Varanam Aayiram Synopsis
Adding that extra fizz and ferver to the festival of lights next month will be Gautham Vasudeva Menon's "Vaaranam Aayiram" (Thousand Elephants). If the star-studded audio release function at Satyam Cinema on Sept.24 is any indication, the film promises to have a grand opening on Deepavali day. Trailers and songs from the film cast a spell on the guests.august gathering. Gautham-Surya-Harris combo has worked wonders. Hailed as a new age film-maker, Gautham's strength lays in strong scripts, ways of story-telling, characterization and realistic portrayal of life. "Kaakha", "Vetayadu Vilayadu" and "Minnale" stand testimony to his genius. "Vaaranam Aayiram" is yet another milestone in his seven-year career which saw him make four Tamil films and remake two of his own Tamil films in Hindi and Telugu. The title of the new film itself sounds unique. Shivkumar, father of Surya, who spoke at the music lunch, explained that the words "Vaaranam Aayiram" meaning "Thousand elephants" figure in 'Andal Pasuram' a classical Tamil work of one of the Alwars. The film deals with a common man's life from the time he is born till the time his career ends (from 16 to 60). The ups and downs in his life are chronicled - his falling in live, marriage to the girl of his dreams, his mother's aspirations for him and above all, the deep love and special bonding that he shared with his father, who was his role model. In a newspaper interview, Gautham says he has given special emphasis to the father-son relationship. To a certain extent, it is autobiographical but cinematic licence has been taken to make it an entertainer. He conceived the story after his father's death. For every man, his father "is his biggest hero and an inspiration.." "When I narrated the story to Surya he said he had similar feelings about his dad. So, in a way, it is a tribute to all the fathers in the world. It is mostly from my life and the lives of some people I know," Gautham says. Has he been inspired by Tom Hank's 1994 Oscar-winning classic "Forrest Gump"? He says he may have been influenced by Forrest Gump." But, there is nothing more to it. My film is autobiographical. It is a biopic of sorts and most of it is taken from incidents in my life. The rest is pure fantasy." Harris Jayaraj, lyricist Thamarai, editor Antony and art director Rajeevan are Gautham's core team. "Vaaranam Aayiram" has seven songs. This is the highest number for any Gautham's films so far. He says every song takes the screenplay forward and does not bog down the story. The "Adiye Kolluthu" song shows 90 days in the life of the hero, a period in which he falls in love. Surya plays a double role. He had to be almost on a starvation diet for 14 months to have the physical changes required for his role. No other actor, not even Sivaji Ganesan and MGR could do this, Shivkumar told the gathering at the audio launch. Surya ate only greens and leaves to transform himself as a 17-year-old boy. Talking about his VA heroines, Gautham says Divya Spandana (Priya) as the girl next- door gives a brilliant performance. "We were the first film unit to shoot at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun only because of her contacts." Sameera Reddy plays a character who looks imposing and intimidating, for whom the hero 'flips his lid" and she is apt for the role of Megha. Simran is the hero's first love Malini. Gautham says, "She has a touch of grace and aristocracy, exactly the character I had in mind. Simran is very good in the film and has also dubbed in her own voice."