Ranjith (director)

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Not to be confused with Pa. Ranjith.
Ranjith 1.jpg
Renjith at the Sharjah Book Fair in 2012
Born Ranjith Balakrishnan Nair
(1964-09-05) 5 September 1964 (age 52)
Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, producer, actor
Years active 1987 – present
Spouse(s) Sreeja Ranjith
Children Agnivesh Ranjith, Aswaghosh Ranjith

Ranjith Balakrishnan (born 5 September 1964) is an Indian film director, screenwriter, producer and actor known for his work in Malayalam cinema. He is popular for the films Raavanaprabhu (2001), Thirakkatha (2008), Paleri Manikyam (2009), Pranchiyettan & the Saint (2010), Indian Rupee (2011) and Spirit (2012).

In his career spanning over Two decades, he has scripted several commercially successful films including Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal (1989), Nagarangalil Chennu Raparkam (1990), Georgootty C/O Georgootty (1991), Devaasuram (1993), Rajaputhran (1996), Aaraam Thampuran (1997), Summer in Bethlehem (1998), Valliettan (2000), Narasimham (2000) and Raavanaprabhu (2001).[1]

In the year 2001, Ranjith made his directorial debut with Ravanaprabhu, a sequel to Devaasuram. His directorial ventures Thirakkatha and Indian Rupee won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam in 2008 and 2011 respectively.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ranjith was born in Balussery in Kozhikode, Kerala. He graduated from School of Drama and Fine Arts, Thrissur in 1985.


Early career[edit]

During the late eighties, Ranjith tried his hand at skits and television serials for Doordarshan.[citation needed] In 1987 he made his debut as a writer in Oru Maymasa Pulariyil directed by V.R Gopinath.[3] In the year 1988, Ranjith made his formal entry into the film world by writing the story for Orkkapurathu, a fun-adventure film directed by Kamal with Mohanlal in the lead. The immediate success of Orkkapurathu brought Ranjith several chances to work in films. In the late eighties and early nineties, Ranjith wrote scripts for several small budget films mainly for Kamal, including Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal (1989), Pradeshika Varthakal (1989), and Pookkalam Varavayi (1991). Another director with whom Ranjith joined hands in those days was Viji Thampi. This team brought out Witness (1988), Nanma Niranjavan Sreenivasan (1990), Nagarangalil Chennu Raparkam (1989), and Kaalalpada (1990), all with Jayaram in the lead role. In the year 1992, he wrote Neelagiri for I. V. Sasi, which was not very successful at the box office. This was followed Johnnie Walker, directed by Jayaraj, was an average at Box office.

From 1993 to 2001[edit]

The year 1993 was a huge turning point in Ranjith's career. Devasuram, his film based on the life of Mullassery Rajagopal,[4] a fatherlike figure to him, turned into a huge hit at the box office. With Mohanlal in the lead and directed by I. V. Sasi, Devasuram was both critically and commercially a very big success. Mohanlal's performance was highly appreciated and it opened a new genre of feudal stories in Malayalam cinema. Within two months of the release of Devasuram, his next movie, Maya Mayuram (directed by Sibi Malayil and starring Mohanlal) was released, but it did not meet its anticipated success. According to Ranjith, Maya Mayuram is one of his best films and its failure affected him greatly. Ranjith mentioned in an interview that when several directors, whom he approached with the script, showed no interest in Maya Mayuram, it was Mohanlal who convinced Sibi Malayil to take it up. Yadavam, his next film in 1993 (directed by Jomon and starring Suresh Gopi) did him no good in career. In the year 1994, Ranjith joined hands with Shaji Kailas for Rudraksham, again starring Suresh Gopi, who was at the peak of his career. This film generated significant hype in the market as Shaji Kailas- Suresh Gopi was a hot selling team at the time. But the loose script and clichéd punchless dialogues led to Rudraksham becoming a flop. His next piece of work, Rajaputhran, directed by Shajun Karyal, again with Suresh Gopi in the lead, became a superhit.[5] In the year 1997, he teamed again with Shaji Kailas for Asuravamsham, starring Manoj K Jayan and Biju Menon. This film yielded an average commercial response. But he was just biding his time. Towards the end of 1997, Ranjith penned Aaraam Thampuran, one of the blockbuster hits of his career. Directed by Shaji Kailas, this film broke several collection records and went on to become a financially and critically acclaimed hit. This film was also a turning point in the career of Mohanlal. With this film, Ranjith gained a reputation as a commercially viable scriptwriter. Then came Kaikudanna Nilavu, in 1998, directed by Kamal, starring Jayaram, yet another average grosser. In 1998 Ranjith scripted Summer in Bethlehem, directed by Sibi Malayil, starring Suresh Gopi and Jayaram, a super hit.[6] In 1999, Ranjith and Shaji Kailas produced the film Ustaad, directed by Sibi Malayil, starring Mohanlal. This film, written by Ranjith was a super hit at the box office.The year 2000 began with the release of Narasimham, directed by Shaji Kailas. With Mohanlal playing the lead role, this film became one of the biggest hits ever in the history of Malayalam cinema till then.[7][8] Yet again in 2000, together with Shaji Kailas, Ranjith repeated history. His Onam release Valliettan starring Mammooty was a commercial success. (Last script for Shaji Kailas).[9] With this film, Ranjith became the most successful scriptwriter of the time.

