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Q&A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema: Director Gautham Menon


Editor’s Note: India celebrates Engineers’ Day today. Here’s a throwback to Silverscreen’s conversation with a few engineers who went off the beaten path to join the Tamil cinema industry. 

More and more Indians are leaving behind their Engineering degrees to pursue their passion. With engineering colleges mushrooming on every street corner in big and medium-sized cities – and most small towns of South India sporting a college each – the engineering degree is not as coveted as it used it be a couple of decades ago. With regressive campus cultures (no talking to the opposite sex!), lackluster academic practices (enough with the substandard guide books already!), and a single-track approach to life (“what’s your ‘package’?”), any student with an open mind and a need to understand the world, finds these courses stifling.

While silicon is fast losing its sheen to overkill, the world of cinema continues to be as glamorous and glittery as ever. It is drawing talented young people like a lamp does brightly-coloured moths.
Tamil cinema offers a world of possibilities to former engineering graduates as they explore their potential as directors, actors, actresses, music directors and even producers.



When did you first realize engineering wasn’t for you?

Probably around the same time I was asked to draw things I didn’t know how to draw

How many arrears? Come on, don’t be shy.

I’d rather not tell

Are your art directors better at drawing than your engineering drawing professor?

Uhhh, What?

BL Theraja and AM Jain, do you still have nightmares about them?

Who are these people again? (laughs)

If you could make a movie about your college, what would the premise be?

Good boy joins college, bad boy leaves with arrears. I think I already made that one.

How many times were you reprimanded for speaking to a member of the opposite sex?

Not much. I made sure I was never caught speaking.

Did you perform during college culturals? Best performance?

But ofcourse. I sang a lot. There was even talk of starting a Ilaiyaraaja tribute band and all that. But things changed as they usually do.

Best Memory about college

College was this wonderfully frustrating time period. I was this hormonal kid, in a new city with equally hormonal friends. There was aggression, there was freedom. There was just so much space for self expression. Even though I am now in an industry where that sort of thing is encouraged, it doesn’t quite feel the same.

Funniest story you remember about college

There are just too many to talk about. Besides, I am reserving them all for future films. So no sharing.

Did you get a placement job when you graduated?

I’ve always hated this question.

So did you?

Watch my next movie!


Read: Q&A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema: Actor Sivakarthikeyan

Read: Q&A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema: Actor Prasanna

Read: Q&A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema: Director Karthik Subbaraj


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