Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gautham Menon|
|Produced by||P. Madan
|Written by||Gautham Menon|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||Anthony Gonsalves|
|Distributed by||Red Giant Movies
Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (lit. Will you cross the skies for me?) is a 2010 Tamil-language romantic drama film directed and written by Gautham Menon, featuring Silambarasan and Trisha in the lead roles. The film, distributed by Udhayanidhi Stalin, features a critically acclaimed soundtrack composed by A. R. Rahman, cinematography by Manoj Paramahamsa and editing by Anthony Gonsalves. The story was simultaneously shot in Telugu as Ye Maaya Chesave, starring Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, however, with a different cast and climax.
Launched after a wave of publicity posters with no details about the cast and crew, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa began its initial run in February 2009. Shooting continued through 2009, with the film garnering significant media interest, through schedules in Malta and the United States. Before release, it became the first Tamil project to have a music soundtrack premiere outside of India, with a successful launch at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) in London.
Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa explores the complicated relationship between a Hindu Tamil boy, Karthik Sivakumar, and a Syrian Christian/ Syrian Catholic Malayali girl, Jessie Thekekuttu from Alappuzha, Kerala Karthik falls in love with Jessie only to be met by her indifference and reluctance as they belong to different religions and her strict conservative family will never consent. The film released on 26 February 2010, along with the Telugu version to advance bookings worldwide. Upon release, it achieved highly positive reviews, with several critics giving "modern classic" status, whilst also becoming a commercially successful venture. It was later remade in Hindi as Ekk Deewana Tha starring Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson in 2012. After the 7 years, Gautham Menon officially announced, that a filming of a sequel would begin soon with new four actors including Silambarasan
Karthik (Silambarasan) is a graduate Mechanical Engineering in Chennai who aspires to become a filmmaker. His friend introduces him to cinematographer Ganesh (Ganesh Janardhanan). With Ganesh's help Karthik becomes an assistant to director K. S. Ravikumar. Karthik's family, who are Tamil Hindu Veerakodi Vellalars (Vellalar), rent Jessie's (Trisha Krishnan) house. Jessie is from a conservative Malayali Nasrani Christian/Syrian Catholic family from Alappuzha, Kerala, that lives upstairs. Karthik falls in love with Jessie the moment he meets her. Karthik tries to interact with Jessie, who is afraid of speaking to men around her strict father, and ends up angering her. Unable to hide his feelings any longer, Karthik confesses his love for her; she does not respond. A few days later, Karthik learns from his sister that Jessie has gone to Kerala to visit her grandmother. He and Ganesh end up in Kerala to look for her. After several days, he finds her and apologises. She introduces him to her family in Kerala as her "classmate". Jessie denies she has any feelings for him but agrees to be his friend. On the train journey back home, however, the two get close and share a kiss. Karthik is convinced Jessie loves him; the two meet several times and Jessie begins to admit that she also likes Karthik, but wants to refrain from any problems because she knows her father wouldn't give her hand in marriage to a Hindu. Consequently, due to various misunderstandings between Jessie's brother and Karthik, her parents learn of their supposed affair. They fix a match and schedule her wedding. The day arrives and midway through the ceremony, Jessie refuses to marry the groom, displeasing everyone in her family. Karthik, who had, without anyone's knowledge, come to Kerala to witness the wedding is ecstatic and secretly visits Jessie at her home. It is then that Jessie admits she has indeed fallen in love with him. Karthik and Jessie continue to love each other without the knowledge of their parents.
At this point of time, Karthik goes to Goa on a 45-day shoot, where he gets rather busy. Meanwhile, the topic of Jessie's marriage comes up again at her home when the guy whom she refused to marry earlier pays them a visit. Panicking, Jessie calls Karthik and tells him that she wants to elope with him. Karthik, since he is travelling through less than ideal places, tells Jessie to stay in Chennai for now, and that soon he would be back and they can discuss. Jessie stops taking Karthik's calls and so he goes back one night to check on Jessie. He comes to know that Jessie has decided to break up, as the relationship is not peaceful due to her parents' disapproval. She says she has agreed to get married to a boy of their choice. When Karthik pleads her not to do it, she tells him that a time had come when she was willing to elope, but the moment was gone. She doesn't want Karthik to wait for her too long, as he has his dreams to fulfill. Karthik later comes to know that she is married and settled abroad.