In 2001, Ranjith made his directorial debut with Ravanaprabhu, the sequel to Devasuram.[10] With Mohanlal appearing in dual roles as father and son, this film turned out to be another blockbuster.[11] In the year 2002, Ranjith came back with another blockbuster, Nandanam, starring Navya Nair and a new face, Prithviraj Sukumaran.[12] Ranjith produced this film along with his friend and actor Siddique. Nandanam, revolving around an innocent girl, her love for Lord Sri Krishna and her beau, was an entirely different and unexpected theme from Ranjith at that time. Despite the film having a big star cast, fights or punch dialogues, and being shelved after some pre-production activities, it became a hit.[13] In the year 2003, Ranjith directed Mizhi Randilum starring Dileep and Kavya Madhavan, another family drama, which failed to impress the masses, but was critically acclaimed. In the same year Ranjith scripted Ammakilikood, directed by Padmakumar, with Prithviraj in the lead, which also got the cold shoulder from the public. In 2004, Ranjith teamed up with Mammooty for Black, which was a complete commercial entertainer targeting the fans of Mammootty, but became a success at box office.[14][15] Then came Chandrolsavam, starring Mohanlal in 2005. The film was panned by the critics for its lack of content and it failed to endear to even the fans of Mohanlal.[16] However, Ranjith believes that it was not a bad film. He says, "Mohanlal fans expected too much. I don't think it was a bad film. Many who watched it on DVD called to say they were surprised it did not do well. Fans come in with pre-conceived notions on how the actor will be in the movie and the kind of story it will be, hence they could not grasp the poetic element in the film."[17] In 2006, he scripted and directed Prajapathi, starring Mammootty, was also blasted by critics,[18] and was another disastrous movie.[19] His next venture was an offbeat film Kaiyoppu. Though a flop at the box office, Kaiyoppu brought critical appreciation from far corners and that compelled Ranjith to work with plots and themes without any commercial ingredients. Notably, its lead actor Mammootty, took no payments to act in the film as the script impressed him so much.[20]

In 2007, he regained commercial success by teaming up with director Joshiy for the first time for the big budget film Nasrani starring Mammootty, which became a superhit at the box office.[21][22][23][24] Ranjith's next venture, Rock & Roll, starring Mohanlal, was unable to attract critics and was a massive flop.[25][26] In the year 2008, Ranjith again stunned Kerala with his film Thirakkatha, based on actress Srividya's life,[27] which won the National Award for the Best Malayalam Feature Film. Starring Anoop Menon and Priyamani in the lead, the movie featured Prithviraj and Samvrutha Sunil in important supporting roles. The movie was able to bring out the best in the actors.[28] The movie did well at the box office as well and garnered many awards.[29] In 2009, Ranjith directed and wrote the script for Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinte Katha, which was widely acclaimed critically.[30] Mammootty's performance was widely appreciated in this film. Ranjith also introduced about thirty Malayalam stage artists through this film.[31] In the same year he came up with another unique creation, Kerala Cafe — a fusion of ten different short films by ten directors. Ranjith helmed this venture, which proved to be an experimental breakthrough in the Malayalam film industry. The different segments in the movie were conceived and connected based on the concept of Yatra or journey.[32]

