Techie turned filmmaker Ranjith Sankar is now a household name in Kerala. He is one of the few filmmakers who have displayed a strong sense of social commitment.

With four movies to his credit, Ranjith is considered to be a trendsetter of Malayalam cinema. With no background of filmmaking, Ranjith surprised everyone when he got on board Mollywood with his well-made debut venture Passenger in 2009.

The two movies that he made later captured the hearts of movie aficionados in Kerala.

If his second film Arjunan Saakshi was a social action thriller, his third movie Molly Aunty Rocks that portrays the story of middle-aged women, something that was done never before in commercial films in Kerala.

Now his latest flick, Punyalan Agarbattis, another socially relevant movie is running houseful in theatres all over Kerala.

Speaking to Times of Oman, ahead of its release in Muscat, Ranjith said he will continue to craft movies that give a message to the society.

“I like to make movies with a commitment and passion. All of my movies are socially relevant and that is what I would like to do in future as well,” he said.

Punyalan Agarbattis unfolds the journey of a young ambitious entrepreneur, who sets out on an unusual business venture of making Agarbattis (incense sticks’) from elephant dung. However, he fails in his attempt owing to many issues, which include hartal and a rift with political parties.

“When I first started writing the script there were many things that came to my mind. My intention was to create a commercial flick so I thought about subjects that are happening around me.

So I choose hartal (to protest). We often discuss and talk about the negative impact it can have on people — we have so far not found a solution to it. It was how I decided to portray by conveying it to the audience in a humorous way,” he said.

According to Ranjith, the inspiration for the plot of this movie was born from the business started by his relative who manufactured incense sticks from elephant dung. “Yes he (his relative) really did that,” Ranjith said with a smile. “And he had to eventually cancel that business owing to many issues he faced during that process of starting a company to manufacture incense sticks,” Ranjith said.

Young actor Jaysurya who portrays the lead character in this film also co-produced it with Ranjith’s own production house Dreams N’ Beyond.

“When you produce your own films, it gives you a lot of freedom to do things on your own way. I enjoy that space. When I shared this idea with Jaysurya, he agreed to co-produce,” he said.

On being also the writer of all his films, Ranjith said that this helps him control the overall aspects of the film.

“It helps me to plan better. Writing has become a habit for me. I used to write during my younger days and I still continue to do so. I like to be called as a storyteller than being a filmmaker,” he said.


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