Two years later, Karthik meets Nandini (Samantha Ruth Prabhu). She falls in love with him, but is rejected by Karthik by saying that he hasn't yet gotten over Jessie. He then comes up with a script for his first film, which happens to be his very own love story. He calls upon Naga Chaitanya Akkineni as the film's protagonist, Nandini as the female lead and Ganesh as the film's cinematographer, and the film is eventually titled Jessie. While shooting for the film in New York, he sees Jessie and she comes to speak with him. She admits that she is not married and is still in love with him, and he too says she is still in his heart. Karthik proposes yet again and they get married the same day. This is actually revealed to be the end scene in Karthik's movie – which Karthik and Jessie in real life are watching together in the theatre. After it gets over, it is revealed to the audience that Jessie had in fact seen Karthik in New York but had not come forward to meet him. She is married now and hence asks Karthik to fall in love again and move on. She tells Karthik that they cannot lead a life which is full of obstacles and they part, once and for all to lead different lives and different destinies.
- Silambarasan as Karthik Sivakumar, a Tamil Veerakodi Hindu Vellalar. He aspires to become a film director, and subsequently becomes assistant director to K. S. Ravikumar. Parallelly, he falls for his neighbour Jessie, a Syrian Christian. She accepts him, but her parents do not because of their personal differences. Despite all attempts to connect with Jessie, he ends up getting rejected by her.
- Trisha Krishnan as Jessie Thekekuttu, a Syrian Christian Syrian Catholic Malayali girl from Alappuzha, Kerala. She comes from a strict family, to whom watching films, attending clubs, etc. are considered as sins. She falls for her assistant director neighbour Karthik and asks her parents to unite her with him, but they disapprove of him because of his profession and because he is a different religion from them. Forced to obey her parents, Jessie finally rejects Karthik, but still keeps him in her heart and eventually gets married to the guy her parents choose.
- Samantha Akkineni as Nandini Vasudhev Menon, an assistant director turned actress. As Karthik, a fellow assistant director to K. S. Ravikumar. Who fells in love with Karthik, after he split with Jessie. He did not return her love, as he wasn't ready to move on. Karthik later offered her a role in his directorial venture Jessie, as the titular character.
- VTV Ganesh as Ganesh, a cinematographer. He assists Karthik in his repeated attempts to connect with Jessie.
- Babu Antony as Joseph Thekekuttu
- Kitty as Sivakumar
- Arjuna as Jerry Thekekuttu
- Uma Padmanabhan as Mrs. Sivakumar
- Lakshmi Ramakrishnan as Teresa Thekekuttu
- Trisha Alex as Karthik's sister
- K. S. Ravikumar as a Director to whom Karthik worked for as an assistant director.
- Naga Chaitanya as an actor, he plays the male lead in Karthik's debut film Jessie.
- Pradeep Kottayam as George, Jessie's Uncle in Kerala.
- Janani Iyer as an assistant director to K. S. Ravikumar.
- Lena Abhilash as Rita Mother
- Sudheesh as Praveen
After making a series of action films, Gautham Menon actively chose to make an "out and out love story" at the insistence of his close associates, and marked a return to genre for the first time since Minnale (2001). Initially titled Vennilavae Vennillavae, he started writing the film as a simple love story which slowly became an intense love story, as the scripting phase progressed. Stating that the film would narrate the romantic tale of two people called Karthik and Jessie over a period of almost three years, he revealed that the film would be "conversation driven" and hoped "everybody will identify with the lead pair". Menon took the script to producer Manjula Ghattamaneni, who asked him to narrate the film to her brother Mahesh Babu and the movie was a Tamil and Telugu bilingual. Menon initially felt that the film would not suit the actor, but later agreed preliminary terms to make it in Telugu titled Jessie with the actor and have A. R. Rahman as the music composer, as he was impressed with the story.