2010 onwards[edit]

In the year 2010, Ranjith wrote the story for the film Penpattanam, directed by V. M. Vinu. He then scripted and directed, Pranchiyettan and the Saint, starring Mammootty, was also widely accepted by movie buffs and the common people of Kerala,an excellent movie. It became the most popular film of the year and was also a commercial success. He is also occupied in the respected position of School Director for Cochin Media School.[33] Ranjith also appeared as judge in "Mammootty the Best Actor Award – II", an acting talent hunt reality show aired in Asianet.[34] In 2011 Ranjith scripted and directed a critically acclaimed satirical film Indian Rupee starring Prithviraj which was well received by the critics and was a commercial success. His next film, Spirit, primarily focused on the increasing habits of alcoholism in Kerala. Starring Mohanlal in the lead role, the film was critically acclaimed and was a box office success. He then produced and scripted for G. S. Vijayan's Mammootty starrer Bavuttiyude Namathil in 2012 which was a hit at the box office. His next film with Mammootty, Kadal Kadannoru Mathukkutty, in 2013 became profitable, but underperformed at the box office. Njaan, based on the novel ‘K T N Kottoor: Ezhuthum Jeevithavum’ by T P Rajeevan and featuring Dulquer Salmaan in the lead role, released on 19 September 2014.[35] Though the film was well-appreciated by critics, the film was a failure. His next film, Loham came in 2015, starring Mohanlal. It was a Superhit at the boxoffice.


Year Film Credited as
Director Producer Screenwriter Story Actor
2017 Puthan Panam Yes Yes Yes Yes
2016 Leela Yes Yes
2015 Loham Yes Yes Yes
Ayal Njanalla Yes
2014 Njan Yes Yes Yes
Munnariyippu Yes
2013 Kadal Kadannoru Mathukkutty Yes Yes Yes
Annayum Rasoolum Yes
2012 Bavuttiyude Namathil Yes Yes Yes
Jawan of Vellimala Yes
Spirit Yes Yes Yes
2011 Indian Rupee Yes Yes Yes
Bhakthajanangalude Sradhakku Yes
2010 Pranchiyettan and The Saint Yes Yes Yes
Best Actor Yes
Penpattanam Yes
2009 Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha Yes Yes
Kerala Cafe Yes Yes
2008 Gulmohar Yes
Thirakkatha Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2007 Rock & Roll Yes Yes
Nasrani Yes Yes
Kaiyoppu Yes Yes
2006 Prajapathi Yes Yes
2005 Chandrolsavam Yes Yes
2004 Black Yes Yes
2003 Ammakilikkoodu Yes
Mizhi Randilum Yes Yes
2002 Nandanam Yes Yes Yes Yes
2001 Ravanaprabhu Yes Yes Yes
2000 Narasimham Yes
Valyettan Yes
1999 Ustaad Yes Yes
1998 Summer in Bethlehem Yes
1997 Aaraam Thampuran Yes
Asuravamsam Yes
Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu Yes
1996 Rajaputhran Yes
1994 Rudraksham Yes
1993 Yadavam Yes
Maya Mayuram Yes
Devasuram Yes
1992 Johnnie Walker Yes
1991 Neelagiri Yes
Pookkalam Varavayi Yes
Georgootty C/O Georgootty Yes
1990 Nagarangalil Chennu Raparkam Yes
Marupuram Yes
Nanma Niranjavan Srinivasan Yes
Pavakkoothu Yes
Shubhayathra Yes
1989 Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal Yes
Pradeshika Vaarthakal Yes
Kalal Pada Yes
1988 Orkkappurathu Yes
Witness Yes Yes
1987 Oru Maymasa Pulariyil Yes
Ezhuthappurangal Yes


National Film Awards:

Kerala State Film Awards:

Kerala Film Critics Awards

Asianet Film Awards

Filmfare Awards South

Other Awards:


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External links[edit]