Dissecting the Movies of Director Gautham Vasudev Menon

Raghunandh G.S | Mar 03, 2017 | | | |


The protagonist and his girlfriend are on a road trip on a Royal Enfield bike. Suddenly they are hit by a container lorry and they are tossed up in the air. The bike, the hero and the heroine - all three are tossed up in the air. The bike takes most of the damage followed by the hero, the container and last but also least the heroine. What comes next is not an ambulance nor a patrol vehicle belonging to the highway police department but a song, that too one of the best feel-good songs in recent times, Thalli pogathey. That is the moment I decide that I should do some analysis about the movies directed by Gautham Menon.

First, let's take a look at all the movies he has directed so far.

Cop Stories

He has directed 10 movies so far and 50% of his movies have the protagonist either as a cop or someone who becomes one by the end of the movie. In one of these movies, the hero is an Engineering graduate, MBA Graduate and prepares for civil service examination for two and a half years and becomes a cop. Talk about clarity in life. On average, movies with a cop as the protogonist have longer runtime compared to the other ones.

Another important aspect of Gautham's movie is the songs. Songs are too good to miss in his movies. Even people who have the habit of leaving the theater hall for a smoke during songs stay back, listen to the song and then leave for a smoke once it is over. Such is the reputation of songs in his movies. I took the total runtime of the songs and compared it with the runtime of the movie.

Runtime of songs & movies

29% of the movie Neethane En Ponvasantham is songs. Almost close to one-third of the movie is songs. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar would have made a better hero for this movie than Jeeva. There must be a disclaimer before this movie which says "do not go out for smoking during the songs. If you do so, by the end of the movie you might get cancer."

If you look closely the previous movie directed by him does not have any song at all. If I remember correctly, there were allegations in the media that his movies perform only because of songs. In order to prove them wrong, he directed the movie Nadunisi Naaigal without even a single song. But the movie did not fare well in the box office. That might have got him angry and lead to the decision to mock the audience by directing a music album in the name of making a movie.

Now let's jump to an even more interesting aspect - where do the songs appear in the runtime of the movie?

Where does the song appear?

The songs are quite brilliantly placed in Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya. You can see the orange bars being placed almost equidistant from one another. It might be one of the reasons why the movie is such a huge hit. The last quarters in all the cop movies are relatively free from songs thus making space for the action sequences, while in other love stories a song in the last quarter is a must. Just look at Neethane en Poonvasantham and you won't be able to tell which ones are the scenes and which are the songs. All the songs in the movie Atcham Enbathu Madamayada are placed in that first that too little far from the mid point. If you were a little late to the theater you would have spent your whole time waiting for the songs with the thought that it was yet to come.

Lets now take a look at the mood of the songs. Yellow refers to feel good songs blue represents a sad/ melodramatic song.

The Mood of the Songs

The playlist is dominated by feel-good songs, with sad/painful songs appearing once in a while. The first three movies follow the same pattern of 4 feel good songs and a sad or a painful song.

Now lets segment this by the type of the song whether they are male single, female single, duet or other.

Song Types

There are 6 duets (indicated by the color pink) in the movies where the hero is an ordinary person and there are 8 duets in the movies where the hero is a cop or becomes a cop. Guns and roses go well with each other. The blue ones are male singles and green ones are female singles. This is a good indication of whether the hero is in love with the heroine or vice versa. Movies like Minnale and Vinnaithandi Varuvaya are dominated by blue bricks indicating that the hero is the one who is deeply in love. At least in Minnale there is a female single but in Vinnaithandi Varuvaya the heroine doesn't even care to sing a song for the lover boy.

In Neethane Enponvasantham there are first two duets, then there is a female single, and then three male singles and finally a female single. It might be a palindrome. The reverse order will still make sense.

Let's now put everything we have segmented so far in a single plot.

Putting it all together

The movie Minnale has a sad male single and Vinnaithandi Varuvaya has a happy duet before the climax but the endings of the movie are reversed. Minnale has a happy ending and VTV has a relatively sad one. Same is the case in Neethane En Ponvasantham which has a sad song before the happy ending climax. So does Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu. Next time when you watch a GVM flick if there is a sad song before the climax you will be able to predict that there are good chances of the movie having a happy ending. This is one insight I could pull out from the consolidated plot. Do read the plot for a while and you can come up with your own interesting insights. Looking forward to reading your insights and watching the next GVM flick.


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