'Not sure if I would like to make a sequel to Punyalan Agarbatthis'
Ranjith Sankar, a software professional, made waves with his film Passenger in 2009.
He directed Arjunan Saakshi which released in 2011. Then he surprised everyone by making Molly Aunty Rocks with Revathy in the title role and became a producer by floating his own banner Dreams N ’Beyond.
His latest film, Punyalan Agarbatthis, with Jayasurya as the hero, has turned out to be the biggest success of his career.
Here he talks about how the idea of the story of a young entrepreneur making incense sticks using elephant dung came to him and how Jayasurya eventually became his partner in producing the film.
Punyalan Agarbatthis has become the biggest hit of your career. How did the whole idea come about?
I had this story in my head even before I became a director but it was pushed away as other ideas and stories kept coming up.
I have an uncle who had thought of making agarbattis (incense sticks) using aanapindum (elephant dung) in the ’90s. He had even set up a factory for it.
He faced problems like strikes, hartals, repayment of bank loans as shown in the film. In the end, he shut down that plant.
So, 90 per cent of this story is inspired from real incidents.
Image: Jayasurya in Punyalan Agarbatthis
'You do not need to do any special effort to search for stories'
How did Jayasurya come into the picture? He even turned into your partner in producing this film.
Jayasurya fitted my image of Joy Thakkolkaran, as he is a comedian, and age-wise too.
But the instant trigger for making the decision was a TV interview where he said that he is sitting idle for a few months as nothing interesting has come his way.
It showed how serious he was about his work. No other star would have the guts to make such a statement in public.
When I narrated the story to him he liked what the character was all about. He asked me if I had a producer.
I said I have a production company and I will produce it. When the subject of his remuneration came up after the initial talks, he just said let us do it in partnership.
Your stories are always about the common people and their social responsibilities...
That is because I am one of them and my lifestyle is not very different.
It does not need any special effort to search for stories. The story of Passenger was inspired by a co-worker.
Image: A scene from Punyalan Agarbatth. Inset: Director Ranjith Sankar
'I do not use dialogues that have to be censored'
What is your take on the so-called ‘new gen’ films? You seem to be unaffected by this trend.
For me, watching films is still a family affair, where the whole family can watch a film in the theatre without feeling embarrassed.
So, I do not use dialogues that have to be censored. But I do not have issues with people who think otherwise.
The is talk that you may make a sequel to Punyalan Agarbatthis.
It is true that I was toying with the idea of carrying the story of Joy Thakkolkaran further.
But, I doubt it, as there would be sky-high expectations after the success of this film.
It is rare for a sequel to surpass the original. So, let us wait and watch.
Image: A scene from Punyalan Agarbatthis