Home > Interviews


Interview Team : Sudharshan

A. Gokul Krishna, the director of Yash Raj Films’ Aaha Kalyanam finds time to talk about his maiden project and the journey it took him to land upon the opportunity. His dream to direct films began when he was in school. He has come a long way from being a clap boy to a fully fledged and a promising director. His Guru Vishnuvardhan and Thala Ajith are few of the hot topics he touches upon. 


The beginning…

I wanted to leave school when I was in my eighth and venture into the industry. My parents asked me to complete a degree. They said, "You need a degree to put it in your marriage invitation, at least. So for God’s sake, complete your graduation.” I started to freelance for corporate companies in my free time during my college days. That’s when I got to meet Vishnuvardhan. I was working on an ad film back then, when we met.

After I completed my college, he called me one day and asked me if I would be willing to assist him in Arindhum Ariyamalum. At the same moment I also had in my hands the admission card for an MBA course, I had applied. Of course I chose the former. After that I worked with him in four movies.

I wanted to leave school when I was in my eighth and venture into the industry.


My days with Vishnuvardhan…

Superb!!! He taught me everything I know. The major qualities I inherited from him are the passion towards cinema and the dedication towards the art. Most of all he trusted me and that meant a lot.

While working in Arindhum Ariyamalum, I was awestruck throughout. I was in charge of clap board and edit report.

Pattiyal involved a lot of hard work. From cleaning the cow's shed where Arya and Bharath lived (in the movie) to handling the properties, the movie demanded heavy physical and aesthetic work.

With Thala Ajith around, Billa turned out to be an extraordinary experience. I had become an associate director by that time. And with bigger roles came much bigger responsibilities.

Sarvam made me a matured technician. In terms of content and technology, the film was very advanced, which required us to be aware and updated. 

With Thala Ajith around, Billa turned out to be an extraordinary experience.


If Vishnuvardhan asks me to assist him now…

If I have no commitment, I'd be more than happy to work with him. But I don't think he'd let me work as an assistant. He'd ask me to stand on my own legs. In fact, he has this amazing script with him and I have requested him to let me work with him in that script, if he's ever going to take that up. 


Does he always write scripts keeping either Ajith or Arya in mind?

No he doesn't do that. It's just that he shares a great comfort level with those two and it so happens that they both always fit all his characters. 

Ajith and Arya always fit Vishnu's characters.


Aaha Kalyanam...

After my association With Vishnuvardhan, I was planning to start my own movie. I had a script of my own and I was in search of a producer.

That's when I happened to meet the creative producer of Yash Raj Films, Mr. Padam Kumar. He informed me about their plan of venturing into Tamil, with the remake of Band Baajaa Baarat.

I was all excited about it and recorded my interest in taking up the project. I pitched in my ideas for the remake and soon I ended up as the director. 


Baand Baajaa Baarat...

I had watched that movie long back out of compulsion. One Sunday afternoon, I was at Ega theatre and I had no other choice than to watch that movie. I thought I would just go in and sleep through the movie. But once the movie started, I found myself enjoying the flick. After that, I returned home, without the slightest idea that I would me making the same movie in Tamil. Life has strange things for us in store.


The idea behind taking up the project…

I come from a huge family and every marriage has been a memorable gathering. That gave me the confidence that I will be able to wield the megaphone for this movie. To add more of our South Indian flavor, I researched a lot about the weddings in South and came up with a number of varieties.


Nothing really worked…

There was absolutely no interference from the Yash Raj people while making the film. I gave them my requirements and they got me what I wanted. Even though it was my first film, they gave me the complete freedom to act upon my decisions. More than anything, they invested their trust on me.

For the lead characters, Shakti and Shruti, we wanted fresh faces. We in fact tested more than 300 new artistes. Nothing really worked out. Then we came across Nani. He had the charm, talent and the freshness we required. Personally, I thought he has the same kind of charm, Navarasa Nayakan Karthik had when he was at the prime of his career.

As far as Vaani Kapoor, Yash Raj's casting director, Sanu suggested her. We saw her screen test for a different movie and flew to Mumbai to audition her for Aaha Kalyanam. I was apprehensive initially considering her North Indian background. But the moment she auditioned, I fixed my mind on her.


