Recently i came across a blog called 'The dragonflies still flutter' written by director Anjali Menon(Kerala Cafe- Happy Journey). The blog was about the Padmarajan and his movie 'Deshadanakilikal Karayaarilla', but i loved one thing she clearly stated, that she was influenced by inspiring regional filmmakers than European filmmakers. She was clearly referring to Padmarajan when she said this to French audience, but the foreign audience were more familiar with Satyajit Ray, Adoor Gopalakrishnan etc. I strongly agree to this point as my interest for film direction was always inspired by Malayalam movies and directors like Padmarajan, Bharathan etc. Sadly we those these legends very soon and their successors were not apt take their place in the industry. The only directors who made their presence felt were Jayaraj, Kamal, Sathyan Anthikad, Ranjith, Blessy (his first two films) etc. Among these, Ranjith clearly deserves a special place. Recently only i went through his career in detail and realized it was too late to write about the versatile artist of our industry.
He is more familiar to us as a writer than a director/producer/actor. And the writer in him is the most impressive part, mostly of the strength and versatility of the stories he presents us. I am not going to give a detailed report or analysis about his films as it will be too boring and injustice to that writer, just want to discuss my favorites with you all. His career graph was never steady as even some of his beautiful scripts turned out to be flops. He started his career as the story writer of 'Oru Maymasa Pulariyil' which had Ashokan and Shari in the lead and the movie turned out to be an average hit. In the next 3 years he wrote script for 8 films and even tried writing dialogues in 'Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal' (directed by Kamal) which turned out to be a super hit. But all other films turned out to be flops/average, but believe me all of them were good films. I was very much impressed by 'Orkkapurathu' (Kamal movie), which had Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu and Ramya Krishnan in the lead roles. The film beautifully depicted the relation between a father and son who does many adventures to get back some of their lost possessions. Interestingly, Jayaram was the lead actor in most of his films and presented him some versatile characters. His collaboration with Kamal produced some touching films for us such as 'Pookkalam Varavayi', 'Krishnagudiyil oru Pranayakalathu', 'Shubayatra', 'Nanma Niranjavan Sreenivasan' etc. Krishnagudi still remains as one of the most touching films in everyone's heart and a movie with such a wonderful climax.
The year 1993 turned out to be the turning point of his life when the movie 'Devasuram' was released. It still remains as one of the best films in Malayalam. The protagonist 'Mangalassery Neelakandan' still remains as an inspiring character for everyone. No wonder why this movie has still got a high viewer rating, and the movie was inspired from a real life character called Mullassery Rajagopal who was so close to him. One of the most disappointing incident of his life will be the failure of 'Mayamayooram' directed by Sibi Malayil. The film was really an exceptional one, but failed to impress the audience even with a beautiful script, wonderful acting acting from Mohanlal and Revathy and Sibi's direction. I often feel that our audience fails terribly at times to understand good films. Later on he went on to script some action films which all performed poorly in the box office. His career was on a low until Krishnagudi got released. But from 1997-2000, his was at the peak of his career as all the films turned out to be super hits. Among that my favorites are Krishnagudi, Aaram Thampuran and Summer in Bethlahem. Aaram Thampuran gave one of the best characters to Mohanlal, and the character name 'Jagannathan' was used to name many babies afterwards. Summer in Bethlahem was a beautiful film which took us through funny moments, emotional attachments (especially the ending scenes) and still left us thinking which of the five girls loved Jayaram (still that's a secret). The movies Usthad, Narasimham and Valleyattan were pure commercial entertainers which turned out to be blockbusters. But i loved the way Ranjith brought in the family bond elements in all the movies, especially the brother-sister attachment in Usthad.
The year 2001 saw his first directorial venture 'Ravanaprabhu', which was the sequel to Devasuram. As expected it was a super hit, still i love the film for it's punch dialogues. But his second film was the one which impressed everyone, of course all know the movie called 'Nandanam'. A movie which presented us a beautiful love story..depicted the closeness of a girl towards Lord Krishna..the movie was indeed divine. It marked the debut of actor Prithviraj, presented Navya the role of her career and this film will be always remembered for it's touching story and climax. This was followed by 'Mizhi Randilum' which i really liked, but didn't click much in the box office. It was a nice movie and the entire cast performed well, especially loved Indrajith's role. 'Black' was a movie with a difference and style. The failure of 'Chandrolsavam' really hurted me a lot. Frankly saying, i loved that movie very much. The way he dealt with the story, the love, the friendship..and the dialogues in the movie were the best! By that movie i became one of his greatest fans. I regret for watching the movie 'Kaiyoppu' very late, as i found that movie was a exceptional one which really discussed the problems of people in different sectors. Sadly that was movie went unnoticed among us, it's really shame on the audience who are said to be the best in India. The same was the case with 'Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinte Kadha', which was the best movie i saw in some years. A movie which took back to the golden days of Malayalam Cinema, which remembered us of geniuses like Padmarajan, Bharathan etc. The screenplay by Ranjith was the key to that movie! I am not getting into the recent controversies surrounding this movie, but if anyone have done anything to strip this movie of any honors which it should have got, then they deserve no apology..they are the true villains of the industry. 'Thirakkatha' was a serious movie which was inspired from the late actress Srividya's life. That movie was a relief for him after the failures of some previous movies. Here too i was impressed by his script and had a climax which left the audience thinking about the movie for a long long time.
'Kerala Cafe' was a brave experimentation from this man, who collaborated with ten other directors to produce a nice movie for us. The film really conveyed that even a 15 minute short film can express a story in the best way. His recent film 'Pranchiyettan and the Saint' is unarguably one of the best films of the year. I already saw it two times, doesn't mind seeing it again. It's one of the best roles of Mammooty in recent time, but here too the real hero is his script. Only he can think about a concept where a man gets to share his experiences with a saint and finally gets solutions to many issues in his life. In these years he also did movies like Prajapathi, Rock n Roll, Ammakilikoodu,Nasrani&Penpattanam (as writer), but lacked the typical Ranjith 'touch'. All his movies were scripted by him and music had importance in all his films. He even acted in movies like Gulmohar, Thirakkatha and Ezuthapurangal, which were impressive too. He is always noted for his tremendous voice, which many directors uses for their movie introduction. I think Ranjith is the only person who can do films which the people are dying to see. Wat ever is it, his scripts will be remembered throughout. My personal favorites are Orkkapurathu, Devasuram, Mayamayooram, Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu, Nandanam, Kaiyoppu, Chandrolsavam, Thirakkatha, Paleri Manikyam etc. Hope he make more and more wonders with his scripts and films!
(PS: This is my personal write up about Ranjith. I haven't mentioned about many movies he wrote or didn't mention much about some of his films. This writing is based on my favorites and many will have different opinions. Many will be finding the other movies interesting, Feel free to post your comments and views, and fans don't feel offended by my blog:))