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From Passenger to Arjunan Saakshi

Last updated on: January 27, 2011 10:12 IST

From Passenger to Arjunan Saakshi

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Meghna George in Kochi

Writer-director Ranjith Sankar surprised everyone with his maiden Malayalam venture, Passenger. The film starring Dileep, Sreenivasan and Mamta Mohandas was appreciated by the critics and was a hit at the box office as well.

Now, he is ready with Arjunan Saakshi, which has stars Prithviraj and Ann Augustine in the lead.

The engineer-turned-filmmaker talks to rediff.com about his latest film that is releasingon the January 28 and the new trends in Malayalam films. Excerpts:

You were a rank newcomer in films while making Passenger. How different was it for you while making your second film Arjunan Saakshi?

Going through an entire process of one movie definitely helps in the next one. You are more aware of practical difficulties. But basically each movie is a new one since it is having a new story, new characters, actors, technicians and so on. So the challenges and experiences ought to be new.

I have tried to follow the script and use actors and technology which the script demands. Shooting Arjunan Saakshi was definitely more challenging as the film tries to capture stuff on a much larger scale. It was again a great team work which helped wrap up such a demanding script in 43 days, in a single schedule.

Passenger was a rather unconventional film for Malayalam. What do you think worked for the film?

That it was a good commercial film. I think that good commercial films have always worked in Malayalam.


Image: Ranjith Shankar with Prithviraj

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'I really did not notice any similarities between Passenger and Traffic'

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Why do you think people tend to compare the new flavour of the season, Traffic with Passenger?

Maybe it is like another unconventional film. I watched Traffic and loved it. But I really did not notice any similarities with Passenger.

Prithviraj has been playing an action hero in almost all the recent releases. How different is his character in Arjunan Saakshi?

He is playing Roy Mathew, a professional, an engineer. There is action but that is mostly created by the mood and sequences than physical action. I think Roy Mathew will go down among Prithviraj's best performances.

What is Arjunan Saakshi about and what was the inspiration for the story?

Arjunan Saakshi focuses on development, civilian rights and governance. It's inspired from a newspaper report that I read during my engineering days.

Image: A scene from Arjunan Saakshi

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'Arjunan Saakshi is a social action thriller'

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Do you believe that there has been an emergence of a new class of viewers who support different experiments in Malayalam?

There has always been that segment of viewers. It is just that there were no movies catering to them commercially.

Is it frustrating for a filmmaker these days, when the majority of the viewers still prefer the old formulaic movies?

Looking at it practically, it has been the same story over the decades. It was the same in the so called golden age as well. Formulaic commercial movies still made more money than many of the classics we refer today. One has to live with it [smiles].

Passenger belonged to a different genre. How different is Arjunan Saakshi?

Arjunan Saakshi is a social action thriller. That is, if there is such a genre [smiles].


Image: A scene from Arjunan Saakshi

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