Why didn't you go for a professional dubbing artiste for Nani?

We actually tried some voices. Eight to be exact. But I liked the cuteness in his accent. Of course it has a Telugu influence to it. But I was afraid the originality would lack if someone else dub for him and more over I wanted that unique accent of his.

We gave him a shot and it really worked out well. At the end of the day, a dubbing artiste cannot perform like an actor.

Anyway, who talks proper clean Tamil nowadays? So what if Nani's Tamil has a bit of Telugu influence?


Vaani Kapoor and her dialogues...

Vaani made it very easy for me. She came a month before the shoot and went through rigorous dialogue reading sessions. Not just her lines, but she also learnt others' dialogues and prepared herself for the shoot. The best thing about her is that she'd never make use of the prompt. She prefers to do it all by herself.


The big prank…

She had a dialogue in the movie where she swears the hero, saying "Daridram... Moodevi". She asked us for the meaning and we said that's how way we greet people in Tamil. She took that pretty seriously and called a few unit members, Daridram... It was a chaos.


Having Simran on sets…

What an experience that was! We were shooting in Hyatt and the sets suddenly went silent. I was wondering what was happening and noticed the entire crew looking in the same direction. I turned back and saw her gliding in like a real star. What a moment that was. The whole unit was admiring her.

She is a cool person. For such a big star, she doesn't fuss at all. A thorough professional that she is, she finishes her part in the first couple of attempts.

But I don't stop there. I'd want another shot. I have a practice of taking a couple of extra shots, just in case anything goes wrong. I’d stand there blankly not knowing how to ask her. She'd read my face and ask me, "You want another one? Cool... Go for it". That's the kind of person she is. It was a true pleasure to work with her. 

For such a big star, Simran doesn't fuss at all.



Chinmayi was my school junior. So we had a good time dubbing for the movie.

She gives a lot of options for us to pick from. She is a treat for any director. It takes no time for her to get into a character and once she’s in she makes the character look so lively. A splendid talent!

Chinmayi is a splendid talent…


The excessive North Indian influence in the movie…

I don’t think it’s the North Indian flavor. Pink is their favorite color. We use a lot of Red, Blue and Yellow. Kum Kum is red, most of our Saris have blue and the flowers we use are yellow. North Indians don’t use marigold, while we use them extensively.

Agreed that we have used some heavy beats in the music... Kadha Kadha is about a Sowcarpet Sait’s marriage. Those Dols and other heavy instruments are part of their tradition. As far as Bon Bon, we have used Thavil, which is our instrument.

As a matter of fact, even we use Dols and drums for our Janavasam. So, it’s not something we haven’t been using. 


You had your own script. Yet you proceeded with a remake. Why?

My aim was to do a film and my only condition was that it must be a good one overall. I had a romantic comedy in my mind and I got a chance to do a remake on the same genre. When I started Aaha Kalyanam, I was very particular that this wouldn't be one of the remakes. I wanted it to be unique, in its own way.

I do understand that it is easy to make a mark with an original script. But the idea behind taking up the project is that, my script will always be with me. But Aaha Kalyanam will not wait for me. I wanted both. Hence, I had to pick Aaha Kalyanam as my maiden vehicle.

I also believe that it is more challenging to do a remake. When I take up my own script, I make all the rules. But in a remake, there’s competition. That makes it fun.

In a remake, there’s competition…


The satisfaction…

Personally, I was completely satisfied with the movie. It doesn’t matter if it was adapted. As a director, I still had a connect with the film and at the end of the day Aaha Kalyanam is my movie.

It is never “just a remake” for me. Remember the ‘Kaakka - Vadai’ story. Everyone knows it and they all try to make it more interesting when they say than the way they heard it. That to me is the best example of a remake.

The ‘Kaakka - Vadai’ story is the best example of a remake.


YRF - Right brand at the right time?

Rather than looking at it as an opportunity, I saw it as a blessing. Also, script is always the prime thing in cinema. No brand or individual is bigger than the script. The involvement of the big brand gave me a sense of responsibility. The real challenge for me was to match the YRF standards in my first film.

So I’m extremely thankful to Yash Raj Film for giving me the opportunity. 

