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Daring to be different

G. JAYAKUMAR

Writer-director Ranjith enjoys experimenting with themes and stories.



YEN FOR EXPERIMENTATION: Ranjith.

Noted film director and scriptwriter Ranjith does not seem to have much faith in politicians. He feels that many of them are insincere and that only a `prajapathi,' a sort of benevolent patriarch, can guide the people and help them.

That was how his latest film, `Prajapathi,' was conceived. Mammooty is the `Prajapathi,' who dons the role of Devarmadom Narayanan. Aditi Rao, a new comer, is cast opposite Mammooty.

This is Ranjith's sixth film. `Ravanaprabhu,' `Nandanam,' `Mizhi Randilum,' `Black,' and `Chandrotsavam' were also directed by him. He has scripted over 35 films, including `Devasuram,' which turned him into a top-notch scriptwriter.

Says Ranjith, "Working with directors like I.V. Sasi, Sibi Malayil, Shaji Kailas and others was a pleasure as they gave me a free hand in writing."

Change in perceptive

Although Ranjith is known as the scenarist who creates a larger-than-life image for his heroes, the movies directed by him reveal a different facet of the director. `Nandannam' was the usual story of a rich boy and a poor maiden. But Ranjith's treatment of the theme turned it into a hit as he made it refreshingly different from the run-of-the-mill films.

Dwelling upon `Nandanam,' Ranjith says that when it was released at theatres, just a handful of people saw it. However, by word of mouth, the movie soon brought in a crowd. It was a hit; the movie had a story and lilting songs too. "I had approached several directors and producers with my story. Although they liked it, they wanted me to cast a superstar in the lead. They did not want to deal with newcomers. They have, however, changed their views now," says Ranjith.

According to the director, the unwillingness to experiment or go for fresh faces have to undergo a change.

"There were no superstars in `Nandanam.' When you do films with stars, you experience a lot of tension because of their stature in society. So you have to tune your projects likewise."

As to why his earlier film `Chandrotsavam' did not fare well at the box office, Ranjith says, "Mohanlal fans expected too much. I don't think it was a bad film. Many who watched it on DVD called to say they were surprised it did not do well. Fans come in with pre-conceived notions on how the actor will be in the movie and the kind of story it will be, hence they could not grasp the poetic element in the film."

Ranjith's entry into films was accidental. After his graduation from School of Drama, he and a group of juniors, produced a film, `Oru Maymassa Pulariyal.'

"I had scripted the story. When every one goes to Chennai or tries to work as an assistant to become a filmmaker, I chose a different route," he says.

Next venture

Ranjith's next venture is a low-budget film produced by his company called `Capitol Theatres.' Scripted and directed by him, it will star Mammotty along with a cast of four or five other characters. He plans to start the shoot in July or September and compete it within 15 days.

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