‘Gautham Vasudev Menon’ was born 25 February 1973, to a Malayali father and Tamil mother in Ottapalam, a town in Palakkad district of Kerala. He completed his Mechanical Engineering in Mookambikai College of Engineering in Trichy, Tamil Nadu in the batch of 1993. It was there that he was inspired by films such as ‘Dead Poets Society’ and ‘Nayagan’ and expressed his desire to his parents to change career path and become a filmmaker, and later he wrote his first film at his college hostel. He began his career as an add film maker by shooting various commercials, and started his own ad agency “Photon Factory” before he moved into film making, which is now recognized as a film production company.He then took an apprenticeship under filmmaker Rajiv Menon, and did as an assistant director for his film ‘Minsara Kanavu’ in 1997, in which he appeared in a cameo role. Gautham Menon launched a Tamil romantic film ‘O Lala’ in 2000, which after changing producers and title turned into ‘Minnale’ (2001) with Madhavan, Abbas and Reema Sen, in the lead roles. After its huge success in Tamil, he went on and made a remake of this film with the title ‘Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein’ starring Madhavan, with Dia Mirza and Saif Ali Khan, however it did not meet the expectations in the Hindi film industry.
Gautham returned to Tamil film industry with the crime thriller movie ‘Kaaka Kaaka’ in 2003, featuring Suriya, Jyothika and Jeevan in the lead roles. Gautham, himself, appeared in a cameo role as a senior police officer. With R. D. Rajashekar on the camera, Anthony in editing and again with Harris Jeyaraj handling the music, the film was a box-office record breaker. He subsequently remade the film in Telugu for producer Venkata Raju with the title ‘Gharshana’, with Venkatesh and Asin and Saleem Baig in prominent roles, which was acclaimed as a better version than the original. He later went on and did several other thriller movies like ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu’ (2006) – ‘Raghavan’ in Telugu, and ‘Pachaikili Muthucharam’ (2007) – ‘Drohi’. He stated his intent on making a trilogy of police episode films, with a possible third film featuring Vikram in the lead role.
Menon made a return to romantic genre in 2010 after nine years with the Tamil romantic film ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa’, starring Silambarasan and Trisha Krishnan. Which was simultaneously into Telugu as ‘Ye Maaya Chesave’, starring debutantes Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Ruth Prabhu in the lead roles. This film became a commercially successful venture, and reviewers praised Menon citing that “credit for their perfect portrayal, of course, goes to Gautam Menon. Menon had also made progress over the previous two years directing the psychological thriller ‘Nadunisi Naaygal’ featuring his assistant and debutant Veera Bahu and Sameera Reddy in the lead roles, dubbed and released in Telugu as ‘Erra Gulabilu’.
Gautham again turned towards Bollywood with the Hindi remake of ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa’, titled ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’, with Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson in the lead roles. The film opened to unanimously below average reviews, with critics noting the story “got lost in translation”, and became a box office failure. However after a year of pre-production work on the first film of an action-adventure series of films titled Yohan starring Vijay in the title role, the director shelved the film citing differences of opinion about the project. His next releases were the romantic films ‘Neethaane En Ponvasantham’ in Tamil and ‘Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu’ in Telugu, both co-produced by Photon Kathaas. Jiiva and Nani played the lead roles in each version respectively, while Samantha was common in both films. His third attempt in Bollywood with the Hindi version of this film titled ‘Assi Nabbe Poorey Sau’, was also shot simultaneously with Aditya Roy Kapoor portraying the lead roles, has halted due to the failure of Ek Deewana Tha. However in October 2013, the lead actor walked out of the film citing Menon’s lack of progress in developing the script and the film was subsequently dropped. Menon’s upcoming films include the romantic drama Sattendru Maaruthu Vaanilai with Silambarasan, and an untitled project with Ajith Kumar that will enter production in February 2014.