Pa. Ranjith

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Pa. Ranjith
Tamil Director Pa. Ranjith.jpg

(1982-12-08) 8 December 1982 (age 36)
OccupationFilm director
Years active2012–present

Pa. Ranjith is an Indian director and filmmaker [1] who makes Tamil language films. He made his directorial debut with the 2012 romantic comedy Attakathi, before earning unanimously positive reviews for his second film, the political drama Madras (2014). In 2016, he written and directed the gangster-drama Kabali and in 2018, Kaala both starring Rajinikanth.


Ranjith was born in Karalapakkam, a village near Avadi, north-west of Chennai. He graduated from Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai, and has described that his travels to and from his college often helped create inspiration for film ideas.[2] During his time in education, he joined the film chamber and began watching world cinema, regularly attending annual film festivals. He gained inspiration from films including The Battle of Algiers (1966) and City of God (2002), stating they changed his thinking of cinema and revealed that they had a deep impact on him.[2] Ranjith has been known to use symbolism in his movies to exhibit ongoing social problems which otherwise have trouble reaching the masses due to restrictions by Central Board of Film Certification in using actual references of caste based exploitation in movies.

Early Stages[edit]

Ranjith joined the film industry as an assistant director and first worked on Shiva Shanmugam's Thagapansamy (2006), which he has since revealed as an "unmemorable stint", before moving on to apprentice under film makers N. Linguswamy and Venkat Prabhu. He initially helped prepare a storyboard for a Malaysian album that Venkat Prabhu had been working on in 2006, before gaining trust and being allowed to work closely with him during the making of Chennai 600028 (2007).[2]


Ranjith was introduced to a newcomer producerC. V. Kumar in 2011 by a mutual friend, Mani, who convinced Kumar to give Ranjith an opportunity to make a film. Consequently, Attakathi was completed in fifty days in a budget of just 1.75 crores.[2] Following promising pre-release reviews, the venture became bigger when production house Studio Green chose to buy the distribution rights. The film opened to positive review in August 2012, with noting the film "looks at youth and romance in a most refreshing way" and added that Ranjith should take "the credit, completely, of taking an ordinary storyline and infusing it with warmth and hilarity."[3] Sify's critic, similarly, wrote "we recommend that you make time for this charming little treat of a film, as it has an inherent sweetness and honesty that will stay with you".[4]


Studio Green signed up Pa. Ranjith to direct a film for their production house and in December 2012, he confirmed that he would shortly begin work on a project titled Sarpatta Paramparai with Karthi in the lead role, though production was subsequently delayed and did not take off as planned.[5] In July 2013, it was announced that the pair would collaborate on a new script and that Sarpatta Parambarai and their ongoing venture, Madras, were two different scripts. Although the producers liked both scripts, Ranjith decided to shoot Madras first as Karthi had accidentally read the script of Madras and liked its concept and characters.[6] During pre-production of the film, Ranjith returned home to North Chennai to research and took stock of the residents' body language, sports, fashion, behaviour and dialogues. He revealed that through his script, he hoped to depict the angst and depression of the youth of the region and wrote several characters in the film including the two leads to represent individuals with "bottled up anger".[2] Ranjith also informed that some changes were made to the script to accommodate Karthi in the lead role.[7] Also featuring Catherine Tresa and Kalaiyarasan in prominent roles, Madras told the story of a dispute over a political message written on wall in North Chennai and how the region's political rivalry affects the inhabitants. Madras received highly positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of the actors, as well as the technical aspects of the film.[8] Udhav Naig, writing for The Hindu said, "Rarely does one get to see a Tamil film that reflects the social reality so closely and sketching a detailed account of life that the middle and the upper middle class know little about. Full marks to Pa. Ranjith for that".[9] Writing for The New Indian Express, Malini Mannath said, "With an engaging screenplay, deft narration, well fleshed out characters and actors well cast, Madras captures the feel, flavour and ambiance of North Madras with perfect precision".[10] Sify said, "Madras works big time as writer and director Ranjith has given priority to his script, which hooks the audiences straightaway. It is a triumph of honest writing and heartfelt dialogues. It is a gutsy and outstanding film".[11]


He began pre-production work for a venture starring Suriya in October 2014, after the actor approached him being impressed with Madras.[2] The project has been put on hold, after he began working on Kabali (2016) featuring Rajinikanth in the title role. It is a gangster film.Ranjith explores actor Rajinikanth. This movie delivers class style acting of Rajinikanth. In box office,Ranjith's first movie with Rajinikanth was a blockbuster. Kabali is the top grosser of Tamil movies.


