What role has your father played in your life and career? Well, he's pushed me to build my own foundation in the industry and do everything myself. So, in a way he has helped me find my own strength and he's given me some of the most crucial advice. He always asked me to believe in myself as a character and make sure that my personality comes out through the character so that it brings a certain life to it. And, these were some of the most important words of advice that helped me through the movie. My father has always been there for me, but at the same time, he has given me the space to make my own decisions.
How did Kadal happen? I was doing my final year graduation in Bangalore and my dad suddenly called me one day and said, 'Gautham, Mani sir wants to meet', so I said OK and went down to Chennai, met Mani sir, and Mani sir asked me if I could speak Tamil. I said, 'Yes sir, I can.' He said, 'OK fine, you can go,' and sent me back to Bangalore. I was confused. About a week or so after that, he called me again and said, 'I have a story and want you to listen to it,' and so, I went back, and he narrated the film's story to me. I really loved it and said, 'Mani sir, that's a great story', and he said, 'OK, you can leave,' and sent me back. Two weeks later, he called up again and says, 'Gautham, you really have to come down now, we have something going.' I agreed (with the thought of being an assistant director) and landed in Chennai. This time, I was asked to act in a couple of romantic scenes and I was even more confused, but I acted them out after which, I was again sent back home. When I got home, my dad showed me a message from Mani sir that said, 'I'm very happy with Gautham, he's the hero of the movie.' So, that's how I got the opportunity.
How did things change for you once you signed the offer? A lot of preparations for the film took place soon after my part in the film was decided. Most of my preparation was for the character I was playing — a fisherman's role. So, I used to go with a fisherman to Marina Beach early in the morning. I'd go fishing with them for quite a long time (4 am-10 am) during which they taught me all about the ocean, fishing and the ways to survive if one got stuck in the ocean. I also learnt sailing. And, since it was a film after all, I needed some fight and dance training. It was nothing specific for Kadal but, a general training to get my body into the flow. I (along withThulasi) used to go for emoting classes and that helped me break out of my comfort zone. I also had to watch some of Mani sir's films to understand his style of work.
Kadal did not do well at the box office but, you received a lot of appreciation. People have different opinions. It's up to them to like a movie or not. But, I'm happy and grateful that Mani sir gave me this huge an opportunity. Everything I portrayed in the film was because of him. I think he's done a job and can watch the film a hundred times, not just because I'm in it, but because I know the whole story — even the parts he had to delete due to time constraints. About the appreciation I've received, I've been invited to a lot of colleges for festivals and made a lot of appearances. I find that I have been supported and appreciated by the youth and that's quite a nice feeling. When you get people of your age who understand what you're going through, to support and help you... that's something else. It makes me feel like I really have to put out more just for them, just to see them smile.
Any upcoming projects? Everything I've got so far has only been Tamil. I can't let out any details as of now because I haven't signed anything yet. Only once I get back to Chennai and finalize on the films can I talk about them. But, I've listened to over 50 scripts in the last month and hope to do two or three films by the end of this year.
Is Gautham Karthik dating? Nope. No girlfriend, nothing. Where is the time? I was busy with shoots for two years and have been travelling like crazy. I don't have time to make calls. I don't even call my mum, so where will I have time for a girlfriend!