No brand or individual is bigger than the script


Watching the first copy…

Well, I was nervous, of course. But that’s the time you become your own critic and you look for mistakes. At the same time, it’s like what they say about one’s own creation - “Kaakkaiku than kunju pon kunju”. I was proud. Just to think, few days back these were all just on paper, amazes me. I might have seen the movie hundred times before that. But it is always a special feeling for all the directors to watch the first copy with the technical crew.


The theatre visit…

Surreal is the word. To witness the people watching my film on the big screen was magical and when to see them enjoy the film is the biggest blessing I could’ve got.

As far as what was running through my mind during those moments, I’d have to say nothing much. In fact, my mind was as blank as a clean slate. Yes, the butterflies and the excitements were there. But, I knew nothing was in my hands anymore and the fate of the film lied with the people.

I knew nothing was in my hands anymore and the fate of the film lied with the people. 


Vishnuvardhan’s response…

Apart from the regular, ‘well done… Keep it up’ thing, he said, “Now that you have done with your first movie, start your next.”


What next…

I’m looking to start soon. I haven’t decided on my script yet. Right now, I’m absorbing all the accolades and good wishes that people are giving me. I want to feel it, enjoy it completely.  

I’m absorbing all the accolades and good wishes that people are giving me


The first story that came to your mind when you decided to become a director…

Now, going back to think about it, that was again a remake. While I was in my eighth, we had a non-detail book in our school. It was about a guy, who had ears that kept growing. I wanted to make that into a film. In fact I wrote a proper 20 page script for that. 

I wrote a proper 20 page script when I was in my eighth.


Your style…

I want to try every genre. I like watching light hearted movies and animations. I’m also a fan of biopics. So I want to experiment everything. 


Favourite directors…

Apart from Vishnuvardhan, I love, K Balachander, Mani Ratnam, Bharathiraja and K Vishwanath. I’m also stunned by the new talents that are ruling the industries now. I enjoyed Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, Pizza and Soodhu Kavvum.


The competition…

It’s definitely healthy and feels great to be associated in this era where there are drastic changes in the film making styles and tastes.


The films that made you insecure…

Pizza and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom. I was stumped by those movies and was actually wondering if I was ready for the race.

Pizza and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom made me insecure.


Dream team…

It depends on the script. But hypothetically speaking my dream team would be AR Rahman, PC Sreeram, Crazy Mohan, Sreekar Prasad, Thotta Tharani and Brindha Master. The film would have both Kamal and Rajini playing the leads. Oh… Wouldn’t that be awesome!

The film would have both Rajini and Kamal playing the leads.


One job one specialist…      

I prefer to stick on to only direction. That’s why even in Aaha Kalyanam I had delegated each duty to experts of the field. It makes me comfortable to have a bigger team, where I can discuss a lot. Different ideas come up during brain storming and I believe that way I can make a better picture.

Back then people made use of creative geniuses like Crazy Mohan and Sujatha, just to write the script and dialogues. Today there’s a lack of writers. I want to collaborate with specialist writers who can contribute to the film in a big way.

I truly believe in micro teams. Even if the producer asks me to work on the dialogues, screenplay and story, I’d try to convince him to go with the specialists, than getting all the work done from me. At the end of the day, I’d want to make a perfect project.

Today there’s a lack of writers


My star my film…

With Kamal sir, I want to do a very subtle family drama about a middle class man… A full length comedy each with Rajini, Ajith and Vijay… The Rajini film will be like Raja Chinna Roja, another Coimbatore Mappillai kind of movie with Vijay and Goundamani in the lead and Ajith sir hasn’t tried a full length comedy yet, but he has an impeccable timing. I would in fact cast Thala in the lead, if I get to remake Rush (Hollywood film). 

I would cast Thala Ajith in the lead, if I get to remake Rush.


I will not…

I will not use cinema to degrade a person or affect the dignity of anyone. Directors like K Balachander and Shankar are my role models when it comes to respecting others' feelings. I don’t care if I fail to say anything good in my movies. But I’m particular about not giving anything that would create a bad influence or affect the society. 



K Balachander and Shankar are my role models when it comes to respecting others' feelings



This page hosts exclusive interviews with actors, actresses, film technicians and related celebrities. The interviews are generally personal views of the guest about their projects and film related matters. People looking for information about actors, actresses, directors, music directors, cameramen and other technicians will find this page useful.