Kaala a sociopolitical movie, was released worldwide on 7 June. The audio launch was held on 9 May 2018 at Chennai YMCA ground, and the album is an interesting mix of genres with politically loaded lyrics. Kaala is the first Indian film ever to be released in Saudi Arabia, following the country lifting its ban on public theatres in December 2017.[12][13][14]The movie received positive reviews. The Times of India rated the film 3.5 out of 5 and stated that Ranjith owes to his excellent technical crew for "helping him visualise and deliver this 51% Rajini-49% Ranjith movie".[15]Ranjith's second movie with Ranjnikanth was also a decent hit but not a blockbuster.

Birsa Munda[edit]

Pa Ranjith’s next project is a Hindi-language biopic on freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

The film, which marks the Tamil filmmaker’s first non-Tamil project, will be produced by Namah Pictures, which had co-produced Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds in 2018. The cast of Ranjith’s film hasn’t been announced.[16]

Neelam Productions[edit]

Pa. Ranjith marked his foray into production under his banner ‘Neelamana Productions’ with release of two documentaries titled Dr. Shoe Maker and Beware of Castes: Mirchpur[17]. Under the banner Neelam Productions, he also produced Mari Selvaraj's Pariyerum Perumal that stars Kathir and Anandhi, with music by Santhosh Narayanan. Pariyerum went on to become a huge success with high critical acclaim. Neelam Production's next project has been titled as Irandaam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu. The film stars Attakathi Dinesh and is directed by Athiyan Athirai.[18]

The Casteless Collective[edit]

Ranjith’s organisation, Neelam Cultural Centre, collaborated with the label Madras Records, to form a 19-piece band called The Casteless Collective that includes four rappers, seven instrumentalists and eight gaana musicians, a popular folk music style in Tamil Nadu. The name of the band was inspired by a phrase – "jaathi ilaathu Tamilargal" – used by Tamil anti-caste activist and writer C Iyothee Thass[19]


Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
2012 Attakathi Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
2014 Madras Green tickY Green tickY Red XN SIIMA Award for Best Director – Tamil
Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
2016 Kabali Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Edison Award for Best Director
Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
2016 Ladies and Gentlewomen Red XN Red XN Green tickY Documentary[20]
2018 Kaala Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Ananda Vikatan Cinema Award for Best Dialogue
2018 Pariyerum Perumal Red XN Red XN Green tickY
2019 Birsa Munda Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
2019 Irandam Ulaga Porin Kadaisi Gundu[21] Red XN Red XN Green tickY


  1. ^ "I don't want to be known as a Dalit filmmaker: Kabali director". The Indian Express. 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Madras Story: The Pa Ranjith interview -". 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  3. ^ "Review: Attakathi is worth a watch - Movies". 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  4. ^ "Movie Review:Attakathi". Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  5. ^ "'Attakathi' Ranjith confirms Karthi project". Behindwoods. 27 December 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  6. ^ ""SANTHOSH NARAYANAN IS AN IMPORTANT FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN TAMIL FILM MUSIC", DIRECTOR PA.RANJITH". Behindwoods. 13 September 2014. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  7. ^ Kumar, S. R. Ashok (2014-06-28). "Audio Beat: Madras — A north Madras flavour". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  8. ^ "'Madras' Movie Review Roundup: Must Watch". International Business Times. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  9. ^ Naig, Udhav (26 September 2014). "Madras: A tale of crime and punishment in the slums". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  10. ^ Mannath, Malini (28 September 2014). "Perfect Feel of Life in North Madras". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Madras". Sify. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Rajinikanth's 'Kaala' becomes first Indian film to release in Saudi Arabia – Times of India ►". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  13. ^ "'Kaala' Becomes First Indian Film to Be Released in Saudi Arabia". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 9 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  14. ^ "சவுதி அரேபியாவில் வெளியாகியுள்ள முதல் இந்தியப் படம் - காலா!". Dinamani. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Kabali (aka) Kaala review". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
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  20. ^ "from Chennai, an anthem for lesbian love". 2 April 2017.
  21. ^