Continuing from the earlier proposed theme of Vennilavae Vennillavae, Menon later chose to use the second line of the song to title his film as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, after it was suggested by the cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa. Menon discussed a Tamil and Telugu version of the script with several actors including Dhanush and Allu Arjun who had wanted changes to be made to the climax, and described being "one week away" from starting the project with a debutant actor. In late January 2009, Menon confirmed that he was in discussions with Silambarasan and Trisha to portray the lead roles from the script. After finding out that Silambarasan had dates available as a result of the delay in the shoot of Vignesh Shivan's Podaa Podi (2012), Menon chose to halt the production of his ongoing Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam and finalise pre-production work on Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. Menon added that Silambarasan was "apt for this kind of a film" and was "ready to experiment and try something different" from his usual film roles, prompting him to agree to star in the film. As Menon was working with Trisha on Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam, he chose to use her dates for Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa instead. To pique interest before the official announcement, the makers released a series of film posters featuring Silambarasan and Trisha inspired from previous classic Tamil films. The team used posters inspired from Geethanjali (1989), Minsara Kanavu (1997), Dil Se (1998), Alaipayuthey (2000) and Kaakha Kaakha (2003). Other members of the technical crew included Menon's regular collaborators editor Anthony, art director Rajeevan, costume designer Nalini Sriram and lyricist Thamarai. The project was jointly produced by Escape Artists Motion Pictures and RS Infotainment, with Elred Kumar, Ganesh, Madhan and Jayaraman as producers.
For the role of a mentor to Karthik's character, Menon first approached Vivek, but he turned down the opportunity. Later, one of the film's producers, Ganesh, was cast in the role, in what later became his breakthrough film as an actor. Chennai-based model Janani Iyer was recruited to portray the role of an assistant director who falls in love with Karthik, but the role was later reshot with Samantha, who worked as the lead actress of the film's Telugu version. Janani Iyer was subsequently seen in the background of several scenes where Karthik is shown to be a part of a film production team. Ashwin Kakumanu also auditioned for the role of Jessy's brother in the film and was selected, but eventually did not feature after having a clash of dates.
In May, the team moved to Malta to film the song sequences for "Hosanna" and "Omana Penne", choreographed by Flexy Stu. For the particular song sequences in the film, Menon wanted "churches, water and caves" and convinced the producers to finance a trip to Malta, and in the process, the team became the first South Indian film to shoot in the country. Scenes were shot in places including Valletta, Mdina, Gozo and Comino, as well as in lanes, alleys, eight churches and during the time of a village feast. The makers brought along a crew of twenty six people to Malta, with ten local workers also helping on the production. The shoot lasted ten days and cost approximately €90,000.
In October 2009, the team flew to the United States to complete the final filming schedule. Scenes were shot throughout locations in Manhattan and New Jersey, with particular shots filmed at Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and Times Square. 
The film opened to highly positive reviews from critics. Oneindia.in said "The slow phase of the second half and frequent use of bad words (Chennai Tamil) are major minuses in Gautham's narration. But these are all not preventing one to enjoy the content of true and painful love of the film!"
Sify said that it was "Very good" further citing "The film is a must watch for those who cares for cinema of sense and substance. It stresses the fact that Tamil cinema has to break the mould if it aims to grab eyeballs. Gautham Menon has crafted a movie that will stay in our hearts for a long, long time." Indiaglitz stated "If and only if, you have all the time in the world, and you like the slow romantic genre, you'll enjoy this one."
Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff.com called the film a "Must watch" further citing "The best part about VTV is that it revolves around people, rather than events. It's like putting a camera into the intimate, everyday life of two people and following them on their adventures. The characters go through a whirlwind of emotions, laugh and cry, and take you along with them." However, the reviewer points out certain drawbacks in the film citing "On the minus side, VTV suffers from the same defect as Vaaranam Aayiram: the second half lags in pace. The dialogues and confrontations are repetitive. There's a would-be love-track that seems unnecessary before the story takes off again."
Malathi Rangarajan from The Hindu said "Twenty two-year old Karthik's true-to-life overtures, reactions and recklessness are just as you would expect from a director of Menon's calibre. It is his authentic depiction of Jessie's confusion that's all the more amazing – Menon's complete understanding of a woman's psyche bowls you over! So do the young lovers!" Aravindan D. I. of nowrunning.com gave the film three stars out of five and said "Gautam Vasudev Menon's "Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya" is a clean romantic story without any deviation or sub-plots."
Chennai Online said, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (VTV) is an excellent effort on the part of Gautam Vasudev Menon in narrating a clean romantic story without any deviation from the plot" and further cited "As is Menon’s forte, the dialogues and the execution of scenes are top-notch. The joys of falling of love and the pangs of separation have been portrayed well. The way Simbu nurtures his love for Jesse and the positive but ambiguous reactions from Trisha to his overtures are very nice indeed."
Raman Nalluswamy Thevar, an Indian Author wrote an e-Book titled "One Awesome Girl" which narrates the dialogue "One-way ticket to Heart-break city" delivered by Simbu. Raman stated that his debut contains his auto-biography and semi-biography which received positive reviews.
Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa took a grand opening, grossing around ₹9.7 million (US$150,000) in its first three days in Chennai. The film grossed ₹157.5 million (US$2.4 million) at the Chennai box office in the 12th weekend. It totally grossed ₹500 million (US$7.7 million) and was officially declared a blockbuster.
The world premiere was held at BAFTA in London on 19 December 2009 and later it was relaunched in Chennai on 12 January 2010. The album which consists of seven tracks received widespread critical acclaim. The audio received overwhelming pre-release response and was marked as No. 1 in Asia, in advance bookings. The album was ranked among the best musicals of 2011. The album received extremely positive response among critics and audience and became chartbusters.
- Vikatan Awards
- Best Music Director – A. R. Rahman
- Best Male Singer – Benny Dayal
- Best Female Singer – Shreya Ghoshal
- Best Lyricist – Thamarai
- Best Costume Designer – Nalini Sriram
- BIG Tamil Entertainment Awards
- Most Entertaining Actor – Silambarasan Rajendar
- Most Entertaining Male Singer – Vijay Prakash
- Best Music Director 2010 – A. R. Rahman
- Best Male Singer 2010 – Vijay Prakash
- Best Female Singer 2010 – Shreya Ghoshal
- Popular Album of the Year 2010 – Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa
- Best Music Director – A. R. Rahman
- Best Male Playback Singer – Vijay Prakash
- Best Female Playback Singer – Shreya Ghoshal
- Favorite Heroine – Trisha Krishnan
- Best Music Director – A. R. Rahman
- Best Lyricist – Thamarai (for "Mannipaaya")
- Best Cinematographer – Manoj Paramahamsa
In February 2018, Gautham Menon announced a sequel to the film, titled Ondraga. The film features an ensemble cast with R. Madhavan, Puneeth Rajkumar, Tovino Thomas among others. With R. Madhavan playing the role of Karthik in place of Silambarasan. Anushka Shetty and Tamannaah are doing the roles of the female leads. Take are going on with Telugu actors Allu Arjun, Nani, Sai Dharam Tej, Varun Tej and Vijay Deverakonda to play the Telugu friend of Karthik. The film is set eight years after the events of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa and will feature Karthik, along with a group of friends, travelling to the United States to attend a wedding.
Gautham Menon announced in October 2013 that he would produce and direct a film featuring Silambarasan in the lead role. In December 2013, A. R. Rahman was officially confirmed to compose the songs, while Dan Macarthur was confirmed as the film's cinematographer.
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