Germinating story ideas
Ranjit, who is at home with most departments of cinema, says he loves direction best
Photo: Thulasi Kakkat
LIFE INSPIRED Ranjit travels to get an insight into reality, for his movies
What strikes you about Ranjit's
oeuvre is its diversity. Whether
with regard to subject matter,
style or genre, he refuses to be
typecast. There is simply no Ranjit
kind of movies, you have got to admit,
like you have with other directors. It's
hard to believe that both "Nandanam"
and "Rock and Roll" came from the
same person, isn't it? Ask Ranjit what
he is interested in besides cinema and
he cannot think of anything else but
travel, that too as cinema's handmaiden
- when he is over and done with a
movie and wants to relax, and is ready
to seek inputs.
Not the touristy place for him,
where the majority flock to. "Sathyamangalam
forests, that's my favourite
place. Sometimes I go with friends,
sometimes alone. I think I've been
there eight times, usually after work
on a movie is finished. Sitting and
reading there is a great experience. We
take provisions and cook for ourselves,
for you won't even find an eating place
there," he says.
Travelling gives Ranjit a lot more
than relaxation. It is grist for his story
ideas pool. Meeting characters, looking
at life from a different perspective,
gives him the raw material to weave a
story. "Every story that I have written
is backed by a real-life incident. Everything
is redesigned, no doubt, but the
germ of a story always has real life
backing," he points out. And you think
of "Devasuram", "Kaiyoppu", "Thirakkatha"
and "Aaram Thampuran".
For a man who wanted to do nothing
else but cinema, his dreams have
surely borne fruit. After Ranjit's
School of Drama courses, he plunged
headlong into his dream world, not
taking up any other job.
In 1987, "Oru Maymasa Puliriyil",
directed by V.R. Gopinath, and story
written by Ranjit, was released. After
that he got a couple of `Jayaram' movies,
as he puts it, like "Peruvannapurathe
Visheshangal". He hit big time
with the script of "Devasuram", directed
by I.V. Sasi. Ranjit had arrived.
With "Nandanam", Ranjit proved he
was bound to be in cinema and nowhere
else. Production could not be
kept at bay, immersed as he was with
most departments of cinema: storyteller,
scenarist, actor and lyricist.
"Kaiyyoppu" was a fairly short film
that delved into terrorism and its aftermath.
He wanted to tell the world
that terrorism was everywhere, that it
need not be outside your purview, besides
presenting a moving love story,
well told. In between he donned greasepaint
for Jayaraj's "Gulmohar",
standing in for an actor who could not
come at the last moment.
Experimenting with "Kerala Caf"
perhaps put him among the `happening'
movie makers. The portmanteau
film was an average movie where business
was concerned, but whoever saw
it loved it, he said. The "small (budget)
is beautiful" credo alone cannot solve
the crisis in Malayalam cinema, Ranjit
says. True, the territory is small and
big budget movies are a great risk. The
current saviours like overseas rights
and satellite rights may not last long,
he fears. The next generation growing
up in the US and in the Gulf regions
may not want to see Malayalam movies
at all, in the years to come, because
they will be unfamiliar with the
"So the answer is subtitling movies.
Subtitled and shorter movies will definitely
get a better response from the
IT crowds outside the State and overseas
Malayalees who do not know the
language well enough to enjoy them,"
Ranjit offers. Though most departments
in cinema appeal to Ranjit, he
confesses he loves direction best. Theatre,
from where he started out, interests
him. He is toying with the idea
of a theatre production soon.
Ranjit definitely does not subscribe
to the idea of remaking films. "There
are enough subjects to make fresh movies;
why go in for remakes?" He admits,
though, that he liked "Dev D"
better than the original.
The Tamil movie that Ranjit was
supposed to make, (the remake of
"Nandanam"), is off. He confines himself
to Malayalam, for he feels he has to
be very comfortable with a language to
make a film in it.
Working with new faces also is a
thrilling experience for Ranjit.
"Moulding actors is a good feeling,"
says the director who holds workshops
for new faces before he shoots. With
his latest movie, "Paleri Manikkam.",
based on a novel by T.P. Rajeevan, running
in cinemas, he is yet to begin his
next venture. Maybe a spell in the
Sathyamangalam forests again to rejuvenate
the creativity bug?
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