been films with a poignant ending like Maro Charitra, Shankarabharanam and Swatimuthyam. The audience will accept whatever ending you give them.


Image: A scene from Ye Maya Chesaave

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'Rahman was inspired by the script'

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Ye Maya Chesaave was very lyrical; it was beautifully conceptualised, shot in beautiful locales and had a terrific background score. How challenging was it to write the emotions and bring the lyricism on screen?

Thank you for the compliment. I wrote it in one stretch. I didn't set it out as a love story. I began with the sentence, "Of all the women in the world why should I fall in love with Jessie." 

There were cliches too like the boy and girl belonging to different religions, the girl being older and objection from the girl's father.

Most girls are realistic, practical, sensible and tend to move on in life. Boys are not so. I worked around that. I had good technicians and actors who helped me carry that out. Manoj (cinematographer) helped me to reach out to the audience with visuals. And of course A R Rahman enhanced it with music.

Rahman's background score was symphonic and he accentuated the lyricism. How did both of you work together?

He heard the script and loved it. He wanted it to reach out to the international audience, which is why he had English songs. He complemented the scenes. He took longer to do the score and also sat in the final mix. There were a lot of suggestions from his side. Hosanna was one. He was inspired by the script.


Image: A scene from Ye Maya Chesaave

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'I am planning a Telugu film with minimum dialogues'

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As a creator, how do you feel shooting the film in two languages? It may be unfair to compare...

Yes, it is. In Tamil Simbu and Trisha were experienced artists. In Telugu we wanted a fresh pair. Everybody had a negative feel about it and said the Tamil looks better. I said don't compare and let us release on the same day and they will do well. Many scenes were handled differently in Telugu. The shot division was different. Chaitanya and Samantha took time to get into the characters.

How comfortable are you shooting in Telugu? Would you like to do more films in Telugu?

My problem is the language. I write in English and Tamil. I can add more lines on the spot to dialogues when making Tamil films which I can't do with Telugu. I had to sit with the dialogue writer (Anuradha), discuss and understand the changed lines. A lot of time would pass in this.

I am planning to do a Telugu film with minimum dialogues. This is the film I scripted for Mahesh with Indira Productions. But I would like to do it (not with Indira Productions) with any other producer if Mahesh is willing and gives dates.

Will you be doing more films with Chaitanya now that you have worked with him?

Nagarjuna and Chaitanya have asked me to do a film with them. I am comfortable with Chaitanya. He's a nice kid.

Image: A scene from Ye Maya Chesaave

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